IVR "Smart Technology" System for Home Hospice Symptom Management and Care Helps Both Patients with Cancer and Family Caregivers

A study by the University of Utah College of Nursing demonstrates that IVR based smart technology for symptom monitoring and coaching can increase comfort for patients in their final weeks of life while also helping improve the well-being of family caregivers.

Datatel Communications Inc. The University of Utah College of Nursing partnered with Datatel to develop and implement a telephone-based IVR home hospice symptom management to coach caregivers and monitor patients in their final weeks of life with the objective to increase comfort for patients and improve the well-being of family caregivers. 

In the study by the University of Utah College of Nursing of 319 hospice families across four different states, approximately half of the families were randomly assigned to receive the telephone-based IVR (interactive voice response) symptom care intervention, while the other half received the usual symptom reporting alone. Results revealed the symptom care intervention significantly decreased the severity of symptoms in patients than those whom only received the standard hospice care. Furthermore, this intervention improved the well-being of family caregivers and the number of days they experienced moderate to severe symptoms decreased by 44% as opposed to the usual family caregiver group. Benefits for both patients and caregivers were observed as early as the first day after using the IVR system and the trend continued through the rest of the hospice experience.

"Although this system is the initial prototype version, it clearly shows that using smart technology for symptom monitoring and coaching adds another layer of support during hospice care and provides additional comfort for patients at the end of life, while also helping improve the well-being of family caregivers."

Kathi Mooney, Lead study author, PhD, RN, Distinguished Professor of Nursing at University of Utah College of Nursing and Co-leader of the Cancer Control and Population Science Program at the Huntsman Cancer Institute in Salt Lake City, UT

The IVR system for symptom monitoring is programmed to have ‘conversations’ with family caregivers about their own wellbeing in addition to the symptoms their family members experienced in the past 24 hours. Composed of two parts, the first element of the system is automated alerts about the patient’s unrelieved symptoms which were reported to the family’s hospice nurse. The second component provides automated, customizable, real-time coaching for the caregiver depending on the symptoms reported. This coaching provides caregivers support to manage their own wellbeing and their family member’s end of life symptoms as well as explains what to discuss with their hospice nurse.

At the end of the caregiver’s call, electronic alert reports, which can be accessed through a mobile device, are sent to the hospice nurse – increasing the vital communication link between hospice nurses and caregivers.

As the wellbeing of family caregivers is closely affected by the symptoms of their family member, innovative IVR based smart technology to monitor both the patient’s and caregiver’s wellbeing is a powerful tool to enhance the usual home hospice care.

 About Datatel

Datatel is a leading provider of Secure IVR (Interactive Voice Response) Services on the Cloud. Datatel's IVR Services are employed by businesses, government and service providers to automate a wide range of caller interactions over the telephone, including: payments, voting, surveys, patient communications, and employee tracking applications among others.

Datatel’s IVR success comes from over 19 years of research, development and continuous improvement in delivering IVR service models that provide organizations with reliability, flexibility, and security. As a hosted solution, Datatel maintains all infrastructures, reducing expenses and ensuring rapid and worry-free implementation.

For additional information, please visit http://www.datatel-systems.com.

Media Contacts:

Julie Huang

800-831-6660 x 255


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