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Navicent Health Partners with SynsorMed for Benefit of COPD Patients

Mobile App Ensures Those with COPD Remain Healthy, Avoid Hospital Readmission

Atrium Health Navicent and SynsorMed are pleased to announce an innovative approach to ensuring Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) patients remain healthy and able to lead full lives without the threat of hospitalization due to their chronic disease. By utilizing a mobile app that connects COPD patients with care coordinators at Atrium Health Navicent, the partners are reducing hospital readmission rates among COPD patients while addressing healthcare disparities. The success of this program is attributed to close collaborative partnership among SynsorMed; Healthy Communities, Atrium Health Navicent; Respiratory Services, Atrium Health Navicent; and Center for Disruption and Innovation, Atrium Health Navicent, with the support of Navicent Health Foundation.

Since 2014, Atrium Health Navicent - recipient of the American Hospital Association's 2018 Equity of Care Award - has actively sought innovative ways to reduce hospital readmissions among COPD patients, particularly addressing the disparity among African-American males, who were at a higher risk for readmission due to COPD than Caucasian males or females of both ethnicities. An interdisciplinary team of Atrium Health Navicent care providers, along with community partners, have been able to successfully reduce readmissions while resolving the disparity. The health system continues efforts to ensure the minimization of COPD readmissions while maintaining health equity among the patient population. SynsorMed provides a digital solution that not only allows COPD patients, even those among the most vulnerable populations, to take charge of their care, but also allows care coordinators to connect with patients and intervene before emergency room visits and hospital admissions become necessary.

"Atrium Health Navicent has made tremendous strides in addressing the healthcare disparities found among COPD patients. We want to ensure we continue to manage that disparity and minimize hospital readmission rates for COPD patients. By partnering with SynsorMed, we will sustain success and enhance in-home care for this patient population," said Rodney Cooper, Assistant Vice President of Respiratory Services for Atrium Health Navicent.

Through a six-month feasibility trial conducted with a cohort of 20 Atrium Health Navicent COPD patients have utilized SynsorMed's mobile app, available for Google and iOS. Patients and caregivers have worked together to reduce the 30-day readmission rate among this cohort. Patients in the cohort have significantly reduced smoking rates, have seen significant reductions in COPD symptoms such as chest tightness and wheezing.

"SynsorMed allows Atrium Health Navicent care coordinators and COPD patients to work together as a team to address this chronic condition. A daily survey allows the patient to take charge of their own care. Care coordinators access survey responses, and reach out to the patient to address any barriers to care. This isn't just a digital tool - the patients realize they have a care team reviewing their responses, people who care about their wellbeing who will work with them to manage their condition," said Theo Harvey, cofounder and CEO of SynsorMed.

The SynsorMed app sends participating COPD patients a daily alert to remind them to complete their daily survey. The survey prompts responses to questions including the following:

Were you active today?

Did you feel like smoking today?

Is there tightness in your chest today?

Were you wheezing today?

Did you use your daily inhaler?

SynsorMed automatically notifies the patient's Atrium Health Navicent care coordinator of any red flags, and the care coordinator will reach out to the patient to address any issues before an emergency room visit or hospital readmission becomes necessary. In addition to the daily survey, the app also provides daily medication alerts and an educational component, reinforcing education the patient received while in hospital. Patients are able to contact their care coordinators directly through the app if they have a concern that needs to be addressed.

"The benefit of the SynsorMed app is that it engages the patient to be a part of their own care. The personalized follow up from a care coordinator connects technology with a human touch, showing that we do care, that we are concerned about the patient's wellbeing. Technology is the tool that provides the human connection, keeping the patient motivated to manage their own health. We are already noting changes in patient behavior to ensure reduction in disparities." said Carol Babcock, Director of Healthy Communities, Atrium Health Navicent.

SynsorMed is a startup incubated at Atrium Health Navicent's Center for Disruption and Innovation, a division dedicated to integrating innovative startup companies into the health system and the healthcare industry. The HIPPA-compliant telehealth-enabled patient monitoring solution may be integrated into electronic medical records (EMRs). An easy-to-use format makes it an ideal solution for multiple patient populations, including the elderly. While benefitting patient wellness, the use of SynsorMed to reduce readmissions is also beneficial to hospitals and health systems who utilize this tool. COPD readmissions may cost a hospital $10,000 per patient, per year with an average reduction of $500,000 in reimbursements annually due to COPD readmissions.

"The piloting of SynsorMed at Atrium Health Navicent has demonstrated what is possible when you combine improved processes with new innovative technologies - the ability to impact the health of individuals in positive ways and ensure patients remain well and do not need to be readmitted. If we can address potential issues in the home, it's a win for the patient and their loved ones, and it's a win for Atrium Health Navicent as we continue to seek ways to reduce readmissions and improve overall health and wellbeing throughout the communities we serve," said Christopher Cornue, Chief Strategy Officer and Chief Innovation Officer for Atrium Health Navicent.

COPD is a chronic lung disease that obstructs air flow from the lungs. Symptoms include difficulty breathing, chronic cough, mucus production, chest tightness and wheezing. Patients with COPD are at increased risk of developing respiratory infections, lung cancer, high blood pressure and heart disease. With properly managed care, COPD patients are able to control their symptoms and improve their quality of life, while reducing their risk of additional health conditions. Approximately 24 million Americans are affected by COPD.

About Atrium Health Navicent

Atrium Health Navicent was incorporated on November 17, 1994, as a nonprofit corporation whose primary purpose is to coordinate The Medical Center, Navicent Health and other affiliated entities in their mission of providing a comprehensive continuum of high quality, reasonably priced healthcare services to the region. Atrium Health Navicent has 970 beds for medical, surgical, rehabilitation and hospice purposes. The health system includes The Medical Center, Navicent Health, a nationally recognized tertiary teaching hospital; Atrium Health Navicent Beverly Knight Olson Children's Hospital, the region's only dedicated pediatric hospital; Atrium Health Navicent Baldwin and Medical Center of Peach County, Atrium Health Navicent, both rural hospitals; Rehabilitation Hospital, Atrium Health Navicent, the region's oldest and most experienced rehabilitation provider; Pine Pointe, Atrium Health Navicent, which provides palliative and hospice care in homes and in its facility; Carlyle Place, Atrium Health Navicent, the area's first continuing care retirement community; Navicent Health Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Atrium Health Navicent; as well as diagnostic and home care services. For more information, please visit www.navicenthealth.org.


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