Healthcare News & Views

5 Ways Remote Patient Monitoring Technologies Can Transform Healthcare Delivery

September 26, 2023
By
Suneha Dutta

The healthcare landscape is undergoing a remarkable transformation, driven by innovative technologies that are enhancing patient care, creating better health outcomes, reducing costs, and improving overall efficiency. Most healthcare organizations are already innovating at accelerated timelines, with one survey noting that 67% of hospital executives said their organizations will implement at least one to two new digital health solutions in 2023. 

As Brian Dobosh, Vice President of Digital Health Systems at RWJBarnabas Health, shares, “Technology is rapidly changing … The reevaluation never stops. How do we take that tech, if it's worthwhile, and improve the care, patient experience, and provider experience? It's not one or the other.” 

Remote patient monitoring offers an accessible solution that can help monitor large patient populations, collect and analyze real-time health data, and enable proactive care management. Some of the emerging key characteristics of remote monitoring to enable comprehensive and sustainable digital transformation for healthcare providers include:

  • Patient-Driven Care Management - Enabling patients with the tools and digital resources to better manage their own care. 
  • Patient Engagement and Education: Digital tools and resources that engage patients in their healthcare journey, educate them about their conditions, promote adherence to treatment plans, offer a personalized experience, and empower better communication with healthcare providers.
  • Interoperability: Solutions that integrate seamlessly with foundational systems, including electronic health records (EHRs) and patient-facing systems, which enables secure sharing of patient data among the care teams and in multi-hospital settings for better care coordination.
  • Data-led Decision-making: Collecting and leveraging patient reported outcomes (PROs) and other data to extract insights and improve population health outcomes by informing decision-making, helping graph trends, identifying and addressing health disparities, and targeting interventions appropriately.
  • Aligned and Efficient: Solutions that align with existing workflows, automate routine tasks to alleviate clinician burden and empower frontline care teams to further enhance care delivery.
  • High User Adoption: Providing ongoing training and support to both care teams and patients to effectively use digital tools and technologies, thereby managing the cultural shift associated with digital transformation as well as ensuring long-term sustainability of initiatives.

Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) and digital patient engagement software solutions are leading the way in enabling real-time monitoring, enhanced patient and provider experience, and improved outcomes and operational efficiency at a lower cost. 

We explore how robust digital care solutions can serve as a catalyst for the comprehensive transformation of healthcare services into a more patient-centric, efficient, and digitally-driven ecosystem.

1. Enhanced patient-centric care

Remote patient monitoring (also known as remote patient management) is a form of virtual care that allows for continuous patient engagement, regardless of where the patient is, throughout their care journey. It enables providers to closely monitor a patient without requiring in-person visits and empowers patients to take an active role in managing their health through an accessible platform.

RPM's potential is rooted in a significant transition towards patient-centered care. By equipping care teams with real-time patient data and making patients active participants in their health care, these solutions can create a transparent, collaborative partnership between all involved. 

Standardized care across surgical and chronic populations 

It enables providers to implement a standardized approach to care that has a significant impact on the patient experience and continuity of care. It ensures that all patients across surgery, oncology, women’s health and chronic care, receive the right care at the right time without putting a strain on resources and staff. For instance, remote monitoring can help keep patients with Heart Failure, COPD, or other chronic conditions engaged and on their way to recovery through longer care periods associated with chronic care, sometimes as long as 15 months or more.

Empowering self-management

Robust solutions that combine the capabilities of remote monitoring and patient education guide patients across their care journey, helping them track their symptoms, vital data, recovery progress and more, as well as reminders and personalized, just-in-time education to keep them on track. This data is not only accessible to healthcare providers but also to patients themselves, promoting self-awareness and encouraging compliance to their care pathways. 

Improving clinical outcomes

RPM platforms offer educational resources and interactive materials that patients can access at their convenience any time of the day or night. This means patients are better informed about their conditions, treatment plans, and self-care strategies, which in turn goes a long way in enhancing clinical outcomes, like reduced length of stay, readmissions, and ED visits. For instance, University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Medicine reported that the implementation of remote monitoring through Digital Care Journeys led to a 50% decrease in readmissions, with 31% of patients noting the platform helped avoid calls to their healthcare team. A patient shared, “Each day the set of questions I answered helped me know what to expect during my recovery. If my body or mind wasn't in line with the recovery expectations, I would know right away by the answers I gave.”

