News Feature | January 3, 2014

Automated Care For Chronically Ill

Source: Health IT Outcomes
Katie Wike

By Katie Wike, contributing writer

HTO Population Health Management

Automated care outside of the doctor’s office is being explored in order to provide real time data and patient guidance

The Gary and Mary West Health Institute (WHI), Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC), and West Corporation have recently announced plans to explore new technologies that automate patient care outside of hospitals and doctors' offices. Research will begin in the first half of 2014, and will identify ways technology can provide real-time feedback and guidance to patients, as well as alert care coordination teams before health issues escalate.

"So many patients with chronic illnesses like diabetes and hypertension unnecessarily cycle through emergency rooms and hospital beds, which are the most expensive places to receive care," said Nicholas J. Valeriani, chief executive officer of WHI in a press release. "Through this collaboration, we are seeking to create an automated system of care coordination so providers can intervene before medical problems escalate. This will benefit both patients and the health care system by avoiding medical interventions, costly admissions and readmissions."

According to Information Week Healthcare, participating organizations will translate protocols based on nationally accepted treatment guidelines into automated clinical and operational workflows. This will be followed by a study on the effects on the cost of care, caregiver capacity, and outcomes.

“Every segment in health care – payers, health systems, physicians or pharmaceutical companies – recognizes that the health care process must be streamlined and expedited in a way that is patient-friendly, similar to the way consumers easily buy books online from Amazon," said Tom Barker, chief executive officer of West Corporation. "Our objective is to facilitate communications around patients, care coordinators and health care providers by leveraging valuable content, personalization, speed, privacy and scalability. We at West Corporation are very excited about the collaboration with Vanderbilt and the West Health Institute."

"Health care lags behind other service industries that use customer-friendly smart technologies," said Jeffrey R. Balser, vice chancellor for Health Affairs at VUMC.  "By leveraging the strengths of our three organizations, we hope to evaluate new ways to connect patients and clinicians to the right resources that meet the medical need in real-time.”

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