This article is part of a series sponsored by HLTH highlighting topics that will be discussed at the HLTH conference November 13-16 in Las Vegas. Register today.
Remote patient monitoring is one of the topics of discussion at the upcoming HLTH conference at The Venetian Expo in Las Vegas scheduled for November 13-16. In response to emailed questions, executives from Biofourmis, Force Therapeutics and Ronin shared products they’re developing in remote patient monitoring as part of the broader hospital at home trend. They also shared emerging applications in this space as well as some of the challenges they face.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services introduced the Acute Hospital Care at Home program in 2020 as a way of addressing the Covid-19 pandemic while expanding flexibility of hospitals to care for Medicare patients beyond their physical facilities. As of the end of September, the list of approved organizations included 114 health systems, 256 hospitals in 37 states.
Biofourmis CEO and Founder Kuldeep Singh Rajput said Mass General Brigham, a participant in this program, harnessed the company’s remote patient monitoring Care@Home platform in a clinical study to reduce admissions by 70% with a 40% cost reduction. The Care@Home platform is also getting a test drive as part of a three-year clinical study of the Rural Home Hospital project with Blessing Health System and Appalachian Regional Healthcare — a joint venture between Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
Remote patient monitoring tools have also generated interest from pharmaceutical companies that view remote patient monitoring as a way to support decentralized clinical trials. Clinical trial recruitment is a huge and costly challenge for pharma companies, with some studies taking up to one year to recruit enough patients. Decentralized clinical trials enable people to take part in clinical studies with limited interruption to their jobs and home life, which could play a role in speeding up recruitment and reducing drop-out rates.
Rajput said the initial focus of Biofourmis was to support the management of cardiometabolic conditions such as heart failure.
“We soon realized that our platform—which remotely collects numerous vital signs using wearable biosensors to predict health trajectories using smart, artificial-intelligence-powered algorithms—could help manage other diseases such as respiratory conditions, infectious disease and cancer.”
Rajput describes the company’s approach as remote patient management — a more personalized and predictive approach than “monitoring”. It includes applying AI-based analytics and machine learning to patient data for earlier interventions and better outcomes.
“Heart failure is one of the most compelling use cases for remote patient management because it’s a notoriously difficult to treat condition, and our solution can get more patients to optimal treatment targets more quickly. Heart failure is the leading cause of hospitalization for patients aged 65 and older, while over 50% of patients with heart failure die within five years of diagnosis. Despite these concerning statistics, only about 25% of heart failure patients are on guideline-directed medical therapy for heart failure, and only 1% are receiving optimal therapy.”
“We recently completed a research study on how sleep impacts patient recovery,” said Bronwyn Spira, CEO and founder of Force Therapeutics, which formally moved into remote patient monitoring earlier this year. “The data from that study helped orthopedic physicians proactively educate and treat patients with sleep disturbances when recovering from a surgical procedure. While it seems intuitive, presenting the data around the impact and prevalence of sleep disturbances compelled care teams to take action when sleep disturbances were flagged in our patient monitoring platform and, as such, improve the recovery journey of thousands of patients.”
Project Ronin remotely detects, evaluates, and proactively manages patient symptoms associated with cancer treatment to reduce patient suffering, improve care provider efficiency and outcomes. Oracle founder Larry Ellison is among Ronin’s co-founders.
Kathy Ford, chief product and strategy officer, noted that the symptom management solution is designed to help cancer care teams remotely monitor, manage, and proactively course-correct patients receiving cancer treatment. It also helps them engage and educate patients in their care. One of the company’s goals is to reduce emergency department visits by better managing patient’s side effects from cancer care.
“Patients undergoing cancer treatment often experience severe side effects that, if unreported and unaddressed, can lead to harmful adverse events, costly trips to the emergency room, and discontinued treatment,” Ford said. “Moreover, anxiety and confusion about symptoms lead patients to inundate busy care teams with countless phone calls and messages. Unfortunately, because most of the cancer journey occurs outside of the hospital, these unmonitored and unengaged patients are beyond the reach of clinicians who might otherwise intervene, course-correct, and provide critical support.”
From Spira’s perspective, patient and clinician engagement are among the biggest challenges for advancing remote patient monitoring.
Balancing the need to deliver timely insights to clinicians without disrupting their workflow presents a unique set of challenges that each remote patient monitoring business needs to address before providers adopt these tools, according to Ford.
Disparate hospital IT systems can be a vexing issue standing in the way of adoption, Rajput observed. Clinical staffing shortages are another obstacle standing in the way of adoption.
“Hospitals and health systems often ask us how they can staff care-at-home programs when they struggle to cover all their shifts and on-call needs for in-person care,” said Rajput. “That is why many leading organizations with hospital-at-home programs are working with technology-enabled care delivery providers that offer remote, multispecialty clinical care teams that can offload some of the time-consuming management duties.”
Photo: Maria Symchych-Navrotska, Getty Images