The Top 2 Concerns For Remote Patient Technology

Posted September 2, 2014

Speak with the majority of healthcare leaders today, and you’ll find agreement that telehealth, or telemedicine applications, are increasingly on their minds.

Our CEO, Dr. Jeffrey Shepard, deals with the concept and sees first-hand the concerns for medical homes, hospitals, ACOs, PCMHs, assisted living facilities, to name a few.

“Remote patient monitoring, or remote patient communication, has never been more important than it is now,” says Dr. Shepard.

And even with the category growing at double-digit rates, we see some current perceptions that are holding back implementation of teleheath, or more broadly–mobile health solutions–for patients.

“This is important for us because if remote patient communication or monitoring systems were expected to have a market value of more than 20 billion by 2016, we need to work to clarify any misconceptions that may exist in the marketplace,” says Dr. Shepard. “We’d love to see that target hit, so we’re doing our part to educate the marketplace as best we can, including individual consumers.”

As it relates to medicine management, here are two underlying concerns healthcare leaders have when initiating a mobile health solution program for patients.

1. Understanding where a remote patient communication system can be integrated into a center.

Rising costs, alongside a reduction in potentialreimbursements. Less staff to serve more people in need of care. Aging populations. A more demanding set of consumers that require more personalization and communication…

These are just a few of the factors driving some of the new monitoring technologies, but still some centers are not sure where or how exactly they can benefit. While knowing this, MedaCheck makes certain to show any given center or facility how exactly the platform can help them better manage their patients once they leave that facility.

“No matter if it’s a hospital, a facility that has a care/support team on-hand almost 24-7, or if it’s a specialty care center with unique medicine applications, we know one thing they have in common: that patients don’t spend the majority of their time with their physician or care team member.” This insight–that patients ability to self-manage and to follow a protocol depends on what they do when they aren’t in front of their practictioner–is what makes MedaCheck so valuable to so many “points” in the medical neighborhood.

“We can really go in and show how MedaCheck extends the ability of the provider to educate, communicate, send reminders and information, and then lastly, get feedback once that person is no longer face-to-face, or in front of, that healthcare practitioner. We pinpoint that for each partner, and it’s quite powerful for them, and the care teams there, to see.”

2. Uncertainty around the patient onboarding process.

Although still a concern for some, the upfront investment for telehealth is increasingly not the number one concern for healthcare CEOs and CIOs. “Our partners can see the return on their investment, and that is giving them greater peace of mind. But the next question I am often hearing is around the idea of, “How do we get this set up?’ That is what they think of next.”

For MedaCheck, the process focuses on compatibility and making sure the reminder and communication process is as seamless as possible for the patient.

Specifically, MedaCheck was engineered to be flexible, as well as fully integrated into a provider’s current framework. “Security and privacy are givens for us. But we also maintained a focus on flexibility and integration because without the two we could not be as effective as possible in remote patient communication.”

Dr. Shepard explains that while the simplicity of the user experience could not be lost while creating the platform, flexibility was important to be able to scale as a company and to truly help patients with their own health.

“If we have a specialty treatment center, we can change how the feedback occurs for what’s best for that facility, and furthermore, what’s best for their specific patient base. That process will look different than for a certain segment of high-risk or chronic care patients. Another segment would be those with memory loss.”

Those needs for medication management will vary greatly from center to center, a factor that the MedaCheck team recognized from early on.

Additionally, the MedaCheck platform was made easy enough for caregivers to purchase for their aging loved ones, and to set up easily for reminders. All a caregiver does is speak with the MedaCheck team, verify the medications for a loved one, and a dedicated MedaCheck device is sent to the elderly person’s facility or place of residence, ready-to-use, with no programming required.

“Whether it’s bought online or setup through a healthcare facility, that is just proof that we’ve designed a remote communication system that’s easy enough for an individual–or a much larger health care entity–to set up. That’s important to have that simplicity in user experience and adoption, but the ability to be integrated into a number of contexts,” he adds.

If user activation is seamless, and a return on investment can be made clear with a reduction in readmissions and greater adherence, what else is holding medical homes back from implementing the technology to better “reach” the so-called “costliest” patients?

With the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and payment models adding pressure to seek solutions for reducing readmissions, it’s only a matter of time until more telehealth measures are adopted, explains Dr. Shepard.

“Some are waiting for the technology to evolve, or for more evidence that it will result in cost reduction for their most costly patients. Our customers are telling us they believe MedaCheck is a great fit for entering into the telehealth, or remote monitoring space,” says Dr. Shepard.

“They are ready. It’s been a process, but that’s been great validation to what we’ve built.”