ARH Recognized for Excellence in Telehealth


Appalachian Regional Healthcare has been named the recipient of the 2017 MATRC Telehealth Excellence in Service for Rural and/or Medically Underserved Populations award from the Mid-Atlantic Telehealth Resource Center.

The award recognizes the successful application of telehealth by an individual or organization that has led to improved health outcomes and/or quality of life for rural and/or medically underserved populations. Telehealth is the use of electronic information and telecommunications technologies to support long-distance clinical healthcare, patient and professional health-related education, public health and health administration.

ARH was recognized for its Remote Patient Monitoring and Chronic Care Management efforts.

The Remote Patient Monitoring Program at ARH helps patients with cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases manage their conditions following hospital discharge to decrease repeat preventable re-admissions within 30 days of discharge for these conditions.

Through the Remote Patient Monitoring Program, patients are identified by the Hospital Case Manager (CM) and following discharge the devices are installed in the patient’s home to help monitor their health conditions.  Each day, the patients take their blood pressure, pulse, weight, and oxygen level.  This data is collected via blue tooth, encrypted and transmitted to a cloud server.  The data is reviewed by a Registered Nurse (RN).  If data alerts are outside set parameters, the RN calls the patient, validates the reading, conducts an assessment, provides education, and escalates the information to the patient’s primary care provider as needed. The patient’s provider then determines the need for a medical intervention.

The two ARH hospitals chosen to pilot the program - the Hazard ARH Regional Medical Center and Harlan ARH Hospital – are seeing much success in reducing patients’ hospital readmissions. The 30-day readmission rate at Hazard has been reduced by 50 percent, and Harlan ARH has seen a 69 percent decrease in readmissions since the program launched. Whitesburg ARH Hospital has also launched the Remote Patient Monitoring program and is successfully helping patients with cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases as well as diabetes in managing their conditions following hospital discharge.

To improve patient coordination and management of care and reduced readmissions, ARH also implemented the Center for Medicare and Medicaid’s Chronic Care Management Program (CCM) which encourages doctors and patients to connect outside normal office visits through emails, phone calls and contact by other health care team members under the direction of the patient’s doctor.  To qualify for the program Medicare recipients must have two or more chronic conditions. Since kicking off the program in March 2016,   ARH has implemented CCM in all their clinics and provide 20 minutes of non-face to face care coordination to patients every month. There currently are 437 patients enrolled.

ARH Manager of Corporate Strategy Isaac Hallam says ARH is honored to receive the award, and that much work has gone in to bringing these services to ARH patients.

“This recognition is thanks to all the individuals at ARH who have worked so hard to make these programs a success not only to better our health system, but for the patients whose lives we touch every day and who are now able to better manage health conditions that previously could have required a lengthy hospital stay,” Hallam said. “These efforts are an embodiment of our mission and the patients enrolled in these programs are truly benefiting.”

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