A way to reduce serious chronic illness while at the same time potentially reducing the burden on ERs for non-emergency visits (two parts of the Perfect Storm recipe that seems to roil within most hospitals’ receivables departments): mobile health programs.
Children’s Health Fund (brainchild of your friend and mine, Paul Simon) has partnered with the Verizon Foundation in a mobile health program for underserved and disadvantaged communities.
Thanks to a $530,000 and access to innovative technology through Verizon Enterprise Solutions, Children’s Health Fund will be able to launch six mobile health pilot initiatives across the United States.
“At Children’s Health Fund, we have always understood that technology has an essential role to play in increasing both access to health care as well as quality of care,” said Karen Redlener, Executive Director of Children’s Health Fund. “This investment by the Verizon Foundation in our 25th anniversary year leads us into the next generation of mobile health care, and will provide models for others who want to use mobile health technology to improve quality of care for diverse patient populations.”
The pilot initiatives in Dallas, Detroit, New York, Phoenix, San Francisco, and South Florida explore how telehealth and social media can increase access to doctors, improve the management of chronic illnesses, and improve patient health education. In South Florida, the Verizon Foundation grant will use telehealth technology to remotely connect children on the mobile clinic to medical specialists. In New York City, the grant will support the integration of mobile electronic health records into an academic medical center, providing seamless and comprehensive care. In Dallas, Detroit, Phoenix, and San Francisco, the pilots will test text messaging solutions to improve continuity of care, appointment follow-up, and health education for patient self-care.
The benefit to hospitals? Controlling the number of parents who rely on emergency rooms for point-of-service care. Illnesses that normally would force parents to the ER with their child can be either seen at a mobile clinic for a fraction of the cost to the hospital or, best case: managed before it even gets to be a problem.
“We are very excited about our partnership,” said Rose Stuckey Kirk, president of the Verizon Foundation. “Through our collaborative health technology programs, Verizon will help make the connections that will enable Children’s Health Fund to develop the new and improved care delivery models of the future.”