NASA Inspired Remote Care: The Driving Force Behind Modern Care Management

Added February 18, 2019

In the late 1960s, modern telemedicine technology in the form of closed-circuit television was born within the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), with the U.S. Department of Public Health, and the Nebraska Psychology Institute, according to a paper written by researchers from Saint Louis and Bentley Universities. [1]

NASA sought to understand whether spaceflight would have any physiological or psychological effects on the human body, the focus being on the limitations of the human body relating to the pressures of space flight but also to study the potential for negative mental consequences resulting from prolonged time spent in space. This focused study forced the space agency to take a technologically based approach resulting in Telemedicine.

Today telemedicine remains an important priority for NASA with the focus expanded beyond the original directive of telemetry and remote communication to now encompass what the agency calls; “Smart medical systems” [1a] which are designed to not only communicate in real time with the sick astronauts—but also to provide physicians who are back on earth with the ability to remotely administer diagnosis and monitored treatment options.

This resulting integration between communication, treatment, and management through the means of modern remote technology represents an important medical direction affecting today’s care and communication with remote patients, not only in space but on the ground too. [2]

Healthcare practitioners and clinicians who integrate a telemedicine program within their organization have the potential to play an important role in the continuing contribution of ongoing medical information and improvements in the health strategies of patients.

By providing easily accessible patient services via remote care management technology through a cell phone or computer, patients can take greater responsibility in the management of their own health.

Telemedicine combined with telepsychiatry programs, steps in line with today’s shift of national focus from technology being exclusively used within a confined set of parameters (NASA) – to technology easily accessible and used as a tool to expand the net reach within chronic mental health and to merge healthcare services across high-risk patients and organizations. [3]

One of the major goals of CareAdopt’s technology-based, remote care management program is to provide the delivery of high-touch mental and chronic healthcare to geographically disadvantaged and medically underserved populations, thereby providing an improved quality of care while decreasing patient and organizational costs.

A key element of the program is the collaboration of behavioral and chronic health care managers and the involvement of psychiatric consultants in real-time, these become closely acquainted with the patient through the technology and become a trusted and supportive part of the patient team.

Prior to remote, patient care management technology, care managers were required to carry out exhaustive amounts of implementation groundwork including, solving issues relating to the patient location and finding suitable locations for treatment. Care managers spent a lot of time tying together multiple communications between specialists and sorting them through the logistics of engaging the practitioners and specialists in the intervention, also accommodating the collaboration to meet the practitioner’s treatment preferences. [4]

Within CareAdopt, our team of registered and mental health nurses works remotely through the technology in conjunction with various other care management teams to enroll patients in the program. They then monitor patient check-ins regarding their health progress, goals, assessments, ongoing symptoms, medication adherence, real-time vitals and much more.

Care managers equipped with the right technology platform are able to prevent crises by flagging patients with a predisposition for readmission and keep track of any treatment issues that may arise.

Coordination of patient treatment plans with psychiatric consultants is made even more effective through the means of CareAdopt as the technology accommodates open communication between care providers which is especially beneficial in the treatment and medication changes, so all are up-to-date on the patient. Telepsychiatry can also be easily accessed by patients who require additional assistance. [5]







5] CareAdopt webinar #3,12.18.2018 (slide: Using Care Managers) (Slide: Coordination with psychiatric consultants)