As Dr. Daniel Chu, ERAS Medical Director at UAB Medicine notes, “I think people have started to realize that just like health literacy matters in a lot of non-surgical conditions like diabetes and chronic diseases, it absolutely matters in surgery. Our team has been able to show that patients with limited health literacy or low health literacy, are at risk for having more complications, and longer length of stays.”

Easing anxiety

Remote monitoring platforms like Digital Care Journeys act as a virtual care companion across the patient journey, enhancing both patient and provider satisfaction. Care teams can monitor patients on dashboards and receive alerts, making them feel empowered with the knowledge that their patients are being monitored at all times, and they can intervene swiftly for at-risk patients. 

Meanwhile it increases a patient’s confidence during their recovery journey as they feel connected to their provider and at ease knowing the care team’s ability to extend care beyond the clinical setting.  

For instance, a patient shared how a digital care journey platform helped them communicate easily with their care team and avoid an ED visit. They shared, “You come out of surgery … and every little thing that goes wrong or you think goes wrong, you want to immediately call a doctor or go to a hospital. I found that with the program, there was a question about excessive bleeding and I was sure I answered the question correctly. Within half an hour, I got a telephone call from the administrator of the program asking about it  - She asked me to take a picture and send it in and I did. And they responded again quickly saying ‘you know that you are bleeding, it's not really excessive but we want you to see the doctor tomorrow’ and made that appointment. You can't believe how good that makes you feel.”

Dr. David Putrino, Director of Rehabilitation Innovation at The Mount Sinai Health System, shares how successful patient-facing technology leverages community co-design to support the experience that patients want, which in turn significantly improves patient adoption and adherence.“We put community co-design at the forefront of everything that we do. Because if we're not solving a problem that a patient says is a problem then we're not going to do it,” 

2. Automating care delivery to tackle resource strain

RPM technologies today provide crucial help in alleviating staff burden. The deployment of a remote monitoring solution might seem that it needs additional lift from care teams to implement and monitor. However, in the face of continuing staffing shortages and burnout, a robust platform is a game changer in easing nursing and front line care team responsibilities. 

Streamlining resources and priorities 

It can help automate and streamline several aspects of the care delivery. For instance, 

RPM provides real-time access to patient data, allowing care teams to detect health issues and anomalies promptly. This enables early interventions, reducing hospital readmissions, phone calls or ED Visits, or even preventing minor issues from escalating into major health crises. 

As patients self-report aspects of their health status, such as condition-specific symptoms, physical, mental, and social health, protocol compliance, and more through digital engagement tools, this streamlined communication helps care teams better prioritize their responses, provide timely support to patients who need it most, as well as evaluate the effectiveness of these interventions. 

Automating data collection

Patients receive digitized questionnaires via mobile and web-enabled app, email, or text message links, and can respond from outside a clinic or hospital setting. These platforms also send timely reminders via automated workflows to patients to self-complete the surveys. Having that multi-modality drives higher response rates. 

Studies have shown that patients enrolled in Digital Care Journeys have completed 62% of PRO surveys on quality of life, postoperative pain, nausea, opioid consumption, and compliance to ERAS® pathway items, as well as prevented phone calls and ED visits. Additionally, providers can review the responses and data for additional research and insights on improving outcomes or changes needed to enhance compliance.

As Dr. Dionisios Vrochides Past President, ERAS® USA Vice Chair of Quality and Outcomes for Department of Surgery at Atrium Health shared, “The ability to digitally collect PROs which are reflective of the patient’s experience allows us to intervene sooner if needed to improve the quality of care. Through the deployment of a digital application like SeamlessMD we were able to reduce cumulative length of stay, and readmissions and improve resource utilization for all patients.” Atrium health reduced their readmissions by 60% in Colorectal and mortality by 89% in Pancreas, among other significant outcomes.

