RespirCare and HGE Health Expand Partnership to Make Same-Day Care Available to COPD Patients Nationwide

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The alliance combines HGE Health’s solution for remote management of COPD symptoms, with RespirCare’s walk-in clinics to facilitate same-day care for COPD patients, reducing hospital admissions and medical costs.

Dr. Mark Boomer left and Michael Markus, PhD, right RespirCare

Dr. Mark Boomer, left, founder of RespirCare has tapped the technology of HGE Health to remain in touch with pulmonary patients anywhere in the nation. Michael Markus, PhD, right, is CEO of HGE Health

"RespirCare and HGE Health share the belief that our upcoming expansion will bring to all COPD patients the improved health we have witnessed first-hand with our Tulsa patients since the beginning of our collaboration,” adds Dr. Mark Boomer, founder and CEO of RespirCare

HGE Health, a healthcare technology-enabled services company whose solutions empower physicians to better manage their COPD patient’s symptoms, joined forces nearly a year ago with RespirCare, an operator of respiratory specialty clinics, to give Tulsa’s COPD patients immediate access to in-person care at times when the attention is most needed. The patient-satisfaction scores and clinical outcomes have underscored that the partnership is addressing an unmet need, so the partnership between HGE Health and RespirCare is expanding to markets throughout the United States in 2020.

The partnership launched in Tulsa, Oklahoma, home to one of the highest rates of respiratory conditions in the U.S., where wait times for appointments to see a primary care physician are typically several weeks long. Understandably, patients experiencing severe symptoms who feel they are unable to wait for care often resort to visiting an Emergency Department at a local hospital.

To afford COPD patients the immediate, individualized care that only a dedicated pulmonologist can provide, while also combating the costs associated with Emergency Department visits, RespirCare opened a first-of-its-kind walk-in pulmonary clinic in Tulsa in May 2019.

HGE Health’s technology is a key component of RespirCare’s model. The platform identifies early changes in a patient’s respiratory symptoms and prompts clinical staff to initiate a medical response, often before patients themselves would have previously sought medical attention. As a result of the early clinical intervention, RespirCare is able to preemptively stabilize worsening symptom trends before an emergency department visit or hospital admission is required.

The collaboration between RespirCare and HGE Health has been incredibly successful in terms of patient care and cost savings. “Physicians, insurance providers, and most importantly the patients, have all provided positive feedback on the partnership between RespirCare and HGE Health,” said Michael J. Markus, PhD, CEO of HGE Health. “Patients receive prompt feedback to address their worsening respiratory symptoms, while the insurance companies minimize the substantial costs associated with an emergency department visit or inpatient hospital admission. Rural patients are also brought closer to healthcare systems, expertise, and resources located in larger metropolitan areas.”

“RespirCare is excited for the opportunity to offer cutting-edge, first-class medical care to all COPD patients,” adds Dr. Mark Boomer, founder and CEO of RespirCare. “Through our walk-in open access respiratory clinic and use of the HGE Health technology, we can treat patients at times when such treatments are most effective before symptoms reach a point warranting emergency care or inpatient hospitalization. RespirCare and HGE Health are healthcare innovators that share a common belief that our upcoming expansion will bring to all COPD patients the improved health we have witnessed first-hand with our Tulsa patients since the beginning of our collaboration.”

Immediate expansion plans will make HGE Health’s remote patient monitoring platform available to the millions of respiratory patients across Oklahoma and New Jersey, followed by rollouts in Arizona, Pennsylvania, and Texas. Reimbursement for the remote monitoring services is already available under Medicare. Many large insurance providers are already covering such services for their members, and self-insured employers are expected to follow.

Based in Fort Washington, Pennsylvania, HGE Health has built an international reputation in the field of COPD and pulmonary medicine, helping COPD, lung transplant and other respiratory patients and physicians control pulmonary issues. In existence for less than a year, RespirCare has already dramatically improved the quality, cost, and timing of health care for respiratory conditions in ways that will make RespirCare the standard of COPD clinical care.

A growing and devastating disease, COPD is the third leading cause of death in the U.S. An estimated 12.7 million American adults are diagnosed with the condition every year and an almost equal number are believed to be undiagnosed. Hospital discharges related to COPD typically exceed 700,000 in the U.S. alone. The costs of managing COPD in the U.S. have been estimated to be nearly $50 billion annually, including $29.5 billion in direct healthcare expenditures, $8 billion in indirect morbidity costs and $12.4 billion in indirect mortality costs.

The HGE digital platform and technology-enabled services, called HGE Care, allow pulmonary and primary care physicians to remotely care for patients anywhere in the nation, and help patients better understand and manage changes in their COPD symptoms. Thanks to a daily digital or telephonic interaction with their healthcare team, patients are engaged in their own symptom management, and log their symptoms on the HGE Care platform over 80% - 90% of the time. Patients enjoy peace of mind that on days they experience a change from their typical COPD symptoms, their own physician/care team provides same-day feedback. Thanks to this expanding partnership, soon patients nationwide will breathe easier, avoid ER and hospital admissions, and enjoy an improved quality of life, all while reducing overall healthcare costs for patients and health systems.

About HGE Health
Headquartered in Fort Washington, PA, HGE Health harnesses its deep experience in chronic disease management and digital health in pulmonary disease, telemedicine and mobile health to offer a clinical services platform that delivers better care faster at a much lower cost for patients, physicians, and payors. Built on clinical protocols developed and supported by 16 years of research, the company’s technology has compiled the longest-running and world’s largest longitudinal data set of COPD symptoms, interventions, and clinical management to help physicians provide care for a geographically and socio-economically diverse COPD and pulmonary patient population.

About RespirCare
Founded in Tulsa, OK, RespirCare is a novel clinic dedicated to treating acute and chronic respiratory conditions, from minor to the most severe. Remote symptom monitoring is offered to allow clinical interventions to be performed immediately, as symptoms begin to worsen. Treatment is available at RespirCare by appointment and as a walk-in clinic, which is open 7 days a week to ensure immediate care is available when patients need it most. A separate waiting room available for contagious patients and oxygen outlets throughout establishes a patient-centric waiting environment with patient wellbeing and comfort in mind. RespirCare offers regular and after-hours care for no more than the cost of a visit to your regular pulmonary specialist, avoiding the costs of an emergency department visit.

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Christopher Parks
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