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Post-Acute Care Within the RPM Ecosystem

  • April 18, 2016|
  • 2 years ago

by Tom Foley

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Director, Global Health Solution Strategy

As remote patient monitoring (RPM) becomes more prevalent in modern care strategies, its growth begins to elicit the question: What does RPM mean for health organizations and patients? At the most basic level, RPM is the use of technology to advise and treat patients in alternative care settings, such as from home. In reality, RPM is more than just unmanned sensors—it’s an innovative way for a doctor’s reach to exceed the brick and mortar aspect of a care facility to improve outcomes, both for patients and associated health organizations.

Within the ecosystem of remote patient monitoring, the long-term focus has been on continuous care and relationship models for patients with chronic conditions, in addition to their disease management. However, as RPM progresses alongside standard care strategies, it’s important that the RPM models include value-based care coordination for the home health post-acute care patient.

RPM is a source of hope and alternative support for many patients, especially those who require more intensive medical care, such as senior citizens. Accompanied by RPM, more patients ages 65 and up can safely continue living noninstitutionalized lives, surpassing options such as in-house nursing and retirement communities. This use case of RPM can both help elderly patients live the way they want confidently and ease the financial burden of their medical care. According to a Frost & Sullivan report titled “US Remote Patient Monitoring Market: Is it Finally Ready to Make a Difference?,” “The goal of these services and devices is typically to restore and maintain maximal levels of comfort, function, and health for their users.”

As health organizations shift to value-based care models, they will be actively trying to avoid seeing patients more than once. Readmissions will soon jeopardize organizations’ ability to earn revenue, and thus organizations everywhere are working behind the scenes to mitigate readmittance and eliminate emergency room visits. Health, as a final result of care, is no longer an option—it’s a necessity for organizations to stay afloat.

RPM can help. After patients visit a hospital system and are discharged, oftentimes the journey to perfect health is far from over. Through remote monitoring, physicians have more of a chance for oversight and the ability to lead patients where they want to go, through a more hands-off approach. Plus, RPM can help providers overcome hurdles such as patient location, long wait times, intermittent information, and high costs.

While many organizations and families are becoming more interested in the pursuit of home care and post-acute care via remote patient monitoring, some have already pursued these opportunities, even beyond the treatment of chronic care conditions. Some case study examples include:

Partners Health Massachusetts.
Partners Health has used telehealth to continue care for patients who have been admitted and released after experiencing a heart failure. Since that strategy’s start, the group has experienced a 51 percent reduction in heart failure readmissions, adding up to total savings of $10.3 billion. Although ultimately the result was a combination of many elements, success was attributed to physician and patient acceptance of remote monitoring, patient education, and RPM technology in general.

Centura Health Colorado and Western Kansas.
Centura Health also completed a similar trial study, determining the efficacy of telehealth and RPM for their organization. Their findings revealed that “30-day re-hospitalizations related to congestive heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary failure, and diabetes were reduced by 62 percent, and re-hospitalization rates for patients receiving telehealth home care (6.3 percent) were significantly lower than those for traditional home care patients (18 percent). Emergency department use decreased from 283 visits in the year preceding the study to 21 visits during the yearlong study.”

Paired with the right tactic, RPM can let organizations do more with less, without sacrificing the quality of care. As the above examples illustrate, RPM doesn’t need to be reserved for chronic care scenarios. It can also serve as a post-care touchpoint that aids care providers in their attempts to keep patients in check past doctor visits or hospitalizations. If organizations take a strategic approach to adding value to their offerings through remote patient monitoring, they can expand physicians’ views of health scenarios, extend care to patients who otherwise might be unwilling or unable to receive it, avoid costly (and unnecessary) readmissions, and improve outcomes. Tied to tradition or not, that’s progress that is worth considering.

Reference Articles:

1. “Study: Telehealth raises satisfaction, reduces hospital stays” EHR Intelligence. February 6, 2013.
2. “Centura Health at Home: Home Telehealth as the Standard of Care” The Commonwealth Fund. January 2013.
3. “US Remote Patient Monitoring Market: Is it Finally Ready to Make a Difference?” Frost & Sullivan. November 24, 2015.