Connected care and home health
The Future Health Index survey showed there’s a strong belief that connected care can really help with home health and long-term health management. Connected care isn’t a new idea. For example, the concept of telehealth for cardiology has been around for over one hundred years, with the first remote ECG transmission in 1906. Today, connected care for home health typically takes the form of remote patient monitoring. The goal is to ensure the patient’s ongoing health – either during recovery from an acute care episode, or to manage a chronic condition. From a cost perspective, reducing hospital readmissions and emergency room visits can have a major impact on the overall cost of care. The average cost of a Medicare readmission is $13,800. However, the results of remote patient monitoring are unclear. Some studies showing little positive impact – either on the patient’s wellbeing or cost (Ong et al, and Bloss et al).
The reality is, remote monitoring can be complex, unwieldy, and intimidating for patients. For example, a patient may have to work with many different devices to collect the data that the care provider needs to monitor their progress. That’s not an easy or patient friendly process. In such cases, from a patient’s perspective, remote patient monitoring becomes a chore for the patient. A hindrance, not a help.
How can connected sensing technology improve this? As technologies evolve, it becomes easier to monitor multiple vital signs with a single device. A well-integrated connected health solution that eases seamlessly into a patient’s daily life could make compliance much easier for patients. And that in turn could play a role in improving the outcomes of monitoring chronic diseases in the home. Heart failure alone affects 5.7m adults in the US, with a total estimated cost to the country of $30.7bn. Better monitoring in the home could help to improve the life of patients, and reduce the total cost of care. That’s the promise of modern connected care technologies.