Providers’ adoption of remote patient monitoring (RPM) technology has accelerated since the pandemic began, driven in part by improved reimbursement rates. Still, many health systems are still figuring out how to deploy these tools at scale. One of the major concerns hospitals have when rolling out a large RPM program is that it will create more work for clinicians that are already burnt out.
In an effort to scale its RPM offerings without creating too much of a burden for its clinicians, Rush University System for Health recently struck a partnership with startup Cadence. On Tuesday, the Chicago-based health system announced that it is beginning an RPM pilot using Cadence’s technology platform and clinicians.
For this program, Rush will enroll Medicare and Medicaid patients who have one or more of the following chronic conditions: hypertension, congestive heart failure and type 2 diabetes.
After a Rush physician refers a patient to the program, they will be introduced to a Cadence care team led by a nurse practitioner. This care team will meet the patients in person and teach them how to use remote monitoring devices to track their vitals, making sure they’re comfortable with the technology and know how to use it on a daily basis.
The devices that patients use will depend on their condition, but some examples include heart monitors, blood pressure cuffs and blood glucose monitors. Some manufacturers of the devices that Cadence uses include Smart Meter and Withings, a Cadence representative said in a recent interview.
Patients enrolled in the program will be instructed to take their vitals every day. Those vitals will be transmitted to Cadence’s data platform, which is constantly being monitored by the startup’s care teams, according to the representative. If the care team notices that a patient might need a check-in or a medical intervention, then a member of the team will visit them in their home.
This type of proactive intervention can often help patients avoid a trip to the emergency department or expensive acute care, pointed out Dr. Michael Hanak. He is a Rush family physician, as well as the health system’s associate chief medical officer for population health.
The data being collected on Cadence’s platform will integrate with Rush’s EHR. This way, Rush clinicians will have access to clinical data for their patients who are enrolled in the program, but they won’t be the ones who have to sift through data and decide when something looks problematic, Dr. Hanak said.
“The clinicians are really pleased with the idea that it’s not just a data dump — it’s not more sorting and filtering and work for the staff to deal with,” he explained.
Rush’s main goal for this pilot is to get to a level where the health system can say it has implemented RPM technology as “a true population health tool,” Dr. Hanak declared. To achieve this, the Rush will have to closely track clinical outcomes metrics among the patients enrolled in the program, such as blood pressure levels and HbA1c levels. The health system will also track hospital and emergency department admissions to see how well the program does at reducing costs and unnecessary healthcare use.
This pilot marks Cadence’s seventh health system partnership. Some other health systems that have used the startup’s RPM platform include Baylor Scott & White Health, Providence and LifePoint Health. Dr. Hanak said he thinks more health systems will likely begin rolling out these types of RPM programs, as it allows hospitals to manage their patients’ chronic conditions without adding too much to clinicians’ already long workdays.
“I think having team-based care delivery models is the future. You arrive at better outcomes with less burnout in that way,” he declared.
But Cadence isn’t the only partner hospitals can choose from when thinking about launching and RPM program — there are other companies that provide these services in patients’ homes, such as Medically Home and Current Health.
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