Health systems upping investments in remote patient monitoring

Smartphones and tablets are among the mobile technologies in focus, which can be combined with telehealth video conferencing and healthcare wearables, as well as the deployment of electronic health record-based patient portals.
By Nathan Eddy
11:03 AM
Health systems upping investments in remote patient monitoring

The vast majority of hospitals and health systems – 88 percent – have invested in or plan to invest in remote patient monitoring technologies as part of their transition to a value-based care model, a new report shows.

WHY IT MATTERS
The findings come from a Spyglass Consulting Group report derived from more than 100 interviews with clinical informatics and health IT thought leaders.

Survey respondents say RPM solutions will be used to help care managers monitor and manage high-risk patients with chronic conditions who are considered unstable and at-risk for hospital readmissions.

The Spyglass study also found nearly nine in 10 providers surveyed are in the process of developing, or have already begun development of engagement strategies to encourage patients, family members, and caregivers to take a proactive role in managing their chronic conditions.

A wide variety of RPM solutions enable risk-bearing organizations to remotely monitor and manage high-risk patients with chronic conditions including diabetes or hypertension to improve care quality and outcomes and help control healthcare costs.

Smartphones and tablets are among the mobile technologies in focus, which can be combined with telehealth video conferencing services and emerging healthcare wearables, as well as the deployment of electronic health record-based patient portals.

Healthcare providers are currently facing significant RPM deployment challenges due to limited budgets and resources that hamper efforts to expand care management programs.

The report also noted currently RPM tools and data are not well integrated with existing clinical information systems and workflow, and lack the tools to take advantage of CPT codes that provide reimbursement for RPM equipment and monitoring services.

THE LARGER TREND
Technology giants like Google are already forming partnerships with edge computing and artificial intelligence specialists to improve RPM capabilities and better connect hospitals with patients.

A June survey from connected healthcare solutions provider VivaLNK indicates patients would also be open to outfitting themselves with wearable devices if it resulted in fewer trips to visit the doctor.

Overall interest in wearables like a Fitbit or the Apple Watch for remote patient monitoring purposes was high, with more than half (55 percent) of respondents noting they would use such a device at home.

Meanwhile, an October survey from health IT software provider ResMed indicated online tools have helped patients improve their relationship with their primary care provider, and nearly half (47 percent) said they want improved options for communicating through online chat.

ON THE RECORD
"Hospitals and health systems are rapidly consolidating into larger integrated delivery networks and transitioning toward various at-risk payment and care delivery models," said Gregg Malkary, managing director of Spyglass Consulting Group, in a statement.

"They are formulating strategies and deploying foundational technologies and processes required to support population health management programs focused on chronic disease management," he added.

Nathan Eddy is a healthcare and technology freelancer based in Berlin.
Email the writer: nathaneddy@gmail.com
Twitter: @dropdeaded209

Healthcare IT News is a publication of HIMSS Media.