Reducing in-person visits or calls

By continuously collecting patient data and transmitting it digitally, RPM reduces the need for frequent in-person check-ups or for care teams to constantly check in. They can instead remotely monitor vital signs, detect anomalies, and intervene when necessary, saving valuable time and resources. This technology enables more efficient care management for patients , minimizes unnecessary hospital visits, and allows nurses to focus on critical cases. It thereby also decreases potentially avoidable phone calls and ED visits by providing on-time recommendations virtually based on a patient’s real-time status. 

As Gregory D. Rushing, MD Division of Cardiac Surgery at University Hospitals shared, “Phone call volumes can overwhelm staff and negatively impact operational efficiencies; by providing patients with the tools to effectively self-manage from home, patients are less likely to require multiple follow-up phone calls. The implementation of SeamlessMD has led to a reduction in phone calls, contributing to improved staff satisfaction and clinical operations.” UH saw a 59% decrease in phone calls and a 68% decrease in ED Visits, among other positive outcomes, with the deployment of a digital patient engagement platform. 

Digital education and reminders

In a study, nurse practitioners reported spending about 50% of their time educating patients on their diagnoses, treatment options, and their medication. The study also mentions that nurses see low healthcare literacy as a challenge.

Consistent education through digital platforms can help ensure frontline care teams spend less time explaining routine information, while timely reminders and nudges help ensure patients are on track with care plans. For instance, digital patient engagement tools can remind patients to take their medications or complete exercises, reducing the risk of errors and ensuring adherence, and nurses thereby can spend less time tracking medication schedules and addressing medication-related issues.

With RPM, care teams can provide high-quality care while optimizing their workload, freeing up their time for more critical tasks and ultimately improving patient outcomes and the overall healthcare system's effectiveness.

3. Elevating digital front door strategy

In a recent survey, 90% of healthcare provider executives identified healthcare consumerism as a top priority for their companies. In this rapidly evolving healthcare landscape, the adoption of a robust digital front door strategy has emerged as a pivotal tool in optimizing the ongoing digital healthcare transformation. This strategic approach not only enhances patient access and engagement but also streamlines operational efficiencies and empowers healthcare providers to deliver more personalized and efficient care.

Enhanced digital experiences 

The digital front door represents the initial point of contact between patients and healthcare providers, often through digital channels like websites, apps, and telehealth platforms. Digital patient engagement is poised to play a pivotal role in this transformation. 

Apart from enhancing accessibility to just-in-time education and patient care plans, these solutions allow healthcare providers to create highly personalized digital experiences and enhance connectivity with care teams for their entire patient population at scale. It has helped create impactful digital experiences that meet today’s consumer expectations, which is critical considering 60% of consumers expect their digital healthcare experience to mirror that of retail.  

Connected healthcare platforms

A patient engagement platform that directly embeds into your proprietary patient portal or an existing EHR or Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) is highly recommended for a connected healthcare platform.

It allows for a streamlined workflow for both patients and providers – it accelerates patient enrollment as patients can quickly and easily access the app within their chart or the patient portal, makes it easier for staff to receive alerts, collect data, and review dashboards without ever leaving the EHR or signing into a different system, and offers a more seamless experience.

Meanwhile patients can be kept updated of any upcoming surgeries for instance, and can be alerted about any changes to their appointments directly through the platform via their everyday devices, further reducing administrative burdens.

However, even if an organization chooses not to integrate the platform with their EHR immediately, it is still important to ensure that the platform aligns with long term EHR strategy and can be integrated with leading EHRs, such as the platforms listed on Epic's Connection Hub and Oracle Cerner’s CODE program

4. Improved accessibility and equity

RPM helps break down barriers to healthcare access, providing equitable care to patients by giving them access to the same level of support they need. By equipping patients with remote monitoring technologies, along with the appropriate training on how to effectively use them, providers can empower patients to track their health status and share their data from the comfort of their homes or alternative settings. 

This is especially true for patients that are geographically limited to hospital access, as with rural populations. One major socioeconomic hurdle that holds people back from seeking care is transportation. In fact, 3.6 million people in the US do not obtain medical care due to transportation barriers, according to the American Hospital Association.

