ROCKVILLE, MD – How to replicate a successful program underway at Essentia Health that uses telehealth technology to track patients with congestive health failure, is the topic of an AHRQ Health Care Innovations Exchange being held Wednesday in Rockville, Md.
The Essentia Health Heart Failure Program (formerly St. Mary’s Duluth Clinic Heart Failure Program) began more than a decade ago in Duluth, Minn. The program uses a special telemonitoring scale that records patient weight, asks them questions about their health, and transmits the vital information to a cardiac nurse, who can make changes to medications and track patient condition on a daily basis.
While national hospital readmission rates for congestive heart failure patients at six months are 40 to 50 percent, Essentia’s sickest heart failure patients, who use the telescale, have readmission rates from 0 to 2 percent. Readmission rates for all patients in the program have hovered around 3 to 7 percent.
The cost benefit is also impressive. An Essentia Health study conducted in partnership with insurance company Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota showed $1.25 million in savings for just 29 patients over six months.
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