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How FreedomCare is using SMS to monitor recovering COVID-19 patients

FreedomCare is a New-York based home healthcare company. They are a contracted provider of CDPAP, a Medicaid-funded program that allows New Yorkers to hire their own personal caregivers: a daughter, son, relative, friend or previously hired aide.

Problem

As COVID-19 spread rapidly throughout the world, FreedomCare wanted to find a way to help doctors and hospital systems in their home state of New York City, one of the hardest hit areas of the pandemic.

The FreedomCare team learned of issues keeping recovering COVID-19 patients in the hospitals on oxygen concentrators and taking up hospital beds. The hospitals did not have resources to discharge the patients and continue calling them every few hours to check vitals. Even though the patients were healthy enough to recover at home, they remained in the hospital simply due to the lack of home healthcare monitoring resources.

Solution

Northwest University saw an SMS-Magic demo at a TargetX conference and knew a text messaging solution would help them get the engagement they wanted to develop with students. Another factor that helped them make the decision was SMS-Magic’s high rating on the Salesforce AppExchange.

Solution

Being experts in home healthcare, FreedomCare knew they could create a solution to help free up hospital beds. They worked with doctors to quickly create a remote physiological vitals monitoring program using SMS messaging with the SMS-Magic platform.

Patients can be discharged from the hospital and FreedomCare works with caregivers to monitor patients through SMS communication.

COVID-19 Remote Patient Monitoring Oxygen Therapy Program

The free program uses SMS surveys to monitor clinical signs, in the form of a home survey protocol. For example a text will ask, “Do you have shortness of breath?” or “What’s your pulse oximeter reading?”
Based on responses, patients and caregivers are taken down an SMS decision tree while the clinical nurses on staff triage the vitals that are coming back from the surveys. Nurses on staff are also immediately notified by email if a text response falls into an emergency situation.

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Automated Text Messaging

FreedomCare uses text automation capabilities and process builder flows as the core of the program. Once a patient is prescribed by a physician, an automated SMS campaign is triggered. Every couple of hours a patient receives a text message requesting their vitals. Then based on the responses, the decision tree matches and follows the protocol that is outlined. Finally, an automated text is sent out asking if they are feeling better and what the reading on their pulse oximeter is, closing the loop on the situation.

Results

The FreedomCare program has helped discharge over 20 patients from multiple hospitals and prevented the read mission of over a dozen patients. They’ve had a significant impact in the community in Queens, New York, where the hospital only has 100 ICU beds. Getting even a handful of beds back open is saving lives.

Having tested and proven the program, FreedomCare is expanding the program to more physicians and hospitals, opening up critical ICU beds for new patients.

Role of SMS in the changing landscape of healthcare

FreedomCare now plans to provide remote patient monitoring as a whole, as healthcare guidelines are changing. The company believes telehealth, including remote healthcare and remote patient monitoring are going to be in the new version of healthcare past the pandemic.

plan

FreedomCare planned to provide more virtual services, many using SMS capabilities, for patients in the future.

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