A Wilmington health startup that allows nurses to remotely monitor patients’ health data has recently launched and aims to reduce unnecessary hospital visits and help its clients age in place for longer.
Koerner Health Solutions (KHS) uses data gathered from wearable and portable devices, such as a smartwatch or a scale, letting nurses monitor data such as blood pressure, heart rate and blood oxygen levels 24 hours a day, said founder Christian Koerner.
“I've been a registered nurse for about 20 years,” Koerner said. “One thing I always found being a common denominator in the health care industry is a huge data gap. When patients are in the hospital, we know how they're doing. When patients are at their doctor's office or if they have a home health nurse, we know how they're doing. But the majority of time we have patients that we're actively caring for, we really have no idea how they’re doing in many ways. That's because there's a lack of measurable data that comes from patients.”
KHS was founded as a solution to address this data gap by utilizing metrics from wearable technologies, he said.
Through its VitalWatch 24 service, KHS provides remote health monitoring, in-home nurse visits, lab collection, monthly wellness checks and a 24-hour CallBell service where users can talk to a nurse anytime they have a concern or question.
“People pay a monthly subscription and they have myself getting their vital signs and basically monitoring them, remotely gathering data on them 24 hours a day,” Koerner said.
Monthly subscriptions start at $99 a month, according to the KHS website.
Currently, KHS has partnered with The Davis Community, a nursing home and assisted living facility in Wilmington, to provide VitalWatch 24 as an add-on to its home care service package.
In the future, Koerner hopes to provide KHS to other, larger health care providers in the area, such as New Hanover Regional Medical Center.
By having data on patients available at all times, nurses will be able to use technology to ensure patients are recovering well or address health concerns before they become a larger problem.
“Because everyone knows how expensive going to the ER and getting admitted to the hospital is, if we can help prevent a lot of those admissions, we can help improve the health of people who are trying to age at home,” Koerner said. “It's part of a greater concept to try to improve the health and wellness of people through increased interaction, increased education and being able to catch things early. We will be able to catch it and proactively reach out to our clients and see how they're doing before they turn it into a 911 call or before they turn into an unnecessary doctor's visit.”
So far, the startup has received good feedback from its users.
“One of the most satisfying feedback I've gotten is that there's so much peace of mind in knowing that mom or dad is able to call a nurse at any time,” Koerner said. “And that the nurse will help them get through any potential health problems that come along.”