Patient follow-up is heating up these days thanks to the values-based approach to care. This topic is being discussed from different points of view and in various dimensions, so we are adding some fuel to the flame with our own experience in assisted living software.
The expansion of inpatient monitoring is met with much skepticism in its path. For some caregivers, the idea of picking up patients ’vitals and analyzing them doesn’t seem like a matter of paramount importance. And as they should also consider outpatient follow-up options, lots of questions and objections pop up. They might say “oh, we have nurses, they’re skilled enough to deal with monitoring patients’ health without the help of technology.”
Therefore, we believe that to better understand the possibilities of internal and outpatient surveillance and take out some questions, we only need to look at it from a long-term perspective.
Where to look for obvious benefits of patient follow-up
Systematic monitoring of patient health is much more representative in nursing homes, nursing homes, and other assisted living centers. Why that? Well, the information accumulates for years, which allows you to make the most of the monitoring, analysis and application of the knowledge extracted with the possibility of seeing the real results.
And, most importantly, most assisted living and nursing home residents already have at least one chronic illness. Thus, controlling their state of health means not only maintaining the well-being of the elderly, but also contributing to the management of chronic diseases, preventing complications and exacerbations.
How a health surveillance module works
One of our projects included the creation of a health surveillance module to expand a solution for assisted living. It turned out that he also became one chronic disease management software, and in a few moments you will see why.
The module allows caregivers to record the lives of the following patients:
- Blood pressure
- Blood glucose
- Pulse oximetry
- Meal intake
- Intestinal evacuation
- Liquid inlet and outlet
Now, this list includes health data that would be beneficial to both chronic patients and senior residents of nursing home organizations.
During each patient’s contact with staff (medication delivery, massage, physiotherapy procedure, shower attendance, and more), a new record is created that includes certain vitals. Each record is automatically processed, aggregated, and analyzed to extract valuable information.
For example, caregivers are warned if a patient has a significant weight change in short periods of time, as this could indicate a serious deterioration in health. Low food or liquid intake is also a reason to alert staff, as a person does not receive all the necessary micro and macronutrients. Nutrition is no less important for both patients with diabetes and the elderly in nursing homes.
What results do caregivers and patients get
Speaking of results, hospital follow-up allows for the prevention and early diagnosis of chronic and acute conditions, as well as the systematic management of chronic care.
For example, by analyzing the flow of big data, caregivers can activate the pre-diabetes stage and make sure a patient does not cross that line. Meanwhile, if a person already has diabetes, providers will have more information to make better decisions on treatment plan updates. This will ensure a stable state of health without the risk of developing serious complications.
Next step: Expand the focus on assisted living to outpatients
Patient remote monitoring is a more complex approach to health monitoring because it is … well, remote. Our suggestion is to opt for mobile technology, as it is the most convenient way for patients to measure, record and share their data. For their part, caregivers should have the tool to interact with users of the app.
However, while the app may be in your pocket, this does not guarantee a consistent, regular flow of information. Mood swings, bad memory, and lack of self-discipline are here to make health data arbitrary. Therefore, providers need to motivate their patients, help them control the disease or prevent it, it all depends on each particular case.
In some cases, when a patient is unable to record vital signs on their own, family members or caregivers may do so. It is also necessary to understand what functions are essential and what some patients will not use. Of course, providers must strive to meet the needs of different individuals, but even so. development of medical applications problem poses a challenge, the results reward the efforts.