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Virtual Medicine Enables Continuous Care for Chronic Illness and Remote Access

Next-gen infrastructure paves the way for digital transformation

Challenge

People diagnosed with chronic illnesses often need care that extends well beyond a visit to the doctor or hospital. A large Midwestern Healthcare System was seeing a high rate of re-admission for patients with chronic health conditions. Patients were being sent home after hospital visits with no connection to their doctors or other medical support.

They knew this was not only a detriment to their patients’ health, but also that repeated hospital visits created unsustainable costs for both the patients and the hospitals themselves. To extend care beyond the walls of the hospital, the Healthcare System came up with an unprecedented plan to use technology to bring care to patients remotely and continuously.

The Health System approached WWT for help in piloting this transformation.

Solution

Achieving their vision of delivering care in a new way would require a full-scale technology overhaul. To begin with, the Healthcare System would need a new state-of-the-art data center with the power to store and process the massive amounts of patient data necessary to support patient-facing care portals.

WWT helped the customer begin the needed transformation by collaborating to build a $60 million in-house data center — unrivaled in the healthcare sector. In addition to providing infrastructure guidance and support, we helped the customer transition to virtualized environments that would make maintenance and future improvements easier.

To truly execute on their vision, we not only advised and supported initial data center infrastructure pilot design and requirements, but we continue to support evolving requirements as the project moves forward. For example, we're working with the customer to create a true end-to-end patient experience underpinned by continuing innovation that revolutionizes how care is provided to patients.

The main features in this change include in-home monitoring, healthcare portals and new data models for customized care. Overlaying these features is an integration platform that leverages the Internet of Things (IoT) to create alerts for physicians based on data collected from sensors in hospitals, remote clinics and patients’ homes.

Conclusion

As a result of these initial projects, the Healthcare System’s virtual care group is capable of delivering continuous care to even its most remote clients. Using the new analytics and monitoring, remote patients who once required expensive and dangerous emergency evacuations or hospitalizations can get the care they need before their health situations become dire.

Our virtual care pilot program has already reduced the need for certain types of interventions by more than 70 percent. The customer now has a much better idea regarding when patients might need support before a trip to the ER. By reducing the number of in-hospital stays and improving the tools home caretakers need to keep loved ones healthy, the customer has introduced an entirely new quality of care to their patients.

As our partnership evolves, the Healthcare System and WWT will continue to build upon the infrastructure we’ve already set in place. Our goal is to build additional apps and platforms that will transform the healthcare technology landscape and — most importantly — improve the healthcare experience and level of care for patients, wherever they live.