Agreement puts tablet devices into hands of home care clients in assisted living, elsewhere

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Assisted living residents and individuals living in their homes who are clients of the Northwell Health Home Care Network will be receiving Bluetooth-enabled tablet devices that can transmit their vital signs to their clinicians and also enable videoconferencing.

The move comes as the home care company — serving most of the boroughs of New York City as well as Suffolk County on Long Island — forms an agreement with Hoboken, NJ-based Health Recovery Solutions.

Each tablet includes a moveable video camera, blood-pressure and digital weight monitors, a pulse oximeter and a stethoscope. The device can transmit vital sign and symptom information to individuals' physicians, nurses and family members in real time and also can trigger alerts for those at high risk of a medical emergency.

“Telemonitoring is a wonderful tool to help reduce re-hospitalizations,” Diane Asquino, RN, the agency's director of patient services, said in a statement. “It engages the patient in managing their health by helping them to identify symptoms early. If they think something is wrong, they can notify their physicians immediately to reduce hospitalizations.”

In addition to the Bluetooth-enabled tablets, new telemonitoring features of HRS' system include a digital weight monitor and a live-listening stethoscope that assesses clients' heart and lung functions through video encounters on the tablets.

Unlike the Northwell Home Care Network's previous telemonitoring technology, which was integrated into a desktop computer, the portability of the new system provides clinicians with remote access to older adults and others receiving home care, enabling them to communicate at all hours, including on their mobile devices.

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