JGS Launches Telemedicine In Home Health Care Entity

LONGMEADOW — Through the use of innovative technology, patients of Spectrum Home Health Care, will soon be able to have their health status monitored in their own homes on a regular basis. This month, Spectrum’s parent company, Jewish Geriatric Services (JGS), is launching a state-of-the-art program called Telemedicine with selected patients from throughout its system.
According to Alan Rosenfeld, president and CEO for JGS, the non-profit healtcare system has been preparing to launch telemedicine for some time “however, the economics of bringing the intative to the table were daunting.” He said a favorable reimbursement environment, coupled with funding from a grant from the Mass. Dept. of Elder Affairs, as well as monies generated from the organization’s annual fundraiser, the Kinsler Classic, allowed the JGS to move forward.

Elise Ungar, executive vice president for Spectrum, said Telemedicine consists of two elements — a central station set up at the home care company’s offices and home monitoring systems set up in patients’ homes.

“The central station can collect data from up to 500 patients, affording our clinicians the ability to monitor each patient’s health status on a daily basis,” she said. “The home monitoring system can evaluate the ongoing condition of our patients through analysis of blood pressure, weight, pulse, temperature, and blood-sugar levels.”

The advantage, she notes, is the ability of clinicians to respond immediately to health status indicators that signal the need for a home visit by the nurse or a visit by the patient to his or her physician.

Ungar noted that the monitoring does not replace one-on-one care provided by clinicians from Spectrum. “Rather, it supplements the medical care necessary for individuals with chronic illness or those recovering from an acute condition.”

In its initial launch, selected patients admitted by Spectrum for services will be placed in the Telemedicine program. The effort will also be targeted to selected residents at Ruth’s House (JGS’s assisted living residence), patients of JGS Family Medical Care (JGS’s medical practice), and other patients from the community receiving Spectrum services.