Remote monitoring can help tackle other barriers to care as well, including lack of specialists in closer care settings, inconveniences and expenses of travel, childcare, or taking time off work. 

RPM programs increase access for anyone who could benefit from regular check-ins with healthcare professionals, as well as patients who could use support with managing their care but don’t require frequent in-person visits. Additionally, it helps providers reduce costs associated with in-person visits and support more patients at any given time.

Providers can reach underserved, potentially overlooked populations, with the assurance they can receive the same level of care and connectivity to their care teams. 

5. Scalability and sustainability

Implementing remote monitoring at scale can be a costly and labor-intensive endeavor when solely relying on traditional device-based remote patient monitoring methods. Also, the needs of all patients are not equal - for instance, not all patients need biometric monitoring if it is not clinically necessary, while others would benefit more from consistent education that ensures they are adhering to the care plans and to-do lists. 

Multi-hospital scalability

An enterprise-focused, app-based or SaaS-based solution can efficiently reach diverse patient populations across surgery, oncology, women’s health, chronic care and more, all without the resource-intensive need for multiple platforms or device-based solutions. This is especially critical for when looking to scale in a multi-hospital setting or across multiple service lines. Real-time data on patients can be used to create a shared patient record that can be viewed by multiple care centers, allowing for better collaboration as well as standardization of care. SaaS-based RPM solutions offer scalable integrations and  enable healthcare systems to accommodate a growing number of patients.  

Increased user adoption

Another key way to ensure long term sustainability of a solution is alignment with physician and care team workflows to enhance the user experience (both patients and providers) as well as comprehensive tech education for patients. 

There is often a struggle to get the buy-in from clinicians for new platforms. However, platforms with a proven track record of improving clinical outcomes while aligning with existing workflows see higher adoption on the clinical side. And for patients, creating a level of comfort towards new processes or technologies comes means ensuring that patients are educated about it. 

As Harshal Shah, Director of Digital Health at RWJBarnabas Health, shares, “When you're implementing a technology solution in a health system, you do so much training for your providers. And yet when it comes to patients, we often assume they can just log in and use it. Actually everyone needs training. I think that's a really compelling point that we often don't talk about. I think it's so important - easy access to learning, easy access to knowledge articles, a way to ask questions - you're giving them that openness.”

Reducing costs

Finally, as healthcare leaders feel the pressure of doing more with less without affecting the delivery of care, exploring and ensuring the return on investment (ROI) from these platforms – both in terms of costs and clinical outcomes – is critical to long term sustainability. 

Health systems are increasingly focusing on keeping people healthy at home while combating resource challenges. For instance, Dr. Peter Pronovost, Chief Quality & Clinical Transformation Officer at University Hospitals, implemented a “Believe, Belong, Build” model that was used to transform UH - its success measured by improved outcomes, financial stability, and enhanced access to care.

Each health system or even service line, has its own specific priorities, needs, baseline metrics they are looking to improve – which in turn impacts the ROI they are expecting from any digital care platform.

The traditional model of healthcare delivery can be expensive, particularly for patients who require frequent visits to healthcare facilities. As noted above, RPM reduces costs – by minimizing the need for phone calls, readmissions and ED visits – and leads to better resource allocation as healthcare providers can focus on patients who need immediate attention. 

Conclusion

Leading health systems have seen the impact innovative, app-based remote monitoring and digital patient engagement platforms can have on building patient-centered, data-driven, and accessible healthcare services.

The ability to provide continuous, real-time patient data and digital patient engagement tools that foster active patient participation in their care not only eases the burden on providers but also improves the overall quality of care and patient experiences. Timely interventions, reduced healthcare costs, safer hospital to home transitions, better chronic disease management, enhanced patient engagement, scalability, and improved healthcare access for underserved populations - the benefits are numerous in this journey to digital transformation. 

To see how leading health systems such as MultiCare, UAB Medicine, University Hospitals and Baystate Health have realized digital transformation with Digital Care Journeys, download The Role of Digital Care Journeys in a Health System’s Digital Front Door Strategy ebook.

