The Atlanta-based health system is finding that a remote patient monitoring program involves a lot more than collecting and using data, and that relationships play a role in seeing success.

Hospitals and health systems are jumping onto the remote patient monitoring bandwagon these days to boost care management. At the Wellstar Health System, administrators are looking beyond the clinical benefits of RPM and focusing on partnerships.

“We keep the patient at the center,” says Sally Eckford, assistant vice president of virtual health at the Atlanta-based health system. “We always try to keep them in the middle of every decision we make. For us, RPM gives us a chance to create a new relationship.”

Wellstar launched its first telehealth program in 2015, with a telestroke platform. The health system has gradually expanded its virtual care palette since then, and saw an opportunity to launch RPM within the home health space for patients with congestive heart failure.

The benefits were quickly recognized. Patients were sent home with devices and connected with their care providers back at the hospital within 48 hours, far better than the typical two weeks it took to schedule a home health visit. And with continuous monitoring and access to care at any time, hospital readmissions dropped as well.

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