Grand Rapids-based home health care provider Atrio Home Health Lakeshore was already looking for a telehealth platform to remotely monitor clients’ conditions before the COVID-19 pandemic.
Atrio wanted “something a little more updated” with technology that was “easier to use and quicker” than its existing system, said Atrio Administrator Kelly Wierenga.
Atrio found a possible solution when approached two years ago by Plano, Texas-based VitalTech Solutions LLC. The home health organization decided to pilot and help develop VitalTech’s remote monitoring platform, known as VitalCare.
The platform uses iPads and Bluetooth-connected devices to track and report the weight, temperature, blood pressure or blood oxygen levels of patients to Atrio care providers. Atrio was one of just five organizations across the U.S. to test and help develop the remote patient monitoring platform for Vital Tech that’s now used by more than 10,000 patients nationwide.
When the COVID-19 pandemic took hold, “It just became even more important to get that equipment out to the patients” and reduce the need for a personal daily visit to a client by an Atrio care provider, Wierenga said.
“At that point we were already through the pilot. It was perfect timing because we were getting ready to roll it out to our patients anyway,” Wierenga said. “It does definitely help us to be able to monitor people who — especially at the beginning — were not wanting us to come into their homes or facility. There was hesitation with people about more people coming into homes, although we’re health care providers, so we want to still provide that care.”
A joint venture between senior care providers Holland Home and Clark Retirement Community in Grand Rapids and Holland-based Resthaven, Atrio serves about 2,500 elderly persons and their families in Kent, Ottawa, Allegan, Barry, Ionia, and Montcalm counties.
Since the pilot, Atrio has expanded home health services in West Michigan with the addition of 35 remote patient monitoring units that it has started to use with lakeshore clients.
A $100,000 estate gift from the Edna Mae Haworth Trust enabled Atrio to buy the units from VitalTech and put them in patients’ homes.
“I had the privilege of partnering with Atrio at the inception of its remote monitoring program. Based on the needs they expressed, VitalTech’s software team developed several functionality features within our platform that helped not only Atrio, but other customers as well,” said Athar Zafar, vice president of sales and solutions for VitalTech. “Several of the robust features we have today are there because of Atrio’s valuable input. We are grateful for their partnership.”