Atrium Health Mobile Medicine

News | one year ago

Go Big AND Go Home

Stepping outside the hospital walls and into a patient’s home how mobile integrated health is changing the future of health care. 

Nearly 500 people from emergency management services (EMS) agencies and health care systems from around the country gathered in Charlotte, North Carolina, for a three-day Mobile Integrated Health (MIH) conference in mid-March. The unique conference allows for all of the different professionals who have a hand in patient carefrom a paramedic to a nurse to a pharmacistto be in one room to share ideas, best practices and future programs with an ultimate goal of improving overall patient care.

The National Association of Mobile Integrated Health (NAMIHP) conference spotlight shined brightly on Atrium Health, in part, as the conference host for the first of five annual gatherings slated for Charlotte, but more so for the work it continues to deliver in the mobile medicine space.

“We are so proud to be able to host this conference right here, in our backyard,” says Jonathan Collier, vice president of mobile medicine at Atrium Health.It’s a privilege to welcome colleagues from around the country and showcase everything the Queen City has to offer but, more importantly, it is an opportunity to demonstrate how Atrium Health Mobile Medicine continues to be a leader of mobile integrated health.”

Attendees were immersed in two days of breakout sessions, lunch-and-learns and networking sessions to grow their knowledge and expertise in all things related to MIH. Sessions covered a wide range of subjects, from “Driving Success through Diversity” to “Mental Health Assessment” in the field, topics designed to help educate and train MIH professionals. 

Uncharted Territory

During one leadership session, led by Colleen Hole, an Atrium Health vice president, discussions focused on the health system’s nationally renowned hospital at home program, over which Hole is the administrator. The program was stood up in a matter of days in March 2020, as the seriousness of COVID-19 began to unfold. MIH leaders at Atrium Health recognized how critical it was to have another option of care outside of the already full hospitals

We were finding our way through uncharted territory,” recalls Hole,and we have come so far. The work and lessons we learned during the pandemic laid the groundwork to keep Atrium Health’s hospital at home program successful and meaningful to our patients.”

Patients must meet certain criteria for the hospital at home program, which delivers hospital-level care at patients homes through the use of wearable monitoring technology, virtual visits with doctors and nurses and in-home visits from Atrium Health paramedics. Since its inception, the health system has treated patients for more than 150 different conditions, including COVID-19, COPD, asthma, diabetes and cardiac issues. The data collected thus far proves the program’s effectiveness in care delivery and is helping create better health outcomes for those enrolled in it.

“I know it works,” adds Hole. I know we can provide exceptional care and have better outcomes, not only because of what I see as the program administrator, but because my husband was one of the first patients. We experienced, firsthand, the benefits of being cared for in the comfort of our home.

Additional educational sessions explored other hospitals and EMS agencies mobile medicine programs. For example, a program in Boston aimed at treating low acuity patients in their home before they even reach the emergency room

“People are generally going to be scared of what they don’t know,” says Dr. Doug Clarke, with Medically Home, the company partnering with EMS in Boston on the emergency department program. “They’re going to say hey, I know I’m not going to get in trouble if we do this the same way we’ve always done it and the same way most other people do it.” 

But, Clarke says, that comfort-level is not a good enough reason to not think outside-the-box and try new things. 

Another of the 64 presenters at the conference representing Eagle County Ambulance, in Edwards, Colorado, described a program they support which pairs paramedics with behavioral health experts to reach the best possible outcome for the patient.

Collaboratively, we work together to figure out what the best patient-centric outcome is,” adds John Farris, a certified paramedic with Eagle County. “We have the pleasure of seeing these patients and getting them the right care at the right time and getting them to the right destination.”

Go Big AND Go Home

There is a saying in the MIH world – go big AND go home. It refers to thinking big, innovative ideas and changes that allow the patient to leave the hospital and recover at home, which studies have found leads to better patient outcomes. Although the need for bricks and mortar hospitals will remain for years to come, how, when and where health care is delivered continues to evolve. At Atrium Health, mobile integrated health is one of the paths forward to added value and better outcomes for our patients