Epic, Oracle Cerner, Meditech could 'reshape the market' with remote patient monitoring in EHRs: Report

As a rapidly growing part of healthcare, remote patient monitoring presents a business opportunity for EHR vendors. Some of them are responding by adding features for patients to be cared for from home.

Claims for the top 10 remote monitoring CPT codes grew by nearly 1,300 percent from 2019 through the end of 2022, according to a March 1 report from data company Definitive Healthcare.

Noting that Epic, Oracle Cerner and Meditech control about three-fourths of the U.S. EHR market, the authors said it's "not hard to imagine one of these organizations upgrading their platforms with native RPM capabilities to claim a huge competitive advantage, potentially reshaping the market while drastically reducing barriers to RPM implementation." 

The report said that while many EHR companies have added telehealth functionality, most do not offer native remote monitoring integration, requiring providers to manually enter the data into EHRs, often via custom-built templates, or use third-party software vendors to bridge that gap.

A spokesperson for Epic, the largest U.S. EHR vendor, told Becker's patients can access remote monitoring tools through its MyChart patient portal for things like pregnancy, surgery, oncology, and chronic disease monitoring. For example, the spokesperson said, patients at New Orleans-based Ochsner Health who were remotely monitored after chemotherapy visits had a third fewer emergency department visits and admissions.

Epic's tools include patient guidance and reminders (via push notifications, text messaging and email); vendor-neutral device integration (using AppleHealthKit, Google Fit or HL7 or FHIR interoperability standards); a framework for patient care escalations; video visits; and asynchronous e-visits and patient messaging.

Meditech, the nation's third-biggest EHR vendor, has application programming interfaces in its Expanse EHR that integrate with devices such as pedometers, blood pressure cuffs and heart rate monitors for remotely managing conditions such as diabetes and hypertension, a spokesperson told Becker's.

The data is automatically entered into clinical workflows, allowing care managers to follow up if there are fluctuations in any of the measurements, the spokesperson said. Through the system, providers can also assign devices, set treatment plans and manage how often patients take their measurements.

Patients who use Apple can share health data from devices like their iPhone or Apple Watch with their clinicians via the Health Records feature (on iOS 15 or higher), the spokesperson noted. Providers can view the information on the summary or reference panel in the Meditech EHR and use the scratchpad feature to copy and paste any of it into patients' medical charts.

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