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Could Better Post-Acute-Care Communication Impact Medtech?

A real-time platform that supports collaboration between acute-care and post-acute-care teams could allow users to monitor medical device procedure outcomes.

Image courtesy of Olio

Surgeons often struggle to follow up on patients after procedures, given the healthcare handovers that usually occur from hospitals to skilled nursing facilities, rehabilitation centers, or home health providers.

Ben Forrest, who spent the last 5 years at Stryker working with surgeon customers, is well aware of such challenges. “Surgeons are discharging multiple patients to multiple post-acute-care companies and entities,” he told MD+DI. “There is very little now currently in place for collaboration between the acute team and the post-acute team. Hospitals have had to build their own solutions and infrastructure for follow up.”

Forrest decided to step up with his own solution. He developed and founded Olio, a real-time communication platform that digitally connects hospital and physician teams with post-acute providers around the patient's episode type. “Working in the device world, we saw that surgeons want to do what they do,” he said. “Right now, physicians don’t have these [communication] tools. Olio relieves the burden on hospitals of having to do this themselves. The digital collaboration allows surgeons and others from the acute team to see a patient’s progress as well as how much care they have been given after leaving the hospital.” There’s also an opportunity for patients to receive more coordinated care, improving clinical outcomes, the company reports.

With such transparency into post-acute care, there may be more opportunities for clarity on medical device procedure outcomes. “We can look at each episode and know whether there is a device involved. We can isolate [data] and allow for a greater sense of awareness before a problem arises. If a patient can’t do therapy, maybe there is an issue with the device or something else? We give acute care teams access to how a patient is performing,” Forrest said.

For instance, “after a surgeon implants a total knee replacement, if the patient cannot bend the knee 90 degrees as expected, it may not be related to the surgery but instead to post care or medications. Before Olio, there wasn’t a uniform way to get such feedback on patients,” he explained.

Healthcare community feedback has been positive. "The primary goal for every physician is getting the best clinical outcome for each patient," stated R. Michael Meneghini, MD, director, Indiana University Health Hip and Knee Center, in a news release provided by Olio. "Patients benefit from greater collaboration and communication between the acute and post-acute care teams after a hospitalization or procedure. Olio enables this communication with a truly unique and unmatched technology platform, giving the care teams the ability to make informed decisions that provide the best care for patients."

"We're committed to restoring our patients to their highest potential through kind, compassionate medical care," added Philip Heer, regional director of operations TLC Management Inc., in the statement "We are utilizing Olio to enable greater collaboration between our care team and our patients' acute care teams. Our commitment to our patients' health outcomes led us to use the Olio platform, and we're thrilled with the impact it's having."

Olio may also help medical device manufacturers looking to create value for surgeon customers. “Olio can bring goodwill and value to surgeons to help solve their problems,” said Forrest. “If I were a chief medical officer at a medical device company and could find a way to nip a problem in the bud before it happens, I would want to do that. I would also like to be able to document device successes.”

Forrest believes that Olio offers a timely solution, giving the aging population. “Through 2030, there are 11,000 patients aging into Medicare every single day. Providers need to collaborate to manage their care,” he said.

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