How automation can put the "care" in remote healthcare — 4 insights

Although virtual visits and remote patient monitoring devices are growing in popularity, automation is needed to enable RPM systems to analyze patient data and facilitate appropriate action.

During a March webinar hosted by Becker's Hospital Review and sponsored by Datos Health, David Yavin, PhD, chief strategy officer of Datos, moderated a discussion between Uri Bettesh, CEO and founder of Datos, and Micah Thorp, DO, president of Permanente Health Care Ventures, on technological developments that are facilitating better patient self-care, reducing staff workloads and improving outcomes.

Four insights:

  1. RPM adoption is limited by staff shortages, but automation can change that. According to Mr. Bettesh, RPM is currently an additional operation for many organizations, which can make the technology difficult to justify in a value-based environment where staff is already overworked. In addition, many RPM systems are designed for specific use cases and generate a deluge of data that tends to overwhelm clinicians. "At the end of the day, someone needs to analyze all that data produced by traditional RPM systems to determine what it actually means," Dr. Thorp said.
  1. Automated assisted self-care closes the gaps in care and empowers both clinicians and patients. For example, oncology symptoms and side effects can be efficiently managed with automation-assisted self-care. After patients take medication, vital signs are monitored and patients complete a symptom and side-effect survey. An automated triage system either provides reassurance that everything is progressing as expected and no intervention is needed, offers automated suggestions for minor interventions, or suggests human intervention such as a nurse call, a virtual visit or going to the emergency room. "What this new era of automated assisted self-care is doing is taking away some of the things that don't have to be done by a provider," Mr. Yavin said. Algorithms already exist that prompt patients to alter medications or routines if certain events take place during disease management; other events warrant the care of a specialist. "We're not eliminating the need for nurses and doctors, but instead, are allowing everyone to practice closer to top of license."
  1. Platform malleability is critical to successful, broad-scale automation- and adoption. Although automation solutions are widely available, many current solutions are limited to specific use cases. "I think it's important with these kinds of platforms to find somebody who actually can tailor a program to your own patient population," Dr. Thorp said. Mr. Bettesh added: "Because it's also a clinician engagement game, allowing clinicians to design their own workflows, if they choose to, and determine where they want human intervention is the key."
  1. Patient compliance is significantly higher with automation-assisted self-care. "Research shows cardiac rehabilitation can reduce the chance of hospital readmittance or death after a cardiac event, but the participation rates are abysmal," Mr. Yavin said. Only 25 percent of cardiac patients are referred to rehabilitation, with only 25 percent of those actually completing the program, according to research cited by Mr. Yavin. A conventional cardiac rehab program often means multiple trips to a clinic to monitor responses to exercise. "By enabling low-risk patients to do their exercises on their own schedule and monitoring them asynchronously through a mobile device, the adherence and participation rates went through the roof," he said.

 

The Open Care Platform from Datos Health allows healthcare providers to design and automate routine components of care while optimizing human clinician involvement for any clinical workflow

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