An innovative alliance is using telehealth technology to enable patients with complex medical needs to leave the hospital sooner and shorten the time they spend in rehabilitation before returning home, all while potentially reducing the overall cost of their care to Medicare and other payers. 

ArchCare, the healthcare system of the Archdiocese of New York, partnered with telehealth provider TeliStat to launch high-tech “restorative care units” in two of its skilled nursing facilities, ArchCare at Terence Cardinal Cooke Health Care Center (TCC) and ArchCare at Mary Manning Walsh Home (MMW). The units combine multidisciplinary teams of doctors and nurses with TeliStat’s continuous cardiac and hemodynamic monitoring technology. 

Patients wear a small device that allows doctors to remotely monitor their vital signs and an array of other data to detect minute but potentially serious changes in their condition, and intervene quickly to prevent an acute medical crisis that otherwise might require hospitalization.

Since implementing the TeliStat program, MMW and TCC cut their 30-day patient readmission rates in half, bringing their rates to 6.9% and 7.1% respectively — a rate that’s nearly 70% lower than the national average.

Since the pilot ended, the SNFs have continued using the telehealth program during rehab sessions with all patients with heart and lung problems. ArchCare has plans to implement it throughout its remaining three SNFs, said Walid Michelen, MD, ArchCare’s senior vice president of clinical planning and innovation and chief medical officer.

“As a result of the real-time data TeliStat can collect during therapy, doctors and therapists can see instantly how much further the patient can safely push and calibrate the intensity of the therapy to deliver the greatest benefit,” Michelen said. “Patients are able to work harder and longer in therapy …[and] can get back to their homes and families sooner.”