As technology continues to evolve, new healthcare solutions are constantly emerging that are designed to improve the quality of patient care, while making it easier for healthcare providers to treat patients and monitor their conditions. Remote patient monitoring, for instance, is being used to help treat a growing number of conditions. It can help patients with chronic conditions live more comfortably in their homes. It can also make it easier for patients who have difficulty getting to their doctors’ offices to be treated efficiently. It can help track patient’s adherence to treatment programs.
Doctors appear to be taking notice, as more than 2/3 say they will make use of RPM in the future. Patients also are seeing the benefits of remote care, as more than half say they would be open to using connected health devices if their doctors recommended it. Long-term growth and continued acceptance, however, will depend on the patient and physician experience, and there are several considerations healthcare providers should be aware of as they launch their RPM and other connected health programs.
Define the Program
Remote patient monitoring is versatile and can be used to treat many conditions and patient populations. New uses are emerging constantly, as technology continues to evolve and as providers learn more about their systems and available devices, and as physicians become more comfortable with RPM. Healthcare providers must identify their RPM objectives: What conditions are they looking to treat? Which patient populations are they targeting? What are the expected outcomes and benefits?
While there are many potential ways to implement an RPM program, it may not be the best approach for all patients. Choosing use cases and targeting the right patient populations (including those who are likely to achieve the greatest level of success) will help build momentum and generate positive results. As initial programs succeed, they can be expanded to include new uses cases and patient populations.
Choose the Right Solution
Providers’ ability to meet their defined objectives is largely dependent on choosing the right technology. The system must not only enable rollout of initial programs, but should also be able to accommodate future expansion. Integration with existing systems and software is also a consideration and helps reduce initial costs of the programs. User experience should also be a factor. If doctors and patients find the system too cumbersome or overly complicated, they may not be as inclined to use it.
Educate Physicians and Staff
From the technology itself to changes in workflows and responsibilities, all staff and doctors should be educated on the impact of connected health programs. Some staff will require more training, while others will need to be aware of how the new technology impacts their administrative tasks. Having everyone on board with the program helps reduce bottlenecks, errors, duplication of effort, and helps ensure its success. There may be some initial resistance to additional learning, so the process should include communicating the benefits both patients and providers will achieve.
Any program should have clearly defined objectives. Providers should set specific goals for their RPM programs, including number of patients using the technology, staff efficiency and productivity, monetization, and patient feedback, among others. Setting these targets and evaluating success regularly will help providers understand their success levels and where they may need to make adjustments, along with helping determine when they are ready to expand their programs.
One of the benefits of connected health is its ability to increase patient engagement in their own healthcare. The more providers engage with patients, the better they are able to understand how well their programs are working. They should include patient education as part of the onboarding process. Patients who have been shown how to use patient-facing components of programs are more likely positively react to them.
The success of any connected health program depends on the outcomes they deliver. Following some basic guidelines when building out their programs will help increase providers’ success rates, with the ultimate benefit being better health outcomes for patients, while making it easier for physicians to deliver those outcomes.
To learn more about how to choose the right solutions for your RPM and other connected health services, connect with us here.