Health Tech, Hospitals, Devices & Diagnostics

WellSky’s in-home care pilot with Ohio academic medical center aims to reduce heart failure hospital readmissions

WellSky will pilot its ReD technology at The OSU Wexner Medical Center with the goal to help heart failure patients avoid hospital readmissions. The technology allows providers to assess the fluid level in patients’ lungs accurately, deemed as a symptom of worsening heart condition.

Image of heart and circulatory system

Heart failure patients often need to be readmitted to the hospital and many companies are trying out their remote monitoring solutions to keep patients safe at home while also reducing the cost burden related to an emergency readmission.

WellSky, a healthcare technology company, is mixing a tech approach with human resources to attack this problem of healthcare readmissions related to cardiac patients.

The company based in Overland Park, Kansas, recently announced that it will implement its platform at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center to help heart failure patients avoid being readmitted to the hospital.

After the first hospital discharge, a certified in-home provider will visit the heart failure patients enrolled in the program and assesses the patient’s health using Sensible Medical’s ReDS technology. The noninvasive ReDS technology can determine in 45 seconds if patients have fluid in their lungs, and if so, how much.

Should the technology detect fluid in the lungs, immediate protocols begin in the hopes of preventing hospital readmission. For example, the in-home clinician and care coordinator can book a telehealth visit. The provider may also order labs to do a thorough check of the patient.

The in-home provider can also address adverse changes that arise and implement essential care interventions needed to hopefully avoid hospital readmissions. The provider can adjust the care plan accordingly. A follow up assessment is performed within 24 hours to check the patient in conjunction with continued monitoring.

“This entire process takes place through a dynamic workflow within the WellSky platform, which automatically configures and schedules additional assessments and care as needed to support patient safety through the end of the protocol,” said Bill Miller, CEO of WellSky in an email. “This combination of ReDS technology and the WellSky-enabled care coordination that solves for the logistical challenges that occur across organizational boundaries, allows caregivers and in-home clinicians to collaborate to achieve elevated patient outcomes at a lower cost.”

Typically, when heart failure patients develop symptoms that may require rehospitalization, it is connected to them having fluid in their lungs, said Miller. Historically, accessing the amount of fluid in the lungs has proven difficult, Miller explained. Traditionally, doctors would estimate the level of fluid by tracking patient’s changes in body weight or potentially looking for leg swelling. Both methods can prove less than accurate, especially as fluid in the body does not distribute evenly. Though invasive devices do exist to track such levels, doctors cannot rely on those measurement options unless the patient already has such a device in place. For instance, Abbott’s CardioMEMS device is an implantable sensor that measures pulmonary artery pressure to see if there is abnormal fluid build up in the lungs of heart failure patients.

“The ReDS technology and tightly coordinated protocols allow clinicians to not only assess how much fluid a patient has in their lungs, but it also allows them to track a patient’s response to therapy to ensure patients are receiving the right treatment to remove excess fluid,” Miller said in an email. “Through the use of the ReDS device, we can improve patient symptoms and prevent unnecessary hospital visits to have fluid removed.”

WellSky will pilot their platform with The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center within select counties in Ohio. After the first year, they may scale the partnership at a larger level across the hospital’s service area, Miller said.

Photo: Magicmine, Getty Images