5 Ways Remote Patient Monitoring Technologies Can Transform Healthcare Delivery

Posted by:
Suneha Dutta
on
September 26, 2023

The healthcare landscape is undergoing a remarkable transformation, driven by innovative technologies that are enhancing patient care, creating better health outcomes, reducing costs, and improving overall efficiency. Most healthcare organizations are already innovating at accelerated timelines, with one survey noting that 67% of hospital executives said their organizations will implement at least one to two new digital health solutions in 2023. 

As Brian Dobosh, Vice President of Digital Health Systems at RWJBarnabas Health, shares, “Technology is rapidly changing … The reevaluation never stops. How do we take that tech, if it's worthwhile, and improve the care, patient experience, and provider experience? It's not one or the other.” 

Remote patient monitoring offers an accessible solution that can help monitor large patient populations, collect and analyze real-time health data, and enable proactive care management. Some of the emerging key characteristics of remote monitoring to enable comprehensive and sustainable digital transformation for healthcare providers include:

  • Patient-Driven Care Management - Enabling patients with the tools and digital resources to better manage their own care. 
  • Patient Engagement and Education: Digital tools and resources that engage patients in their healthcare journey, educate them about their conditions, promote adherence to treatment plans, offer a personalized experience, and empower better communication with healthcare providers.
  • Interoperability: Solutions that integrate seamlessly with foundational systems, including electronic health records (EHRs) and patient-facing systems, which enables secure sharing of patient data among the care teams and in multi-hospital settings for better care coordination.
  • Data-led Decision-making: Collecting and leveraging patient reported outcomes (PROs) and other data to extract insights and improve population health outcomes by informing decision-making, helping graph trends, identifying and addressing health disparities, and targeting interventions appropriately.
  • Aligned and Efficient: Solutions that align with existing workflows, automate routine tasks to alleviate clinician burden and empower frontline care teams to further enhance care delivery.
  • High User Adoption: Providing ongoing training and support to both care teams and patients to effectively use digital tools and technologies, thereby managing the cultural shift associated with digital transformation as well as ensuring long-term sustainability of initiatives.

Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) and digital patient engagement software solutions are leading the way in enabling real-time monitoring, enhanced patient and provider experience, and improved outcomes and operational efficiency at a lower cost. 

We explore how robust digital care solutions can serve as a catalyst for the comprehensive transformation of healthcare services into a more patient-centric, efficient, and digitally-driven ecosystem.

1. Enhanced patient-centric care

Remote patient monitoring (also known as remote patient management) is a form of virtual care that allows for continuous patient engagement, regardless of where the patient is, throughout their care journey. It enables providers to closely monitor a patient without requiring in-person visits and empowers patients to take an active role in managing their health through an accessible platform.

RPM's potential is rooted in a significant transition towards patient-centered care. By equipping care teams with real-time patient data and making patients active participants in their health care, these solutions can create a transparent, collaborative partnership between all involved. 

Standardized care across surgical and chronic populations 

It enables providers to implement a standardized approach to care that has a significant impact on the patient experience and continuity of care. It ensures that all patients across surgery, oncology, women’s health and chronic care, receive the right care at the right time without putting a strain on resources and staff. For instance, remote monitoring can help keep patients with Heart Failure, COPD, or other chronic conditions engaged and on their way to recovery through longer care periods associated with chronic care, sometimes as long as 15 months or more.

Empowering self-management

Robust solutions that combine the capabilities of remote monitoring and patient education guide patients across their care journey, helping them track their symptoms, vital data, recovery progress and more, as well as reminders and personalized, just-in-time education to keep them on track. This data is not only accessible to healthcare providers but also to patients themselves, promoting self-awareness and encouraging compliance to their care pathways. 

Improving clinical outcomes

RPM platforms offer educational resources and interactive materials that patients can access at their convenience any time of the day or night. This means patients are better informed about their conditions, treatment plans, and self-care strategies, which in turn goes a long way in enhancing clinical outcomes, like reduced length of stay, readmissions, and ED visits. For instance, University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Medicine reported that the implementation of remote monitoring through Digital Care Journeys led to a 50% decrease in readmissions, with 31% of patients noting the platform helped avoid calls to their healthcare team. A patient shared, “Each day the set of questions I answered helped me know what to expect during my recovery. If my body or mind wasn't in line with the recovery expectations, I would know right away by the answers I gave.”

