Visiting Nurse / Hospice Atlanta Blogs

New Tech Tool, OneCare May Lead to Healthier Choices, Improved Care

By Dorothy Davis, Community Care and Innovative Aging

Undoubtedly, you’ve heard of or used the phrase, “during my daily routine”. Sometimes we move through this routine with purpose. Each day we wake up at roughly the same time, stumble into the kitchen to brew a pot of coffee, brush our teeth and so on until the lights go off. You get the picture. But, there are many habits that are a part of our routine that we are less conscious about, like sitting in the same chair or grabbing a few M&Ms as we walk by the candy jar. Whether consciously or unconsciously, our personal care, nutritional choices, exercise regimen, and workday become rooted, structuring our daily behavior. And that’s ok until it isn’t.

Changing your lifestyle may not be a choice

A major health disruption can alter a routine. In some instances, the change may be dramatic. Even a minor complication simply associated with the process of aging may necessitate alterations in day to day living. Changing behaviors may be imperative to a patient’s recovery and longevity. However, it’s not easy to modify those habits that we have grown so accustomed to over time.

In healthcare jargon, we refer to these types of changes in daily routine as “adherence management”. What this really means is that in order for a caregiver to help patients heal, stave off disease, or control chronic health issues, patients must not only follow a new treatment plan, they must stick with it for the long haul. You see, it’s about changing a lifestyle. And some patients say it’s ok until it isn’t.

Technology as an aide

By some estimates, 8% of patients do only 8 % of their daily healthcare tasks. We’re trying to affect those numbers with the help of technology. Visiting Nurse Health System is collaborating with the software company, OneCare, on a pilot project to improve health outcomes for patients. Here’s how it works: on a typical day, our nurses are coaching patients through a variety of behavioral modifications. This coaching may include medication management, exercise or physical therapy programs, nutritional choices, and adjustments to home environments. Through the OneCare web platform, nurses can track a patient’s consistency, or in clinical terms, their adherence to their new behaviors. In addition, caregivers can send reminder notifications to patients, create custom

reports to review together, and even offer congratulatory notes and words of encouragement.

Something we also know a lot about here at Visiting Nurse is that including a patient’s support team is critical to positive health outcomes. Through the OneCare program, nurses have the ability to loop in the family and keep them apprised of their loved one’s progress. In turn, family members can engage directly to motivate, reinforce behaviors, and if necessary, intervene should their loved one stray from their new routine.

Driving down the cost of your healthcare

While patient adherence is vital to recovery and maintenance, it also reduces the chances for relapse or re-admittance for care- a costly proposition. In fact, it’s estimated that 60% of health care spending could be preventable as a result of enhanced adherence management.

We’ll be working through this pilot for the foreseeable future to determine whether our partnership with OneCare is, in fact, improving healthcare outcomes for our patients and whether our caregivers are benefitting by being able to adjust treatment with new data in real time. Until we report again, everything is ok.

Visiting Nurse Health System is Georgia’s leading nonprofit provider of home healthcare, long-term care at home, and hospice services, helping patients and their loved ones receive care at home following an illness, surgery, or hospital stay.

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