YORK-Lackey Clinic has partnered with Accuhealth in launching a new program that utilizes remote monitoring devices to manage patients’ hypertension, weight loss, and diabetes. There are 40 patients enrolled in the program, each receiving a nutritional assessment, dietary plan, digital scale, Fitbit activity tracker, and, if necessary, a blood pressure monitor and glucometer.
Accuhealth’s digital devices, such as blood glucose meters, blood pressure monitors, and weight scales, are powered by integrated 4G network communication, which permits patients to record their vitals without needing wifi or Bluetooth accessibility.
Lackey Clinic CEO Larry Trumbore said the nonprofit health center had invested in telehealth technology during the pandemic. “I did a lot of research and studies showed that the use of technology and telehealth actually could improve health outcomes through more frequent contact,” said Trumbore. “We developed a program that used remote patient monitoring (RPM), which Accuhealth does.”
For example, a patient who’s being coached in weight loss can step on a scale and the information is automatically uploaded to a website where it’s monitored. “There are also blood pressure and blood glucose monitors that do the same thing.” said Trumbore. “The patient puts it on, lets the battery fill it up, and then the reading is sent automatically to the Accuhealth dashboard.”
In addition to remote monitoring, the second component to the program is telehealth. “We have a partnership with William & Mary because premed students need volunteer hours in order to get into medical school,” said Trumbore. The students, or “patient partners,” as they’re referred to, each have three patients they work with on remote monitoring, technology coaching, and Fitbit utilization. “There’s a personal component to this program, it’s not just about the technology,” said Trumbore.
Trumbore said that when he initially reached out to Accuhealth, a representative told him that remote monitoring services cost $65 per day for each patient that utilizes the technology. When he explained to Accuhealth that the clinic didn’t need the monitoring portion of the plan because premed students would be overseeing it, Accuhealth decided to supply the service free of charge. “I asked why they would you do that,” said Trumbore. “He said it’s real simple. Our CEO wants premed students who will be doctors one day to see how powerful Accuhealth is, and besides, you’re a free and charitable clinic.”
One of the patients in the program began experiencing unexplained shortness of breath, facial numbness, and chest discomfort, which prompted the use of her Accuhealth blood pressure monitor and Fitbit to check her vital signs. Both devices indicated systolic BPs over 200 and diastolic BPs over 100. The patient was transported to a local emergency room for evaluation, and it was determined she was suffering from a hypertensive crisis.
The patient was treated, and her blood pressure medications were adjusted for better regulation. The technology enabled the patient and her family to quickly act upon the abnormal readings and seek medical assistance. Since then, the patient has become motivated to live a healthier lifestyle. She has started a regular exercise program and removed salt from her diet. Due to healthy choices, and being on the Accuhealth remote patient monitoring program, she’s lost 14 pounds, has more energy, and experiences less chronic joint pain.
The program will last for a minimum of six months, though some patients with higher initial body mass indexes may stay in the program for up to a year. The Lackey Clinic is collecting and evaluating data with hopes of expanding services in the future.
The Lackey Clinic was cofounded in 1995 by Dr. Jim Shaw and his wife, Cooka. The faith-based clinic provides a range of healthcare services, including primary and specialty medical care, dental care, virtual urgent care, eye care, free and low-cost medications, behavioral health counseling, telehealth services, and spiritual care for uninsured adults. For more information about Lackey Clinic, visit its website.
Founded in 2018, Accuhealth is a leading healthcare technology provider of remote patient monitoring solutions and provides hardware, software, and 24-hour clinical monitoring to physicians with real-time vital information and data. For more information on Accuhealth, visit its website.