As Dr. Daniel Chu, ERAS Medical Director at UAB Medicine notes, “I think people have started to realize that just like health literacy matters in a lot of non-surgical conditions like diabetes and chronic diseases, it absolutely matters in surgery. Our team has been able to show that patients with limited health literacy or low health literacy, are at risk for having more complications, and longer length of stays.”

Easing anxiety

Remote monitoring platforms like Digital Care Journeys act as a virtual care companion across the patient journey, enhancing both patient and provider satisfaction. Care teams can monitor patients on dashboards and receive alerts, making them feel empowered with the knowledge that their patients are being monitored at all times, and they can intervene swiftly for at-risk patients. 

Meanwhile it increases a patient’s confidence during their recovery journey as they feel connected to their provider and at ease knowing the care team’s ability to extend care beyond the clinical setting.  

For instance, a patient shared how a digital care journey platform helped them communicate easily with their care team and avoid an ED visit. They shared, “You come out of surgery … and every little thing that goes wrong or you think goes wrong, you want to immediately call a doctor or go to a hospital. I found that with the program, there was a question about excessive bleeding and I was sure I answered the question correctly. Within half an hour, I got a telephone call from the administrator of the program asking about it  - She asked me to take a picture and send it in and I did. And they responded again quickly saying ‘you know that you are bleeding, it's not really excessive but we want you to see the doctor tomorrow’ and made that appointment. You can't believe how good that makes you feel.”

Dr. David Putrino, Director of Rehabilitation Innovation at The Mount Sinai Health System, shares how successful patient-facing technology leverages community co-design to support the experience that patients want, which in turn significantly improves patient adoption and adherence.“We put community co-design at the forefront of everything that we do. Because if we're not solving a problem that a patient says is a problem then we're not going to do it,” 

2. Automating care delivery to tackle resource strain

RPM technologies today provide crucial help in alleviating staff burden. The deployment of a remote monitoring solution might seem that it needs additional lift from care teams to implement and monitor. However, in the face of continuing staffing shortages and burnout, a robust platform is a game changer in easing nursing and front line care team responsibilities. 

Streamlining resources and priorities 

It can help automate and streamline several aspects of the care delivery. For instance, 

RPM provides real-time access to patient data, allowing care teams to detect health issues and anomalies promptly. This enables early interventions, reducing hospital readmissions, phone calls or ED Visits, or even preventing minor issues from escalating into major health crises. 

As patients self-report aspects of their health status, such as condition-specific symptoms, physical, mental, and social health, protocol compliance, and more through digital engagement tools, this streamlined communication helps care teams better prioritize their responses, provide timely support to patients who need it most, as well as evaluate the effectiveness of these interventions. 

Automating data collection

Patients receive digitized questionnaires via mobile and web-enabled app, email, or text message links, and can respond from outside a clinic or hospital setting. These platforms also send timely reminders via automated workflows to patients to self-complete the surveys. Having that multi-modality drives higher response rates. 

Studies have shown that patients enrolled in Digital Care Journeys have completed 62% of PRO surveys on quality of life, postoperative pain, nausea, opioid consumption, and compliance to ERAS® pathway items, as well as prevented phone calls and ED visits. Additionally, providers can review the responses and data for additional research and insights on improving outcomes or changes needed to enhance compliance.

As Dr. Dionisios Vrochides Past President, ERAS® USA Vice Chair of Quality and Outcomes for Department of Surgery at Atrium Health shared, “The ability to digitally collect PROs which are reflective of the patient’s experience allows us to intervene sooner if needed to improve the quality of care. Through the deployment of a digital application like SeamlessMD we were able to reduce cumulative length of stay, and readmissions and improve resource utilization for all patients.” Atrium health reduced their readmissions by 60% in Colorectal and mortality by 89% in Pancreas, among other significant outcomes.

