Androscoggin Home Healthcare + Hospice Case Study
Androscoggin and Community Partners Confront COVID-19 Surge with Telehealth and Remote Patient Monitoring
Androscoggin Home Healthcare + Hospice is Maine’s largest independent, non-profit home healthcare organization. Since 1966, Androscoggin has been dedicated to enhancing quality of life by providing innovative and compassionate medical care, regardless of income level and ability to pay.
For more than 20 years, Androscoggin has invested in telehealth and remote patient monitoring (RPM) technology. In 2020, Androscoggin partnered with Health Recovery Solutions (HRS) to enhance its telehealth and RPM offerings.
At the end of December 2020, Woodlands Senior Living began recording positive cases of COVID-19 in two of its Maine communities. The facilities quickly responded by quarantining exposed residents and staff, and by partnering with Androscoggin Home Healthcare + Hospice.
Through this partnership, Woodlands aimed to monitor residents’ symptoms and create a continuum of care to meet the clinical and emotional needs of patients and their families during the outbreak. Local hospital and emergency medical services (EMS) partners were incorporated into the care continuum to meet both the clinical and emotional needs of patients, caregivers and family members impacted by the outbreak.
Androscoggin admitted all COVID-19 patients to home health services and enrolled each patient in its telehealth and remote patient monitoring (RPM) program.
The primary goals for this collaborative care network included:
- Preventing the spread of COVID-19 to staff and residents within the senior living community.
- Treating residents in place and appropriately diverting patients from the local emergency department and hospital setting, which was experiencing high patient volumes.
- Supporting goals of care conversations between residents, clinical staff, and family members as care needs changed.
In order to address the COVID-19 outbreak, Androscoggin utilized its experience with RPM to enhance clinical coordination between Woodlands Senior Living, area EMS, hospital staff, and primary care providers.
Androscoggin’s relationship with Health Recovery Solutions (HRS) was critical to its ability to quickly scale the telehealth program—leveraging the HRS’ mobile application, PatientConnect® Mobile, for the first time. The simplicity and ease of use of the mobile platform was essential for use by residents and facility staff.
Androscoggin Develops Care Continuum with Telehealth and RPM
Androscoggin’s telehealth nurses monitored patient vital signs recorded by rounding staff members. Data was shared daily during “team huddles” with all clinical partners and a local nurse practitioner, who was assigned to oversee clinical management of all residents impacted by the covid-19 outbreak. Required face-to- face visits were accomplished using an HRS tablet where clinicians could connect with staff and patients with the click of a button.
Community paramedicine providers and home health and hospice nurses were available to perform in-person and virtual evaluations at the request of practitioners.
Senior living facilities coordinated on-site care needs and communicated with family members and primary care physicians to keep everyone up-to-date on residents’ status and care needs.
Primary care physicians and an assigned lead nurse practitioner coordinated orders and medication management.
“The greatest impact I think we could makein an assisted living community affected by COVID—before the ability to be able to providefull vaccinations—was to be able to facilitate a collaborative effort between separate entities inan effort to save lives. The ability to “see” patients virtually was crucial in this effort with combined the forces of the community paramedicine program with boots on the ground nursing.”
“This was the ‘perfect storm’ of healthcare interventions when dealing with potentially sick residents living in a non-medical assisted living community. The non-medical environment is so effective for seniors to live their most enriched life, until we are faced with the threat of a fast moving, silent virus, such as COVID-19. Out team helped facilitate virtual healthcare services in coordination with Androscoggin Home Health + Hospice and provided on the ground medical interventionswith Franklin Health Primary Care and local EMS Community Paramedicine Services. Through this coordination and support, we were able to provide quality medical attention in the resident’s home environment, which would have otherwise placed a burden on the local emergency department.Our outcomes improved and the satisfaction from residents and family couldn’t have been better.”
Hospital Admissions Related to COVID-19 Complications
Virtual Visits Performed
Patient Satisfaction Rate
Decrease in ED Transfers
For more than two months, Androscoggin and its surrounding communities experienced a COVID-19 outbreak, spurring Androscoggin to rapidly scale its partnerships with two senior living facilities and enroll more than 70 residents in the telehealth program.
Using the HRS PatientConnect® Mobile application and designated video tablets at each location, staff and residents were able to share vital information with remote care teams and ensure the safety of staff and patients, as well as prevent patient transfers to crowded emergency departments and hospitals.
During the surge, only two patients enrolled in the telehealth and RPM program were admitted to the hospital as a result of COVID-19 complications, and zero patients were admitted to the ICU or required the assistance of a ventilator. In addition, Androscoggin’s telehealth program decreased ED transfers by 50% from the senior living facilities to local emergency departments during the outbreak, proving patients could be safely monitored and receive care while remaining in place.
During the two-month outbreak, 65 virtual visits were performed with residents and staff to reduce exposure to COVID-19 and comply with face-to-face requirements outlined by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
Since launching its telehealth and RPM program more than 20 years ago, Androscoggin Home Healthcare + Hospice has maintained high patient satisfaction scores among their RPM patients—largely due to the enhanced communication and improved patient engagement offered by the telehealth and RPM program. Between October 2020 and June 2021, 94% of Androscoggin’s telehealth and RPM patients stated that they were satisfied with the telehealth program, including assisted living facility patients enrolled in the program during the outbreak.