Technology And Medicine
11:31 am
Fri September 14, 2012

How Telemedicine Works At Home

 

Every morning at 10:00 a.m., congestive heart failure patient Marilyn Yeats of Naples conducts her own health checkup with the help of a computer.

Call it a virtual visit. She uses a home health guide to send her vitals to her nurse in Tampa Bay via the internet.

“This program is having your own private nurse,” says Yeats.

HealthyState.org follows Yeats through her checkup and visits the behind-the-scenes of what happens to Yeats’ data.

Yeats is part of a pilot program through Humana Cares. The insurance company is targeting patients with congestive heart failure in efforts to manage their symptoms and reduce their hospital readmissions.

Patients are armed with telemedicine units – basically, a computer with add-ons that measure blood pressure, weight and other biometric data. A camera atop the computer’s screen lets patients like Yeats talk face-to-face with an offsite nurse.

“We have been able to successfully decrease the number of hospitalizations for congestive heart failure, for the population that we’re working with,” says Kate Marcus, manager of biometric data at Humana Cares.

The program is an early trial of telemedicine for home use. Yeats let HealthyState.org into her home to see how it works. (Watch the video above.)