Reducing in-person visits or calls

By continuously collecting patient data and transmitting it digitally, RPM reduces the need for frequent in-person check-ups or for care teams to constantly check in. They can instead remotely monitor vital signs, detect anomalies, and intervene when necessary, saving valuable time and resources. This technology enables more efficient care management for patients , minimizes unnecessary hospital visits, and allows nurses to focus on critical cases. It thereby also decreases potentially avoidable phone calls and ED visits by providing on-time recommendations virtually based on a patient’s real-time status. 

As Gregory D. Rushing, MD Division of Cardiac Surgery at University Hospitals shared, “Phone call volumes can overwhelm staff and negatively impact operational efficiencies; by providing patients with the tools to effectively self-manage from home, patients are less likely to require multiple follow-up phone calls. The implementation of SeamlessMD has led to a reduction in phone calls, contributing to improved staff satisfaction and clinical operations.” UH saw a 59% decrease in phone calls and a 68% decrease in ED Visits, among other positive outcomes, with the deployment of a digital patient engagement platform. 

Digital education and reminders

In a study, nurse practitioners reported spending about 50% of their time educating patients on their diagnoses, treatment options, and their medication. The study also mentions that nurses see low healthcare literacy as a challenge.

Consistent education through digital platforms can help ensure frontline care teams spend less time explaining routine information, while timely reminders and nudges help ensure patients are on track with care plans. For instance, digital patient engagement tools can remind patients to take their medications or complete exercises, reducing the risk of errors and ensuring adherence, and nurses thereby can spend less time tracking medication schedules and addressing medication-related issues.

With RPM, care teams can provide high-quality care while optimizing their workload, freeing up their time for more critical tasks and ultimately improving patient outcomes and the overall healthcare system's effectiveness.

3. Elevating digital front door strategy

In a recent survey, 90% of healthcare provider executives identified healthcare consumerism as a top priority for their companies. In this rapidly evolving healthcare landscape, the adoption of a robust digital front door strategy has emerged as a pivotal tool in optimizing the ongoing digital healthcare transformation. This strategic approach not only enhances patient access and engagement but also streamlines operational efficiencies and empowers healthcare providers to deliver more personalized and efficient care.

Enhanced digital experiences 

The digital front door represents the initial point of contact between patients and healthcare providers, often through digital channels like websites, apps, and telehealth platforms. Digital patient engagement is poised to play a pivotal role in this transformation. 

Apart from enhancing accessibility to just-in-time education and patient care plans, these solutions allow healthcare providers to create highly personalized digital experiences and enhance connectivity with care teams for their entire patient population at scale. It has helped create impactful digital experiences that meet today’s consumer expectations, which is critical considering 60% of consumers expect their digital healthcare experience to mirror that of retail.  

Connected healthcare platforms

A patient engagement platform that directly embeds into your proprietary patient portal or an existing EHR or Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) is highly recommended for a connected healthcare platform.

It allows for a streamlined workflow for both patients and providers – it accelerates patient enrollment as patients can quickly and easily access the app within their chart or the patient portal, makes it easier for staff to receive alerts, collect data, and review dashboards without ever leaving the EHR or signing into a different system, and offers a more seamless experience.

Meanwhile patients can be kept updated of any upcoming surgeries for instance, and can be alerted about any changes to their appointments directly through the platform via their everyday devices, further reducing administrative burdens.

However, even if an organization chooses not to integrate the platform with their EHR immediately, it is still important to ensure that the platform aligns with long term EHR strategy and can be integrated with leading EHRs, such as the platforms listed on Epic's Connection Hub and Oracle Cerner’s CODE program

4. Improved accessibility and equity

RPM helps break down barriers to healthcare access, providing equitable care to patients by giving them access to the same level of support they need. By equipping patients with remote monitoring technologies, along with the appropriate training on how to effectively use them, providers can empower patients to track their health status and share their data from the comfort of their homes or alternative settings. 

This is especially true for patients that are geographically limited to hospital access, as with rural populations. One major socioeconomic hurdle that holds people back from seeking care is transportation. In fact, 3.6 million people in the US do not obtain medical care due to transportation barriers, according to the American Hospital Association.

