Newswise — ORLANDO, Fla. (June 27, 2013) --- Instead of admitting patients to medical units at the hospital, clinicians at Orlando Regional Medical Center are providing health care to patients in the comfort of their homes. The new twist on modern medicine is being piloted in a project to provide hospital-level care in a patient’s home through home visits, videoconferencing (virtual visit) and telemonitoring (remote vital signs monitoring). The goal is to deliver the same high quality care found in the hospital while in the home setting, but at lower costs and with increased convenience and greater benefits to patients.
Patients in the Emergency Department will be evaluated by a doctor and a case manager to determine if they are candidates for the pilot program. If a patient meets criteria and consents to participate the patient is given a “doctor’s bag” to take home for their hospital stay at home. The small case contains a camera and computer monitor, as well as equipment to monitor vital signs remotely. The technology allows doctors and nurses to monitor a patient’s condition at home just as they would if the patient were in the hospital.
For example, nurses from Orlando Health’s Visiting Nurse Association check will check in with a patient every four to six hours using a telemedicine connection, and make a daily visit.
“Doctors will also check on the patient via teleconference just as they would during daily rounding at the hospital, and they will also be available 24/7 for an emergent situation,” said David Sylvester, vice president, Post Acute Care and Transition Services, Orlando Health.
The study will last four months.
“During the pilot phase of the project, we hope to monitor 40 to 50 patients at home, beginning with a few medical conditions – pneumonia, cellulitis or skin infection, deep vein thrombosis or blood clots,” said Timothy Bullard, MD, chief medical officer, Orlando Regional Medical Center.
The innovative approach to medicine may prove beneficial to patients and the health care industry.
“We hope that caring for patients in their homes instead of in the hospital will allow us to provide a higher level of care while reducing health care costs,” said Dr. Bullard. “Caring for patients in their home environment practically eliminates the chance of a hospital-acquired infection since they won’t be in close proximity to other patients who may be very ill. We also believe it will enhance patient satisfaction by caring for them in an environment that is familiar to them.”
Once patients are discharged from their home setting, medical care will be transitioned to their primary care doctors, as it would when discharged following a traditional hospitalization. Patients will also be evaluated for home health services options. ### About Orlando Health Orlando Health is a $1.9 billion not-for-profit health care organization and a community-based network of physician practices, hospitals and care centers throughout Central Florida. Physician Associates, one of the largest multi-specialty practices in central Florida, consisting of more than 90 physicians in more than 20 locations, became a member of the Orlando Health family in January, 2013.
The organization, which includes the area’s only Level One Trauma Centers for adults and pediatrics, is a statutory teaching hospital system that offers both specialty and community hospitals. They are: Orlando Regional Medical Center; Dr. P. Phillips Hospital; South Seminole Hospital; Health Central Hospital, South Lake Hospital (50 percent affiliation); St. Cloud Regional Medical Center (20 percent affiliation), MD Anderson Cancer Center Orlando – the first affiliate of one of the nation’s premier cancer centers, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston; and the Arnold Palmer Medical Center, which consists of Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children and Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies. Orlando Health’s areas of clinical excellence are heart and vascular, cancer care, neurosciences, surgery, pediatric orthopedics and sports medicine, neonatology, and women’s health.
Orlando Health is one of Central Florida’s largest employers with nearly 16,000 employees and more than 2,500 affiliated physicians supporting our philosophy of providing high quality care and service that revolves around patients’ needs. We prove this everyday with over 110,000 inpatient admissions and nearly 690,000 outpatient visits each year. In all, Orlando Health serves 1.6 million Central Florida residents and nearly 3,000 international patients annually. Additionally, Orlando Health provides approximately $239 million in support of community health needs. More information can be found at www.orlandohealth.com.