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Enhanced Virtual Health Program Supports At-Home Patient Care

From Dr. Zsolt Kulcsar, the Medical Director of Lee Virtual Health.

Digital health is transforming the way we provide medical care. It’s giving patients more options in seeking the right care, in the right place and at the right time.

At Lee Health, we have expanded our virtual care services to best meet the needs of the community we serve. Through a partnership with Health Recovery Solutions, our goal is to decrease hospital readmissions and reduce unnecessary emergency room visits.

The virtual health program initially targets patients with congestive heart failure (CHF) and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), hypertension (HTN) and post cardio-thoracic surgery patients with plans to expand to other chronic care and high-risk patient populations by the end of the year.

Remote patient monitoring allows us to care for patients in the most appropriate care setting based on their personal needs and where they are most comfortable – at home. It allows us to virtually track their health in real time and intervene when needed to prevent worsening health conditions.

Telehealth patients are identified for the program by their primary care and specialty providers during office visits or prior to hospital discharge. Patients are introduced to the virtual health technology in the physician’s office or prior to discharge and are sent a telehealth kit directly to their homes within 48 hours.

Once patients receive their telehealth kit, complete with a 4G tablet and biometric monitoring devices, an HRS Engagement Specialist calls the patients and reviews the virtual care technology once more and helps the patient record their first vital signs. Once the technology is set up, patients begin working with a dedicated registered nurse in the virtual health department for education of their condition and monitoring of their vital signs. Through this additional education, Lee Health aims to increase patients’ comfort level with the technology and their long-term engagement.

Lee Health clinicians monitor patients daily, responding to risk alerts based on reported vitals and symptoms. To quickly evaluate patients and address concerns, Lee Health nurses can contact patients directly through the tablet via text messaging, phone call, or virtual visit.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Lee Health clinicians offered virtual visit to patients undergoing home isolation. The Lee Health telehealth program is continuing to leverage virtual visits to expand access to care, evaluate patients experiencing exacerbations, and augment in-person visits when appropriate.

In the coming months, Lee Health looks to expand their virtual health services further to patients with pre-eclampsia, wound care, and nephrology as part of its commitment to discovering new solutions and implementing innovative programs that deliver care to patients at home.