Remote monitoring can help tackle other barriers to care as well, including lack of specialists in closer care settings, inconveniences and expenses of travel, childcare, or taking time off work. 

RPM programs increase access for anyone who could benefit from regular check-ins with healthcare professionals, as well as patients who could use support with managing their care but don’t require frequent in-person visits. Additionally, it helps providers reduce costs associated with in-person visits and support more patients at any given time.

Providers can reach underserved, potentially overlooked populations, with the assurance they can receive the same level of care and connectivity to their care teams. 

5. Scalability and sustainability

Implementing remote monitoring at scale can be a costly and labor-intensive endeavor when solely relying on traditional device-based remote patient monitoring methods. Also, the needs of all patients are not equal - for instance, not all patients need biometric monitoring if it is not clinically necessary, while others would benefit more from consistent education that ensures they are adhering to the care plans and to-do lists. 

Multi-hospital scalability

An enterprise-focused, app-based or SaaS-based solution can efficiently reach diverse patient populations across surgery, oncology, women’s health, chronic care and more, all without the resource-intensive need for multiple platforms or device-based solutions. This is especially critical for when looking to scale in a multi-hospital setting or across multiple service lines. Real-time data on patients can be used to create a shared patient record that can be viewed by multiple care centers, allowing for better collaboration as well as standardization of care. SaaS-based RPM solutions offer scalable integrations and  enable healthcare systems to accommodate a growing number of patients.  

Increased user adoption

Another key way to ensure long term sustainability of a solution is alignment with physician and care team workflows to enhance the user experience (both patients and providers) as well as comprehensive tech education for patients. 

There is often a struggle to get the buy-in from clinicians for new platforms. However, platforms with a proven track record of improving clinical outcomes while aligning with existing workflows see higher adoption on the clinical side. And for patients, creating a level of comfort towards new processes or technologies comes means ensuring that patients are educated about it. 

As Harshal Shah, Director of Digital Health at RWJBarnabas Health, shares, “When you're implementing a technology solution in a health system, you do so much training for your providers. And yet when it comes to patients, we often assume they can just log in and use it. Actually everyone needs training. I think that's a really compelling point that we often don't talk about. I think it's so important - easy access to learning, easy access to knowledge articles, a way to ask questions - you're giving them that openness.”

Reducing costs

Finally, as healthcare leaders feel the pressure of doing more with less without affecting the delivery of care, exploring and ensuring the return on investment (ROI) from these platforms – both in terms of costs and clinical outcomes – is critical to long term sustainability. 

Health systems are increasingly focusing on keeping people healthy at home while combating resource challenges. For instance, Dr. Peter Pronovost, Chief Quality & Clinical Transformation Officer at University Hospitals, implemented a “Believe, Belong, Build” model that was used to transform UH - its success measured by improved outcomes, financial stability, and enhanced access to care.

Each health system or even service line, has its own specific priorities, needs, baseline metrics they are looking to improve – which in turn impacts the ROI they are expecting from any digital care platform.

The traditional model of healthcare delivery can be expensive, particularly for patients who require frequent visits to healthcare facilities. As noted above, RPM reduces costs – by minimizing the need for phone calls, readmissions and ED visits – and leads to better resource allocation as healthcare providers can focus on patients who need immediate attention. 

Conclusion

Leading health systems have seen the impact innovative, app-based remote monitoring and digital patient engagement platforms can have on building patient-centered, data-driven, and accessible healthcare services.

The ability to provide continuous, real-time patient data and digital patient engagement tools that foster active patient participation in their care not only eases the burden on providers but also improves the overall quality of care and patient experiences. Timely interventions, reduced healthcare costs, safer hospital to home transitions, better chronic disease management, enhanced patient engagement, scalability, and improved healthcare access for underserved populations - the benefits are numerous in this journey to digital transformation. 

To see how leading health systems such as MultiCare, UAB Medicine, University Hospitals and Baystate Health have realized digital transformation with Digital Care Journeys, download The Role of Digital Care Journeys in a Health System’s Digital Front Door Strategy ebook.

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