Readmissions had been an ongoing struggle for Western Maryland Health System (WMHS). The 200-bed rural hospital serves people with chronic diseases such as diabetes, congestive heart failure, and COPD. Unfortunately, many of these patients often return to the hospital with disease-related complications.
Jo Wilson, vice president of population health, and her team at WMHS suspected that remote patient monitoring might be the answer. However, financial and organizational challenges prevented the facility from pursuing a technology solution.
WMHS received some good news: they had secured funding to implement a remote patient monitoring program with the goal of reducing readmission rates over three years.
Wilson and her colleagues did not know where to start. What solutions were available in the marketplace, and which would best suit their needs? Would their budget be sufficient? Who could they trust to help them design and implement a program of this scale? “We knew what we wanted to do with it, but we just didn’t have a direction,” says Wilson.
Realizing that WMHS needed expert guidance to succeed in this new space, Wilson reached out to ECRI Institute, who had previously helped them develop a new robotic surgery program.
ECRI Institute met with the leadership at WMHS to understand their care environment and goals for the chronic disease patient population. Drawing from its broad research expertise, ECRI Institute provided an evidence-based strategy for a remote patient monitoring program to reduce readmissions. The plan became the foundation for guiding WMHS through the assessment and selection of a remote patient monitoring vendor.
Key factors in the selection process included choosing the right technology and service options for care coordination workflow, and considering the needs of patients with chronic diseases.
Once the project was underway, Wilson and ECRI staff struck a rapport so that over time, “we just got better at looking at what we needed to see,” says Wilson.
“They were very quick to grasp what was needed when they came out to interview everybody to identify each group’s needs for the project.”
After narrowing down the list of vendors, ECRI Institute guided WMHS through a variety of pricing options to select and contract with the most cost-effective solution that fit their clinical goals.
In less than six months, ECRI and WMHS were able to design a system-wide remote patient monitoring program and select the appropriate vendor.
“[ECRI] exceeded my expectations in the way that they were able to synthesize everything, and then help us interpret what we really needed in a vendor,” says Wilson, adding that “the vendor has turned out to be a wonderful partner already.”
Learn more about ECRI Institute's Remote Patient Monitoring Consulting service.