TELUS Health, Saskatchewan Health Authority, and eHealth Saskatchewan are now supporting lung transplant patients recovering at home, virtually
Home Health Monitoring technology supports patient recovery while limiting exposure to COVID-19 for them and their healthcare providers
Regina - TELUS Health today announced the expansion of its Home Health Monitoring (HHM) solution to digitally monitor the recovery of lung transplant patients across Saskatchewan. Launched in partnership with the Saskatchewan Health Authority and eHealth Saskatchewan, this digital health dashboard enables a virtual healthcare team to provide medical support remotely, for patients in real-time as they recover in their own homes.
Easily accessible through a mobile device, tablet or desktop computer, the TELUS Health HHM solution sends daily prompts to patients to report their biometrics such as spirometry (i.e. lung function), blood pressure and overall health condition. If patients do not have their own digital health tools, they are provided with biometric devices such as bluetooth-connected weight scales and blood pressure cuffs in order to monitor their vitals and enter them into their daily report. This data then is sent electronically to the care team so it can be viewed on the digital dashboard, allowing regular and remote monitoring of a patient’s well-being. This gives clinicians the ability to review crucial patient data in real-time, allowing them to identify any urgent care needs and mitigate risks such as possible infection, incision issues, and/or neurocognitive impairment.
“As healthcare needs become increasingly complex, and COVID-19 continues to complicate various aspects of patient care, we are committed to helping Saskatchewan’s healthcare leaders to continue to deliver quality care to the people of Saskatchewan who need it the most by leveraging our innovative technology,” said Luc Vilandré, president, TELUS Health. “Enabling clinicians to remotely observe individuals who have just undergone a transplant surgery and are recovering in the comfort of their own home allows for optimal patient recovery and strengthens efforts to keep both patients and clinicians safe during the pandemic.”
Transplant patients have compromised immune systems, particularly during the first month following the transplant operation due to the use of immunosuppressant medication to help prevent the body’s rejection of a donor organ. Monitoring vitals is crucial to a healthy recovery as is ensuring patients can recover in the safety of their own homes amidst the current pandemic so there is no increased risk of exposure to the virus. HHM helps give patients peace of mind knowing they are still connected to their healthcare team for monitoring without having to physically remain in hospital.
“We are excited to be developing a virtual care strategy to enable Saskatchewan residents to receive timely, quality care at home,” said Dr. Vern Behl, Senior Medical Information Officer, Saskatchewan Health Authority. “Home health monitoring allows patients to be active participants in their care, helping to ensure better outcomes. It also helps build capacity in our healthcare system, preventing our acute care facilities from becoming overwhelmed, which is especially necessary at this time. This virtual care strategy will benefit the province and people of Saskatchewan during the pandemic, and for years to come.”
It is estimated that the TELUS Health HHM solution and lung transplant monitoring program will support 60 to 70 Saskatchewanians for the lifetime of their transplant. Ongoing discussions are underway to expand the use of HHM for the remote monitoring of individuals with heart conditions and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
“These kinds of technology partnerships work well for everyone,” said Jim Hornell, CEO, eHealth Saskatchewan. “With Home Health Monitoring, patients are spared unnecessary trips to the clinic, yet they can continue to be closely monitored by healthcare professionals. This allows those working on the frontlines to use their time effectively to monitor multiple patients, while ensuring patients access to quality care.”
The launch of the HHM solution for transplant patients is another collaboration between TELUS Health and Saskatchewan’s public health system. In October 2019, the Saskatchewan government launched MySaskHealthRecord, a website that enables Saskatchewan residents to easily access their personal health information, including medical imaging results, laboratory tests and clinical visit history.
The TELUS Health HHM solution has been used in British Columbia since 2013 to remotely monitor thousands of patients living with chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart failure and respiratory diseases. Of those with heart or respiratory issues, 81 per cent reported fewer emergency room visits and 92 per cent reported fewer hospital admissions. The solution is currently being used in B.C. and other provinces to support those with or at a high risk of contracting COVID-19. Over 1400 BC Citizens have been monitored for COVID-19 to date.
Building off of these successful initiatives in B.C. and Saskatchewan, discussions with other provincial health authorities are underway to provide HHM technology to even more Canadians in various areas of care.
About TELUS Health and Payment Solutions
TELUS Health is a leader in digital health technology solutions such as home health monitoring, electronic medical and health records, virtual care, benefits and pharmacy management as well as personal emergency response services. TELUS Health is leveraging the power of technology to improve access to care and revolutionize the flow of health information to create better outcomes for Canadians while facilitating collaboration, efficiency and productivity for physicians, pharmacists, health authorities, allied healthcare professionals, insurers, employers and citizens. TELUS Payment Solutions complements our health solutions by delivering secure, industry-compliant payment and lending solutions that connect lenders, payors, insurers, extended health care providers and financial institutions to their customers across Canada.
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