Connected health uses technology to deliver patient care across geographic boundaries. The convergence of the Internet, high bandwidth telecommunications, video technology, smart phones, sophisticated robotics, digital sensors and scanners provide the enabling technologies that give patients in remote, medically underserved areas, or those who are homebound, immediate quality care.
From physical and speech therapy to mental health counseling, or in an emergency that occurs where there are no trauma facilities available, connected health provides the interface that hooks up the patient with appropriate health care specialists. It is particularly useful in assisting millions of patients with chronic conditions to manage their care remotely.
The impact of connected health has resulted in the following benefits to patients and to our health care system:
- Reductions in the cost of providing quality care to chronically ill patients, estimated to be over $1 trillion annually.
- Ongoing preventive health and reductions in medical errors.
- Improved global and local public health surveillance and drug safety
- Consumer engagement in health and self management.
Some examples of where connected health has been critical:
The Center for Connected Health and Partners Home Care did a pilot where over 500 heart failure patients were monitored remotely. Home health nurses collected vital signs, including heart rate, blood pressure and weight, using simple devices in the patient’s home. The information was sent daily to a nurse, who could identify early warning signs, notify the patient’s primary care physician, and intervene to avert a potential health crisis. The program resulted in reduced hospital visits and improved quality of health care for the patients.
The Center did another study which used cellular telephone technology and a “smart” pill bottle to detect when a patient at home had not taken their scheduled medication. A signal was sent that would light up an ambient orb device in the patient’s home to remind them to take that medication. This also reduced the chances of a medical crises or emergency room visit.
On October 24 and 25 in Boston, Partners Connected health will hold its 10th Annual Symposium. This year’s theme is “Collaborations and Innovations to Engage Patients and Elevate Care.” They have an exciting roster of speakers. It is a conference not to be missed.