Funded by a grant from the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, the Telehealth Intervention Program for Seniors (TIPS) uses non-invasive, FDA-approved medical devices to assess the health of more than 200 seniors at the Jewish Community Center of Scranton, Telespond's Abington Senior Center and United Neighborhood Centers’ Active Adult Community Centers in Carbondale, Jessup, South Scranton and West Scranton. Trained student technicians from the University of Scranton measure the seniors’ blood oxygen levels, blood pressure, pulse and weight at least twice weekly. The readings are transmitted to a nurse who reviews them remotely and will contact the senior directly at the first sign of concern.
In the last year, TIPS has recorded more than 4,500 vital sign readings - over 27 percent of which fell outside of a healthy range. These readings can help manage or prevent diseases such as hypertension, COPD and heart disease. Among the positive outcomes, hospitalization rates dropped six percent after participating in TIPS. With the average cost of a three-day hospital stay estimated at nearly $30,000, the reduction in hospitalizations seen during enrollment in TIPS has provided the community with estimated savings of more than $660,000.