PROVIDENCE, RI (August 7, 2012) — Homefront Health Care is investing more than $175,000 as it looks to capitalize on advances in electronic medical record keeping and remote patient monitoring to better serve its clients.
Through grants and donations, Homefront has invested in a new billing platform, implemented an electronic medical records system and will be adding a Telehealth Program later this year. Homefront is one of the largest providers of in-home health care in Rhode Island, providing more than 3,000 home visits to more than 700clients each week, throughout Rhode Island.
“There have been a lot of medical advances that are working their way into the home care environment,” explains Homefront President & CEO Robert Caffrey. “They are allowing us to communicate better, identify potential health issues sooner and better coordinate care for our clients.”
An anonymous corporate donor helped jumpstart the Homefront technology push with a $63,000 Challenge Grant. Homefront was able to match that donation with grants from the Champlin Foundations, Shriners of Rhode Island, Verizon, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Rhode Island, the Roddy-Holden Foundation, and staff and individuals gifts. Homefront also received $45,000 from the Rhode Island Foundation, the state’s Community Foundation, for the Telehealth Program.
The Electronic Medical Record system will have the most immediate impact on clients’ care. Through the technology grants, Homefront purchased 20 laptop computers for use by nurses and therapists in patients’ homes. Utilizing the Careanyware software, Homefront staff can now create an electronic medical record for clients.
“We now have instant access to the patients’ recent medical history which really helps a lot,” explains Homefront RN Paula Bousquet. “We have access to the patients diagnosis, a medications list and their care plan. It makes for better communications and better continuity of care.”
“Usually the same nurse admits and follows a patient but sometimes you have different nurses making visits,” Bousquet says. “Some patients aren’t able to give you their medical history so from a case management standpoint, all the information is crucial. You can look up various charts and see what happened on a previous visit. Sometimes you’ll take a vital sign and see that something is running a little high. You can look back and see if that’s normal for this patient. It saves a call to the office.”
Homefront became Medicare certified in 2010 and now offers acute care services under Medicare in addition to the long-term care services it has always offered under Medicaid. Acute care includes skilled nursing care as well as speech, occupational and physical therapy.
The Telehealth Program will allow Homefront to monitor clients’ vital signs remotely. Through a user-friendly device in the clients’ homes, Homefront will be able monitor weight, blood pressure, blood oxygen content and other important health measures.
For chronically ill individuals, these basic measurements indicate changes in their health status. With remote monitoring, Homefront will be better able to address the health issues before they rise to an emergency, resulting in emergency medical attention and hospital stays.
“It allows us to identify and correct health issues as soon as possible,” Caffrey explains. “For elderly patients, identify a problem a few days early can be the difference between a minor medical issue and a lengthy hospital stay.”
Opened in 1966 and accredited by the Joint Commission, Homefront is a nonprofit organization with offices in East Providence, Harmony, Providence, Warwick, Westerly and Woonsocket. It provides high quality, comprehensive home health care through a team of nurses, therapists, CNAs, homemakers, social workers and companions.
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