Signature had not one, but two winners in McKnight’s recent ‘Excellence in Technology Awards.’
Not only was Signature Spirituality recognized for its use of the STracker technology to track chaplain interactions with nursing home residents, Signature HealthCARE of Fentress County, in Jamestown, Tenn., received the Silver Award in the High Tech/High Touch category for its work with Signature affiliate ReadyMD utilizing telehealth technology.
SHC of Fentress County was one of two sites – Erin, Tenn. was the other – where ReadyMD piloted its program, which gives nursing home residents access to psychiatric specialists and experts located at a remote site, a few miles or even hundreds of miles away.
“It is very rewarding, as a long-term care provider, to have the opportunity in providing telehealth services in a manner in which it improves quality of life for our elder,” said SHC of Fentress County Administrator/CEO Darian Goodman. “The easy-to-use platform has been an amazing experience for all elders, family and stakeholders alike.”
A psychiatrist or psychiatric nurse practitioner provides medication management services, and a psychologist or Licensed Clinical Social Worker will provide ‘talk’ therapy.
The goal, according to ReadyMD CEO Dave Duggins is to improve overall quality of care for nursing home residents, including reducing return trips to the hospital for those residents. To date, about 300 residents have been treated at SHC of Fentress via the telehealth platform since the program launched in May.
“Fentress Administrator Darian Goodman and his team deserve all the credit for this award,” Duggins said. “Both Darian and Barry Cotton, at SHC of Erin, understand how technology can be an asset to their facilities – they have embraced telehealth and have challenged their teams to do so as well. The result has been an overwhelmingly positive response from residents, their family members and staff.”
He added that, as the elderly population grows and an increasing number of baby boomers head toward retirement, the demand for physicians will only increase. As a result, telehealth technology will only be further integrated into the health care delivery process going forward, particularly in remote areas where fewer medical services are available.
Telehealth services and technology is being implemented at three more Signature HealthCARE facilities this month, with 18 additional facilities soon to follow.
“We’re just at the front end of it (telehealth utilization),” Duggins said. “Hats off to Signature for embracing this technology early. Now, they will be well-equipped to use telehealth for the betterment of their residents.”