By Brian Carter, SVP, Product
New headlines appear every day telling us remote monitoring is the salve for the rash of rising costs in healthcare. “Remote Monitoring could save more than $8,000 annually per patient, study finds,” says one headline (1). “[Remote Patient Monitoring] Boosts Medicaid Patient Care,” says another (2). When coupled with new healthcare reimbursement models that reward performance over fee-for-service, in addition to the explosion in available technologies, these outcomes should mean that every health system has adopted wide-scale remote patient monitoring (RPM) strategies, right? Not so much. In our conversations with health systems, there are three key aspects that have historically limited their ability to adopt and operationalize RPM in their organizations.
First, the traditional systems used by healthcare organizations are not designed to easily support RPM. Electronic health records (EHRs) are inherently designed to support the delivery of episodic care. Debate and confusion over whether to, and how to, include RPM data in the legal medical record abounds. If the decision is made to include RPM data in the EHR, some of the most common stumbling blocks include deciding what episode or encounter to attach the data to, which provider is responsible for “signing” those results, and whether they need to be reviewed before inclusion.
Once decisions have been made on how to integrate third-party RPM data into the EHR, leaders must next decide to which device manufactures to connect — assuming the EHR vendor allows custom development to ingest external data. A typical device integration can take weeks or months for an experienced software developer to code and test, which means that organizations need to be very thoughtful about which device types and manufacturers to focus on. Developing an integration with a device that won’t be well-adopted, isn’t accurate, or has unstable or unreliable interfaces are all risks. An error in this decision-making process can lead to rework or starting over with new devices, and the overall expense of unique integrations requires managing to a fairly limited list.
Assuming that an interface has been developed, and the organization has decided where and how to store the information in their EHR, the question of workflow still must be addressed. Frequent questions we hear include, “how will these data points be managed?” “Who will review them?” “Are there systems available to interpret this data and raise alerts only on data that need reviewing?” “How can I distinguish between RPM data points and clinically-gathered data points?” “How will we manage this firehose of information?”
If the questions and challenges I’ve covered here sound familiar, you’ll want to stay tuned for my next blog post which will address key strategies to make your RPM program successful, including implementing a utility platform that easily connects with a broad array of apps and devices, abstracting the interpretation and escalation of RPM data away from the EHR, and a seamless way to lay these data points and insights into the core workflows your providers and care managers are using today.
Learn more about Validic Impact, the new lightweight remote monitoring platform making remote care within existing EHRs possible.
What challenges has your organization faced in defining and implementing an RPM strategy? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to share your experiences.
This is the first blog in a two-part series. Stay tuned for part two shortly.