Elderly woman on a laptop

Residents and staff of long-term care facilities throughout the Midwest are taking advantage of telemedicine services to improve care and reduce costs. Avera eCARE Senior Care was able to expand telemedicine services to 45 rural and urban long-term care facilities in Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska and South Dakota using a Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) award.

The goal of the telemedicine expansion project was to reduce hospitalizations, emergency department visits and total cost of care using telemedicine services. Josh Hofmeyer, LNHA, senior care officer at Avera eCARE, provided a detailed overview in an article titled “Award fuels expansion of telemedicine” in the McKnight’s Long-Term Care News.

Hofmeyer included the following statement within the article.  “At the completion of the award, eCARE Senior Care services had impacted over 11,000 residents – allowing 90 percent of them, on average, to receive the care they needed in their long-term care facility rather than being transferred immediately after an urgent care encounter.”

A variety of healthcare professionals were engaged as members of the Steering and Advisory Committee, including Lori Hintz, RN, program manager for the Great Plains Quality Innovations Network.

“A change in health can happen quickly and at any time of the day or night. Using telemedicine allows nursing facility staff to access a provider, resolve the issue and keep the resident comfortable in their current facility,” Hintz added.  “This patient-centered approach provides the added value of confidence and security.”

Long-term care facilities face a unique set of challenges addressing healthcare-associated infections, care coordination, medication safety and more. The Great Plains QIN nursing home initiative provides a collaborative structure to share tools, knowledge and experiences for improving resident safety and clinical process.Visit our Web site to learn more.