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Virtual assistance launches for home care

February 24, 2015
by Richard R. Rogoski
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While home health agencies struggle with tightening budgets, the trend towards outcomes-based care and lower hospital readmissions requires that seniors have access to around-the-clock care.

Mundelein, Ill.-based Medline Industries Inc. may have found a solution by launching their SmartCare  24/7 personal care assistance program.

Using a concierge-style approach, SmartCare utilizes a patient monitoring system and nurse call button device like that found in a hospital or skilled nursing facility. By pushing a button on the hand-held device, the individual is automatically connected to a dedicated personal care assistant who can offer assistance ranging from speaking to a healthcare provider, providing transportation to appointments or just listening.

And while this may be a remote service, SmartCare personal care assistants—who are all certified social workers—respond as staff members of the contracted home health agency.

"Transitioning to home health care can be confusing and challenging. Often times, patients need that extra layer of support, knowing someone is ready to help schedule their doctor appointments, or answer questions about their care," said Mike Lee, president of the homecare sales division at Medline, in a press release. "This solutions-based program also demonstrates a new way of thinking when it comes to proving home health agency commitment to quality versus quantity."