Falls are a major cause of death among older U.S. adults, resulting in 32,000 fatalities annually. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that a senior citizen in America falls every second. In an effort to reduce this mortality rate, Ochsner Health in Louisiana is utilizing remote-patient monitoring programs to track falls among older adults, regardless of their location.
Richard Milani, MD, the chief clinical transformation officer at Ochsner Health, explains that even when patients go for a walk, their progress can be monitored through remote technology. This approach allows for the collection and response to information through the use of various technologies. Ochsner Health, a member of the AMA Health System Program, is committed to providing enterprise solutions to equip healthcare leaders and professionals with the necessary resources to shape the future of medicine.
Although hospitals have implemented measures to prevent falls among inpatients, not enough attention is given to addressing falls among older adults in their homes. Remote technology offers the ability to track and monitor activities, improvements, and individuals who may require intervention. Ochsner currently has two products available for monitoring falls: Connected Home, a smart in-home network that measures gait and mobility, and Connected Health Alert, which utilizes an Apple Watch app to track falls in real-time and provide immediate support from emergency responders.
Remote monitoring is also used by Ochsner in their chronic disease programs, including hypertension, diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and dyslipidemia. Dr. Milani emphasizes the importance of having a platform to capture and manage the information collected from these monitoring programs. While creating a platform could be costly, many electronic health record (EHR) vendors are beginning to offer this infrastructure. Dr. Milani envisions that in the next five years, health systems will adopt technologies that enable them to respond promptly to patient concerns, alleviating some of the burden on physicians and potentially addressing physician burnout.
Overall, health systems should consider ways to effectively capture and process this information in a manner that does not overwhelm the system, but instead prioritizes the care of the patients they serve. Ochsner Health has been recognized for their efforts to improve physician well-being through the AMA Joy in Medicine Health System Recognition Program. The remote-patient monitoring approach has the potential to contribute to the reduction of physician burnout by alleviating some of their day-to-day tasks. The “AMA Update” serves as a valuable resource for physician-focused news, providing insights from experts on various public health concerns and practice issues.