The new 21st century house call

Sanjena Sathian:

Keeping track of health measurements at home is pretty simple: Step onto a scale in the bathroom, take a glucose measurement on the way out the door, or strap on a blood pressure cuff while watching television.

Now, doctors increasingly want access to those at-home measurements in an effort to keep patients healthier and reduce health care costs.

Boston’s Partners HealthCare last month launched a system that allows patients to upload information from their medical devices, often wirelessly, directly into their electronic records in doctors’ offices. Patients can use glucometers, blood pressure cuffs, bathroom scales, and pulse oximeters (which measure blood oxygen levels) at home, to take regular measurements and send them to their doctors.

Partners is among the first health care systems to integrate such at-home devices into the electronic health record, said Dr. John Halamka, chief information officer at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, who is not involved with the Partners technology.