Aug 3, 2016
CHARLESTON, SC – Zeriscope, a mobile telemedicine platform, has empowered nurses at White Oak Manor, a skilled nursing facility (SNF) in North Charleston, SC, to prevent unnecessary hospital readmissions by providing 24/7 access to physicians. With Zeriscope™, nurses can stream their point-of-view from a mobile device in real-time, high-definition video, communicate with physicians, and share real-time physiologic data for patients.
In June, Zeriscope, a local start-up company, reached an agreement with White Oak Management (WOM) of Spartanburg to provide its mobile telemedicine platform to more than a dozen WOM skilled nursing facilities (SNFs).
“In addition to enhancing the capability for high-quality medical decisions when residents of the SNF experience problems, the ability to see, hear, listen to the heart and lungs, see the EKG, and interact with the staff and family is expected to reduce preventable admissions to the emergency department or hospital,” said Robert J. Adams, M.D., Zeriscope president and chief medical officer. Adams, a neurologist, is the South Carolina SmartState Endowed Chair in Stroke and director of the South Carolina Stroke Center of Economic Excellence at the Medical University of South Carolina. MUSC’s Foundation for Research Development (FRD) has a small equity stake in Zeriscope.
Zeriscope is an enterprise-grade, hands-free, mobile-first, multi-sensor SaaS (Software as a Service) platform that enables nurses at SNFs to communicate with off-site physicians and to stream their point-of-view from a mobile device in real-time, high-definition video, with advanced sensor streams such as Bluetooth stethoscope audio. WOM was quick to see the potential of such a mobile telemedicine platform to improve patient care and prevent unnecessary hospital readmissions. “When introduced to Zeriscope and its innovative approach to telemedicine, we instantly realized that the Zeriscope platform could be a game changer in lowering the rates of patient re-hospitalization and avoidable readmissions while maintaining White Oak’s overall star rating,” said John Barber, Chief Financial Officer of WOM.
Like hospitals before them, SNFs are looking to telemedicine to help them lower rates of readmission, but the costs associated with traditional point-to-point telemedicine may prove a barrier, as profit margins for SNFs can be very narrow. The answer could lie in mobile telemedicine, which carries a much smaller price tag than traditional point-to-point telemedicine.
“A point-to-point telemedicine system can cost tens of thousands of dollars and requires a lot of infrastructure,” said William Harley, Chief Executive Officer of Zeriscope. “Our system is much less expensive, making it a viable option for SNFs.”
Without telemedicine, the only recourse for nurses at SNFs is to verbally describe the patient’s condition over the telephone. Much is lost in the translation—the physician has no way of assessing the patient’s appearance and behavior and no way of checking real-time physiologic data. Because a comprehensive assessment is not possible, the physician often opts—out of an excess of caution—to transport the patient to the emergency department or hospital for further evaluation.
Zeriscope makes possible a much more comprehensive assessment of SNF patients by off-site physicians, enabling them to see the patients in high-definition real-time streaming video, communicate with SNF staff, and access real-time physiologic sensor data.
For example, at White Oak Manor, the Zeriscope platform enables patients experiencing a health concern to be seen by a physician any time of the day or night. Nurses use a mobile device—White Oak has opted for a tablet—to engage in a two-way audio/video consultation with a physician.
During the consultation, the nurse can use a high-definition camera tethered via Bluetooth to the mobile device to zoom in on an area of specific interest or zoom out to enable the physician to engage with more members of the health care team. In addition to allowing the physician to see and speak with the patient, Zeriscope can provide a wealth of physiologic feedback, including streaming stethoscope audio and EKG readings. Devices recording physiologic data can simply be plugged into or tethered via Bluetooth to the mobile device. Because Zeriscope is hands-free, the nurse is able to interact naturally with the patient and other health care providers, examine the patient as directed by the physician, and apply additional physiologic sensors as needed. Should the decision be made to transport, these data can be captured and sent with the patient.
Avoiding unnecessary hospital readmissions with mobile telemedicine not only makes good financial sense; it’s good medicine. SNF patients, who may be frail and face mobility challenges, are provided the best of medical care in a setting where they are comfortable without having to endure the stress of ambulance transport and the risk of fractures and infections.
Zeriscope is a leading mobile telemedicine platform provider of online and on-demand Health care delivery services that benefit patients, hospitals, physician practice groups, and accountable care organizations. Zeriscope’s cloud-based mobile telemedicine platform makes it possible for patients and medical professionals to collaborate seamlessly and securely via voice, video, private message, and mobile devices. Providers can also use the HIPAA-compliant system to collect and share clinical data from physiologic devices for real-time risk assessments, diagnosis, and treatment.
About MUSC Foundation for Research Development
FRD has served as MUSC's technology transfer office since 1998. During that period, FRD has filed patent applications on more than 400 technologies, resulting in over 150 US issued patents. Additionally, FRD has executed more than 150 licenses and spun out more than 50 startup companies. MUSC startups have had products approved by the FDA and acquired by publicly traded corporations while attracting substantial investment dollars into South Carolina. Innovations from MUSC, including medical devices, therapies, and software, are positively impacting health care worldwide. Please visit us online at Foundation for Research Development.
Founded in 1824 in Charleston, The Medical University of South Carolina is the oldest medical school in the South. Today, MUSC continues the tradition of excellence in education, research, and patient care. MUSC educates and trains more than 3,000 students and 700 residents in six colleges (Dental Medicine, Graduate Studies, Health Professions, Medicine, Nursing, and Pharmacy), and has nearly 14,000 employees, including approximately 1,500 faculty members. As the largest non-federal employer in Charleston, the university and its affiliates have collective annual budgets in excess of $2.4 billion, with an annual economic impact of more than $3.8 billion and annual research funding in excess of $250 million. MUSC operates a 700-bed medical center, which includes a nationally recognized Children's Hospital, the Ashley River Tower (cardiovascular, digestive disease, and surgical oncology), Hollings Cancer Center (a National Cancer Institute-designated center), Level I Trauma Center, Institute of Psychiatry, and the state’s only transplant center. In 2017, for the third consecutive year, U.S. News & World Report named MUSC Health the number one hospital in South Carolina. For more information on academic programs or clinical services, visit musc.edu. For more information on hospital patient services, visit MUSChealth.org.