“VNA now reports that patients that have a video consultation with a wound care specialist have a 30-day hospital readmission rate of just 10.4% on average.”
Visiting Nurse Association (VNA) Health Group, which has served vulnerable populations such as the elderly, those with disabling and chronic illnesses, and people facing the end of life in and around the New Jersey area for more than 100 years, needed to better equip its team of 659 field nurses to more effectively treat wound care patients. The majority of VNA’s patients are elderly with wounds related to peripheral vascular disease, diabetes, venous insufficiency, or surgery. Wounds that are not treated properly can become infected or lead to sepsis, and in extreme cases, patients can die from wound infections.
Before using Bluestream, if a VNA field clinician arrived at a patient’s home and encountered an issue with a wound that they weren’t sure how to handle, they would have to call or email a wound care specialist for an assessment, and in some cases, take a photo of the wound and email it to the specialist. This took a lot of time, was not easy to schedule, and specialists weren’t always available when field nurses needed them. When an expert opinion was not available, field nurses had to err on the side of caution and call an ambulance for a patient, which often led to costly and inconvenient hospital readmission.
VNA decided to start using Bluestream’s on-demand virtual care platform. They wanted a solution that could deploy quickly to improve treatment for wound care patients, and one that could also scale to solve other problems. By using Bluestream, VNA’s field nurses now had quick video access to wound care specialists, could request an emergency medicine consultation with a smartphone or tablet, and could always provide the real-time and accurate care patients needed.
VNA field nurses are able to provide on-demand wound care support and capture images at the start of care to better chart a patient’s progress and lower the risk of wounds becoming infected. Wound care specialists can view a patient’s environment and facial expressions to better assess the situation. VNA now reports that patients that have a video consultation with a wound care specialist have a 30-day hospital readmission rate of just 10.4% on average. The estimated implicit national average for hospital readmissions is 14% according to a 2019 study by the Mayo Clinic.
Bluestream also saves time for field clinicians and allows them to see more patients each day. VNA field nurses facilitated around 2,244 video sessions between patients and wound care specialists last year. The average wait time to connect with a specialist is 13.2 seconds and video consultations last an average of 5.3 minutes. In addition to improving the quality of life for patients, field nurses report that many patients claim to feel more of a personal connection by being able to view a specialist through a video consultation as opposed to an audio-only phone call.