It’s a vision shared by healthcare organisations around the world and now, with widespread connectivity and the proliferation of mobile devices, virtual ‘Hospital in the Home’ services are within the grasp of more providers – and more patients – than ever before.
Imagine being able to give your patients high quality healthcare in the comfort of their own home, through the use of simplified mobile technology.
Traditional Hospital in the Home (HITH) initiatives allow eligible patients to benefit from being able to rest or recover among lovedones, receive treatment in familiar surroundings and resume a daily routine whilst being monitored as necessary by the clinician. There are benefits for patient wellbeing as well as a potential reduction in the burden on hospital services, which benefits the entire healthcare system.
At Telstra Health, our virtual healthcare software MyCareManager assists organisations in the delivery of virtual Hospital in the Home (HITH) services, empowering patients and enabling clinicians to provide the best possible care.
MyCareManager gives clinicians the tools they need to maintain oversight over multiple patients via a comprehensive dashboard view. They can easily see the status of each patient at a glance, highlighting those who have missed their medication or return abnormal health readings. Clinicians can set reminders for patients, prompting them when it’s time to take medication or complete other tasks, with notifications appearing on the patient’s smart device.
For patients, all that’s needed is a downloadable app on their existing phone or tablet. This provides notifications, reminders and quick access to help should it be needed. In short, it provides the sort of confidence and reassurance of having quality care in easy reach.
Relieving the strain
According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, there were 11 million hospitalisations in Australia between 2016-2017, with a small proportion being delivered in the traditional Hospital in the Home service. Each state and territory in Australia provides the HITH model which is delivered by a combination of either the health services or non-government organisations.
Hospitalisation requires adjustments to personal routines, such as changing meal times and observing curfews. Given the choice, getting the care they need at home means eligible patients can keep their usual routine with as little disruption as possible.
Supported by doctors, clinicians and hospitals, care in the comfort of home has benefits for morale, flexibility and anxiety reduction, while patients are also more likely to be engaging with regular daily activities and enjoying easier contact with family and friends.
Empowering patients to co-manage their own care at home may also reduce the burden of unnecessary emergency department visits on hospitals as well as decreasing the overall length of stays of visits when they are necessary.
Empowering patients through technology
Virtual health services such as MyCareManager encourage self-empowerment as patients begin to co-manage their own recovery and treatment alongside the clinician.
Being more engaged in their health, there may be some fundamental benefits, such as learning how to manage their own medication intake. Technology can also help teach patients how and when to integrate taking medication into their daily activities.
At Telstra Health we believe in the power of technology to connect patients, providers and digital health systems. Importantly, whilst MyCareManager can help empower patients to be more actively involved in their own health and wellbeing, they are less likely to be more isolated as they have regular scheduled reminders, notifications and appropriate monitoring from their clinician. Clinicians can also phone or use the built-in video conferencing feature to contact their patient if they identify any clinical issues.