October 29, 2014
HSHS Medical Group to Integrate Apple Watch into Patient Care
(Springfield, IL) – HSHS Medical Group has launched a comprehensive pilot study with plans to integrate the new Apple Watch and other virtual care technology into patient care.

Through its existing Advanced Medical Home program, a delivery model that provides comprehensive, coordinated care to high-risk patients, HSHS Medical Group employs nurse navigators who work directly with patients suffering from chronic diseases to monitor their health. Many of the health indicators currently measured in face-to-face office visits could be measured on a continuous basis using the Apple Watch, along with additional health data collected through Apple technology.

HSHS Medical Group has developed a task force, headed by Andrew Bland, MD, chief quality officer, to study the integration of technology into the medical home model prior to Apple’s release of the watch in early 2015.

“We want to be at the forefront of using the latest personal and virtual care technology to improve our patients’ health and quality of life,” Bland said. “We believe the Apple Watch is positioned to monitor important health metrics on a real-time basis and provide our health care team with crucial information to design individualized health and wellness plans for patients.”

The task force will establish protocols for use of technology and identify doctors and nurse navigators to participate as part of the pilot study prior to rollout.

“As part of our due diligence, we will require our health care team to test the technology personally in order to fine tune the integration of the Apple Watch into patient care,” Bland said. “While we are confident that the results will be greater connectivity and communication with providers, and as a result, improved outcomes, we are committed to thoroughly testing the process before we involve patients.”

Already the Advanced Medical Home model has reduced Emergency Department visits, hospital admissions and readmissions among patients suffering from congestive heart failure, diabetes, high blood pressure, COPD and asthma. Bland anticipates that integrating new technology will further enhance health navigation and improve providers’ ability to monitor and improve at-risk indicators.

Following a successful implementation of the Apple Watch in the Advanced Medical Home model, Bland says the watch could be incorporated in treatment of the medical group’s general patient population as well.

“HSHS Medical Group has a strong track record of embracing medical innovations that improve patient care. This is yet another example of our commitment to harnessing technology to advance the digital age of medicine,” said Melinda Clark, chief executive officer.
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