Telehealth Helping Transplant Patients

The University of Mississippi Medical Center’s (UMMC) https://www.umc.edu Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT) Unit part of the UMMC Cancer Institute’s Interdisciplinary Hematologic Malignancies Program, uses remote patient monitoring tools developed by the university’s Telehealth Center to monitor patients at home.  https://www.umc.edu/Healthcare/Telehealth/Telehealth_Home.html

Shirley Crnkovic a patient was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, had a transplant, but upon release from the hospital, was told she would be provided with equipment to take with her so she could be monitored at home.

She received a Bluetooth-enable scale, blood pressure cuff and oximeter, and a smart tablet. The kit included a thermometer but she would have to enter that reading manually. Upon leaving, the outpatient nurse explained how she was to use the equipment and was given a toll free number to call at any time.

From home, Crnkovic was able to use the equipment to forward information on weight, temperature, pulse, oxygen levels, and blood pressure. In addition, she can answer questions and can ask questions if needed. The tablet includes dozens of education modules on nutrition, infection, exercise and much more.

According to Dr. Carter Milner, Assistant Professor of Hematology/Oncology and a BMT physician, “By using technology to monitor patients, we can adjust medications or hold a medication. This allows us to send patients home and still have eyes on them every day.”

Each day, a nurse and transplant coordinator reviews the data, and may call the person if the nurse sees a difference in vitals. They can also can review vitals over several days and compare them and do trouble shooting. If a problem is suspected, the person will be contacted and if needed, the nurse can do a video conference to discuss the problem.

“We’re trying to improve patient outcomes”, reports Pam Farris, Nurse Manager for the BMT unit. Early results show a decrease in 30 day readmissions and a decrease in length of stay for the patient from 27 to 22 days.

 

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