HealthLine now available

The program known as HeartLine that succeeded in improving the lives of people with heart failure has recently been expanded to help patients with other chronic health problems.

Trinity Health announced last week that it has expanded its partnership with Pharos Innovations to offer a newly renamed Trinity HealthLine Tel-Assurance program that is now available to people with diabetes, pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and heart attack, as well as congestive heart failure.

Patients who enroll in HealthLine Tel-Assurance make a daily phone call or log in to a remote patient monitoring system to report how they’re feeling that day and whether they’re experiencing any symptoms. Their progress is then tracked by Trinity’s HealthLine case managers, and variances are shared with care providers so that adjustments can be made in medications or dietary intake. Patients also receive daily health tips that help them understand their condition so they can make better lifestyle decisions. The patient will be contacted if he or she forgets to check in. Patients can graduate out of the program, too, once their health goals are met.

There are two components with the HealthLine Tel-Assurance. One component is a 30-day program that transitions patients with any of the five conditions home from the hospital. The other component is a chronic program available to patients longer term to help them achieve their health goals.

The five diseases including diabetes, pneumonia, COPD, heart attack and congestive heart failure are the leading causes of hospital readmissions nationwide, said Pam Kolschefski, registered nurse and HealthLine Tel-Assurance case manager.

“The success we experienced with heart failure led us to expand the program to other chronic health conditions. HealthLine Tel-Assurance will give patients the tools they need to promote self-care so they can avoid being readmitted to the hospital,” she said. Patients can opt out of the program, Kolschefski added, but it’s for their benefit to be in it.

“Patients become more actively involved in their own care and gain a better understanding of the factors that influence it,” said Dr. Alex Talebdoost, medical director of Trinity HealthLine Tel-Assurance. “A one-year study showed that our original HealthLine program enjoyed a high patient satisfaction rate and was able to reduce hospital readmissions for enrolled heart failure patients. We knew the approach could work with any illness where a patient’s active involvement in their own care results in better outcomes.”

Kolschefski said they wanted to make the program convenient for patients so that they wouldn’t have to make a long-term commitment.

“People are more willing to do something short term,” she said.

The program was expanded from just congestive heart failure to other types of diseases because the medical staff wanted to focus on controlling readmission rates and give patients tools to manage their own care, Kolschefski said. It was also expanded because of the success of the HeartLine program, the one solely for patients with congestive heart failure.

People enrolled in the HealthLine Tel-Assurance program have responded favorably about it. Kolschefski said people appreciate having someone to call, are thankful for the knowledge they have learned and for being in the program. Some people need the accountability, too, she added. “You don’t have to manage the disease alone and you can take ownership of your health,” Kolschefski said.

Additionally, physicians like to refer patients to the HealthLine program because it decreases the doctor’s workload and helps the patient self-manage and maintain and improve quality of life, Kolschefski said.

“I’m very excited that we’ve expanded this to other conditions that should benefit the same way our heart failure patients have benefitted,” Talebdoost said.