SALISBURY, Md. - Hospitals and medical facilities across the country are trying to find more effective ways to keep their patients healthy after they're discharged.
Next month, a local home care center is adopting a new high-tech service that will make it easier to monitor patients.
Soon, patients will be able to take their own readings with a machine similar to this one as a part of the Telehealth initiative, which was launched to help hospitals decrease readmissions and retain Medicare funds.
"The hospitals are being penalized if they have patients that are discharged and come back in within a certain period of time," said Sandy Russ of Peninsula Home Care.
The machine is installed at home and Russ says the patient is responsible for checking their own weight, blood pressure and pulse throughout the week as prescribed by their doctor.
Russ says the device fully monitors patients with serious illnesses, like congestive heart failure without the supervision of a nurse.
"For congestive blood pressure, you'll want to check your blood pressure everyday," said Russ.
All of the patient's readings are sent to a monitoring company, which keeps an eye out for anything abnormal and alerts an on-call nurse if there appears to be a serious problem, says Russ.
The home monitor initiative already tracks prevents for congestive heart failure readmissions. In 2014, it will prevent chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and, Russ says, it will prevent diabetes related readmissions to hospitals in the near future.
"It doesn't take place of the staff coming out to see them," said Russ. "I think it's going to help a lot of patients."
The initiative will first launch at the Seaford branch in January, later rolling out in Salisbury and Ocean Pines in the spring.