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an emergency response system based around a pendant that clients can wear around their houses. When the client pushes a button on the pendant, it opens up a hands-free call with someone who has been trained to handle emergencies. The system also allows the person who picks up the phone to know who is calling, who his or her emergency contacts are, and so forth.
“When they press that pendant they’ve already told us what they want to happen,” Prough says. “We have a lot of information at our fingertips.”
To be sure, the basic idea is the same as one that was immortalized in LifeCall’s “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” ads of the late 1980s. But what really sets Critical Signal apart from other companies offering similar products is the scale and flexibility of its monitoring system, Prough says. In many cases, hospitals, patients or home healthcare companies using telehealth services have to purchase their equipment from a specific vendor and use its software. But Critical Signal is somewhat of a one-stop shop, with the ability to connect with a variety of platforms, Prough says.
In addition to the emergency response system, Critical Signal also offers products that aim to prevent health problems and emergencies. A medication management system, for instance, helps patients keep up with often complicated drug regimens by dispensing the right quantities of medication at the right time. And if the client doesn’t take his or her medication, Critical Signal staffers call to remind them.
“The number one reason for re-admission to the hospital is medication non-compliance,” Prough says.
Critical Signal is also attacking the problem of hospital re-admission is through a wireless vital-signs monitoring system. Often when patients are sent home from the hospital, they’re unsure of how to follow their doctor’s instructions and Prough says he hopes the technology will “take the fear out of patients going home.”
“(Doctors) rely on the patient to tell them how they feel,” he says. “Conditions get exacerbated because of a lack of information.”
Prough says he believes vital-signs monitoring is the “catalyst” for how the telehealth field is going to change in the future. With the ability to monitor vital signs wirelessly, patients and doctors will be able to communicate more effectively, Prough says, and patients will feel like “they have some control over what’s going on.” And though the industry has been around for quite some time, Prough says it’s exploded in the last five years and he expects to see a “real boom” in the next five to ten years, largely due to demographic trends.
“The Baby Boomer generation has now turned 65 and that generation is going to want to stay at home,” he says.
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