Wenatchee Valley Medical Center’s Health Buddy Program was recently awarded a gold medal in the “healthcare consumer empowerment and protection” category from the Utilization Review Accreditation Commission (URAC), a leading independent healthcare quality accrediting organization. WVMC and Bosch Healthcare were presented with the award during the URAC 11th Annual Quality Summit in Chicago, Illinois.
“Wenatchee Valley Medical Center is proud to be recognized by URAC for our commitment to helping patients live healthier, happier and longer lives,” said Dr. David Weber, CEO and chairman of the board at Wenatchee Valley Medical Center. “The use of technology, like Bosch Healthcare’s Health Buddy System, to support our physicians and nurses in caring for these elders demonstrates our focus on collaborative innovation to improve the lives of the people we serve and the health of our communities."
Health Buddy is a personalized health-monitoring system (also known as telehealth) provided by Robert Bosch Healthcare that helps Medicare patients with severe chronic illness improve their health. Patients use a Health Buddy appliance at their homes to learn about their conditions, answer questions and provide details on their vital signs. Care managers at WVMC remotely review their patients’ responses and use that information to determine who needs extra or urgent care. Patients have reported that Health Buddy helps them better understand their diseases and take better care of themselves.
At Wenatchee Valley Medical Center, the driving force behind Health Buddy is the team of Peter Rutherford, M.D. and Lori Smet, R.N. “Dr. Rutherford is our physician champion and one of the reasons we have been successful,” said Lori. “He wears a lot of hats, including contract negotiations with the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services, presenting the program to groups of doctors, quality assurance, writing the algorithms and more.”
“The team at Wenatchee Valley Medical Center is at the forefront of efforts to incorporate telehealth into its system of care,” said Derek Newell, president of Robert Bosch Healthcare. “Bosch Healthcare is committed to improving the quality of personal healthcare through telehealth, and we are proud to have partnered with the healthcare professionals in Wenatchee to bring this needed technology to their patients.”
URAC’s 2010 Best Practices Awards in Healthcare Consumer Empowerment and Protection recognizes those healthcare organizations that are actively pursuing practices to advance consumer empowerment and protection in an exceptional, measurable and reproducible way. Entries were judged by a distinguished panel, which included the best and most widely recognized experts in program evaluation, care coordination, health information technology, employer and purchaser decision making, and patient safety. To learn more about URAC’s 2010 Best Practices Awards in Healthcare Consumer Empowerment and Protection, visit www.urac.org.