The new initiative, called the Home Care Connect program and announced February 1 will be offered through the health system’s home care division, Trinity Health at Home.

Patients will be provided with a wireless 4G-enabled tablet which combines consumer electronics, Bluetooth, and biometric devices to enable remote monitoring, virtual visits via Apple Facetime and patient education programs.

Additional wireless health devices connected to the tablet will automatically collect patient data regarding weight, blood pressure and other measurements daily. Patients will also self report on their health status and receive immediate feedback from nurses.

“Traditional home care involves eligibility criteria that allowed home based services. We’re going to provide it as part of integrated home care. This integrated model includes 24/7 365-day virtual care in real time. Patients can call us at any time. There will be a nurse right there who can intervene accordingly,” says Erin Denholm, president of Trinity Health At Home.

The initial “go live” is planned this month in Trinity Health’s southeast Michigan communities. The equipment is integrated into Trinity’s electronic health record system, says Eric Rock, CEO of Vivify Health, which is providing the technology.

The project will be rolled out to other home health locations and incorporated into coordinated care programs. “As we look at patients in an integrated way, as opposed to siloed, ACOs and other models demand collaboration around patients in a way it never has before. It can make a huge difference in the success of the program,” says Denholm.

The program is expected to reduce emergency department visits and readmissions by providing care more proactively and decrease the cost of care by decreasing in person home health visits. Home care is one of the least expensive ways to provide care, says Denholm. At the same time, it should provide a better care and increase patient satisfaction.  

“With more people, the baby boomers retiring, we need to redesign care. [This initiative is] providing care in a smarter way,” says Denholm.