Heart failure is dubbed the “silent killer” because it’s easy for patients to ignore the symptoms until it’s too late. Luckily, remote patient monitoring (RPM) devices, like those that can detect early symptoms of heart failure, are finding their way into the market. That market evolution makes RPM devices and how they support the delivery of preventive, acute, post-acute, and end-of-life care particularly interesting to us.
Remote Care Is An Ecosystem Affair
Is the healthcare industry equipped to monitor a rapidly aging population with increasing health complications? How do RPM devices support the delivery of preventive, acute, post-acute, and end-of-life care outside a care environment? What is the current state of the RPM market, and what are its key segments? Our research thus far shows that:
- Health insurers are creating wellness programs that include discounts on smart devices. Take Blue Cross Blue Shield, which offers up to 50% off select Fitbit, Garmin, and Polar products as part of its Blue365 program.
- Retail health companies are acquiring healthcare platform vendors that merge data and analytics expertise with a clinical network to drive better outcomes and experiences for their members. For example, Best Buy acquired Current Health, CVS acquired Signify Health, and Walgreens acquired CareCentrix.
- Health systems are building out services such as acute care in the home, decentralizing patient care. Currently in the US, there are 115 systems and 273 hospitals across 37 states approved for acute care at home waivers that authorize Medicare payments for additional at-home services.
- Medical device manufacturers are working to make their devices more affordable, user-friendly, and interoperable with other health tools. Apple recently unveiled a project to create a noninvasive glucose monitoring device.
- Consumers increasingly are adopting medical devices and sharing data collected from those devices with their healthcare provider. For example, Forrester data shows that 47% of US online adults are interested in collecting/tracking their blood pressure for themselves. Of those consumers, 52% are interested in sharing that data with their healthcare team.
Despite The Hype Around RPM, Challenges Persist
Some predict that the momentum building around home healthcare will result in billions spent. Questions remain, however, around whether the healthcare industry possesses the technological capabilities and infrastructure to implement RPM and effectively move the needle from reactive to preventive care. Two major challenges stand out:
- The US population is getting older and sicker. Elderly and chronically ill populations in the US are growing, contributing to soaring medical costs, increasing workforce burnout, and driving demand for more in-home care. Already, in-home care use cases have delivered benefits such as better patient outcomes, decreasing healthcare costs, increasing access to care and health equity, and lower clinician burnout.
- Remote care success relies on consumer adherence/compliance. Getting expensive devices into the hands of consumers who often lack the technical skills to operate them continues to be an obstacle. Once in the home, it isn’t clear that consumers will remember to use the devices or that they can take measurements that healthcare providers will trust.
Despite these obstacles, the trend toward at-home care is a powerful one — and we aim to understand it better.
If you are an RPM subject matter expert or a healthcare organization involved in enabling remote care, please email us. We’d like to talk with you. You can also read more about our upcoming research here.