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Geisinger integrates telehealth into its orthopaedic care delivery and EMR

PHOTO PROVIDED Above, a man is shown using the Force Therapeutics mobile app.

DANVILLE – Geisinger has announced an expanded collaboration with Force Therapeutics, a web platform and mobile app that extends care outside the hospital. Geisinger and Force have partnered for three years in delivering prescriptive, episodic care to improve patient outcomes.

Geisinger surgeons and Force Therapeutics first teamed up in 2016 to deliver education, communication and monitoring in cohesive, custom care plans to patients undergoing hip and knee surgeries. Throughout their care, patients are provided with timely exercise and educational videos, prompts and forms to collect information on their progress, and a portal to communicate with their clinical teams. This remote supervision improves patient outcomes by encouraging patient compliance to prescribed treatment plans and supports Geisinger’s clinical teams with real-time data and alerts. Over 70% of eligible Geisinger patients have successfully completed the Force virtual care program, a total of 1,750 patients to date.

Geisinger is the first health system to merge the information collected in Force into the patient’s personal health record through a bilateral integration with Epic. This integration has supported the delivery of better care at more affordable costs by improving connectivity and information sharing between the patient and provider. Enrollment in the Force program since the Epic integration has become seamless and requires no additional effort or documentation by Geisinger’s administrative care teams.

Ultimately, this collaboration has resulted in significantly improved outcomes, including a 30% reduction in hospital length of stay, 56% reduction in skilled nursing facility utilization and an 18% reduction in readmissions.

“Force helps us keep in touch with patients in between the typical visits we would usually have in orthopaedics,” Michael Suk, M.D., chief physician officer for Geisinger and chair of the Geisinger Musculoskeletal Institute and the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. “Knowing what patients are doing between two- and six-week visits is incredibly important. We can monitor progress, continue to send encouragement and hopefully have a positive effect on their quality and outcomes.”

24/7 access to a prescribed care plan gives patients the ability to engage with their care on a new level, which impacts cost, quality and satisfaction.

“Patients are no longer a passive recipient of care; they’re an active participant. You see a decrease in cost and increase in quality because they’re more involved,” said James Murphy, M.D., a board-certified and fellowship-trained adult reconstruction specialist at Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center (GWV) in Wilkes-Barre.

A study done in collaboration with Force indicated that patients living farthest from their hospital showed higher levels of engagement with the platform compared to those living closer to their hospital. These findings suggest that remote patients are particularly inclined to engage with digital platforms, indicating their value in addressing medical inaccessibility issues experienced by rural populations.

Force technology is prescribed at seven Geisinger hospitals across Pennsylvania, including: Geisinger Wyoming Valley, Geisinger Community Medical Center in Scranton, Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, Geisinger South Wilkes-Barre, Geisinger Shamokin, Geisinger Bloomsburg Hospital and Geisinger Jersey Shore – with plans to expand to Geisinger Lewistown and Geisinger Holy Spirit this month.

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