SAN DIEGO, NASHVILLE, Tenn. and OMAHA, Neb., Dec. 12, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- A five-year study to explore new technologies that automate patient care outside of hospitals and doctors' offices was announced today by the Gary and Mary West Health Institute (WHI), Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) and West Corporation. The goal of the research, which will begin in the first half of 2014, is to identify ways technology can provide real-time feedback and guidance to patients and to alert care coordination teams before health issues escalate.
Most of the hospitals and doctors' offices in America are not able to actively and consistently manage patients once they leave a medical setting. This can result in high hospital readmissions, unnecessary emergency room visits and uncontrolled chronic illness. As an example, it is estimated that nearly one out of every five patients is readmitted to the hospital within 30 days. By targeting preventable readmissions, $25 billion could be saved annually, according to the New England Health Institute.
"So many patients with chronic illnesses like diabetes and hypertension unnecessarily cycle through emergency rooms and hospital beds, which are the most expensive places to receive care," said Nicholas J. Valeriani, chief executive officer of WHI. "Through this collaboration, we are seeking to create an automated system of care coordination so providers can intervene before medical problems escalate. This will benefit both patients and the health care system by avoiding medical interventions, costly admissions and readmissions."
"Health care lags behind other service industries that use customer-friendly smart technologies," said Jeffrey R. Balser, vice chancellor for Health Affairs at VUMC. "By leveraging the strengths of our three organizations, we hope to evaluate new ways to connect patients and clinicians to the right resources that meet the medical need in real-time."
As part of the agreement, the organizations will translate medical treatment guidelines into automated clinical and operational workflows and study their effect on the cost of care, caregiver capacity and the quality of health care outcomes. This integrated system of care has the potential to enhance the relationship between doctors and patients as the patient can be followed more closely.
"Every segment in health care – payers, health systems, physicians or pharmaceutical companies – recognizes that the health care process must be streamlined and expedited in a way that is patient-friendly, similar to the way consumers easily buy books online from Amazon," said Tom Barker, chief executive officer of West Corporation. "Our objective is to facilitate communications around patients, care coordinators and health care providers by leveraging valuable content, personalization, speed, privacy and scalability. We at West Corporation are very excited about the collaboration with Vanderbilt and the West Health Institute."
During the collaboration, WHI will share its innovative research on the automation of workflows and communications to extend and enhance the beneficial impact of care coordination models to a broader population. VUMC will make available the relevant portions of its existing information technology infrastructure and content and its health services research expertise. West Corporation was selected by VUMC to participate in the project because of its expertise in designing and managing communications and collaboration services that enhance the patient experience.
About West Health Institute
The Gary and Mary West Health Institute is an independent, non-profit 501(c) (3) medical research organization whose mission is to lower health care costs by researching innovative patient-centered solutions that deliver the right care at the right place at the right time. This is accomplished by conducting innovative medical research, educating key stakeholders and advocating on behalf of patients. Solely funded by pioneering philanthropists Gary and Mary West, the Institute is part of West Health, an initiative combining four separate organizations – the Gary and Mary West Health Institute, the Gary and Mary West Health Policy Center, the Gary and Mary West Health Investment Fund and the West Health Incubator. The Institute is located in San Diego, California. For more information, find us at www.westhealth.org and follow us @westhealth.
About Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Vanderbilt University Medical Center is home to Vanderbilt University Hospital, The Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt, the Vanderbilt Psychiatric Hospital and the Vanderbilt Stallworth Rehabilitation Hospital. These hospitals experienced more than 54,000 inpatient admissions during fiscal year 2013. Vanderbilt's adult and pediatric outpatient clinics treated 1.8 million patients during this same period. VUMC is also home to the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing, with both schools currently ranked among the nation's top 20 by U.S. News & World Report's Best Graduate Schools guide. Vanderbilt University School of Medicine's biomedical research program has earned its place among the nation's top academic medical centers in terms of public and private research funding, receiving nearly $460 million in total funding during the current fiscal year. Fulfilling its mission of service to the region as a nonprofit academic medical center, VUMC provided more than $477.4 million in uncompensated care during fiscal year 2013. Vanderbilt University Hospital and the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt were recognized again this year by U.S. News & World Report's Best Hospitals rankings as being among the nation's best with 5 specialty programs ranked among the top 10 in their respective areas. For more information about Vanderbilt University Medical Center, see www.mc.vanderbilt.edu
About West Corporation
West Corporation (Nasdaq: WSTC) is a leading provider of technology-driven communication services. West offers its clients a broad range of communications and network infrastructure solutions that help them manage or support critical communications. West's customer contact solutions and conferencing services are designed to improve its clients' cost structure and provide reliable, high-quality services. West also provides mission-critical services, such as public safety and emergency communications.
Founded in 1986 and headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska, West serves Fortune 1000 companies and other clients in a variety of industries, including telecommunications, retail, financial services, public safety, technology and healthcare. West has sales and operations in the United States, Canada, Europe, the Middle East, Asia Pacific and Latin America. For more information on West Corporation, please call 1-800-841-9000 or visit www.west.com.
SOURCE Gary and Mary West Health Institute; Vanderbilt University Medical Center; West Corporation