Appalachian Regional Healthcare Selects Biofourmis Tech for Home Hospital Programs, Including Rural Healthcare Study
Biofourmis, a global leader in virtual care and digital medicine, announced that Appalachian Regional Healthcare (ARH), based in Lexington, Ky., will be using Biofourmis’ technology to support a new program delivering acute hospital-level care inside patients’ homes, including a clinical trial studying this care model in rural areas.
ARH is a not-for-profit health system operating 14 hospitals in Kentucky and West Virginia with 1,200 affiliated providers, multispecialty physician practices, home health agencies, home medical equipment stores and retail pharmacies.
Rural areas similar to the region that ARH serves face greater healthcare access challenges in terms of lack of specialized care, diagnostic testing and hospital beds with nearly 80% of rural America deemed medically underserved by the federal government. One in five Americans live in rural areas and depend on their local hospital for care, but 181 such hospitals have closed since 2005—including 138 of them since 2010, according to Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Biofourmis is supporting ARH and other health systems and patients in these areas with its turnkey, end-to-end care-at-home solution. ARH will leverage the solution for participation in the Rural Home Hospital project, a joint venture of the Harvard T.J. Chan School of Public Health and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Massachusetts. ARH and Blessing Health System in Quincy, Ill., which has also partnered with Biofourmis, were the only two U.S. participants selected for the program out of a pool of 700 applicants (Wetaskiwin Community Health Centre, Alberta Health Services in Canada is also participating in this three-year randomized controlled trial of the rural home hospital model.)
“Home hospital is a care model that has seen encouragingly positive outcomes and satisfied patients, and we believe it could make a true difference in rural Appalachia,” said Maria B. Braman, MD, MBA, ARH vice president, medical affairs and chief medical officer. “Biofourmis’ technology, which has been demonstrated to improve outcomes and decrease costs, has been successfully deployed in urban and rural home hospital programs. The solution will give us the digital health and remote clinical support we need to help make our program a success so that we can eventually expand to more hospitals and patients.”
Rural Home Hospital enables caregivers to deliver hospital-level care in patients’ homes across a range of acute conditions instead of admitting them to a medical facility. Shifting acute care to the home allows hospitals to optimize capacity and ensure that hospital beds are available for more critically ill patients. Other outcomes include higher patient satisfaction, lower readmission rates and fewer hospital-acquired conditions, as well as a reduction in the overall cost of care. For example, one randomized clinical trial leveraging Biofourmis’ technology found that a hospital at home program reduced hospital admissions among participating patients by 70% and lowered costs by nearly 40%. For rural communities, home hospital programs also reduce patient and family travel burdens and out-of-pocket costs associated with facility-based care.
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ARH is launching their program with 10 virtual beds, which will equate to approximately 30 patients per month. Patients will be equipped with wearable biosensors, blood-pressure cuffs, pulse oximeters and weight scales to collect physiologic data from home. The health system is also leveraging Biofourmis’ remote clinical support team that offers registered nurse-level monitoring for patients overnight from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m.
Remote Clinical Support and Real-Time Insight
ARH providers will visit patients in their homes and utilize Biofourmis’ technology to remotely monitor them through the biosensors and a patient-centric companion app. Continuously streaming data from the wearables and electronic patient-reported outcomes (ePROs) are fed into the Biofourmis artificial-intelligence (AI)-powered Biovitals® Analytics Engine, which establishes a personalized patient baseline via machine learning and delivers real-time notifications to providers as patient conditions change.
The Rural Home Hospital project will apply lessons and processes learned from early home hospital entrants such as Brigham and Women’s to help build, launch and evaluate a nationwide program to serve the unique care needs of rural residents across the United States. Rural Home Hospital will include patients with acute exacerbations of conditions such as heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, gout, chronic kidney disease and others. For the research study, roughly half of the participants will receive facility-based inpatient care and the other half will receive home-based care.
“Being selected by the only two U.S. participants in this prestigious rural healthcare research project is a reflection of Biofourmis’ reliability, scalability and flexibility, as well as of the positive patient outcomes and experiences that we help generate for care-at-home programs across the country,” said Kuldeep Singh Rajput, CEO and founder of Biofourmis. “Appalachian Regional Healthcare can trust that they will have a virtual care partner that will support not just their digital health needs, but also clinical needs with our experienced, qualified remote care team. Our end-to-end solution shrinks geographies so that patients in their homes will always feel close and connected to their providers no matter how physically far away they may be.”
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