Digital Disease Management to optimize care and improve patient outcomes

Data Collected from Seizure Monitors Can Improve Outcomes and Reduce Costs of Managing Chronic Conditions

Data Collected from Seizure Monitors Can Improve Outcomes and Reduce Costs of Managing Chronic Conditions

January 8, 2020

Patient Generated Health Data from Smart Watches Ensures Accurate Seizure Tracking and Reporting

Epilepsy is one of the most common neurological illnesses with estimates of approximately 3.4 million people in the US experiencing active epilepsy in 2015. Despite advancements in treatment options and optimal medication management, nearly one-third of patients with epilepsy continue to have seizures. Seizures can negatively impact the overall quality of a person’s life due to their unpredictable nature, occurring at anytime and anywhere. Healthcare technology  has come to the aid of people who have seizures with the development of seizure monitors or seizure alert devices that can detect the onset of a seizure and make an alert so that the individual suffering the seizure can be aided quickly. Good seizure monitors can also provide clinicians with detailed seizure data that can be used in the management of epilepsy.

There are many seizure alert devices on the market including seizure bed alarms or mattress sensors, seizure bracelets and smart watches, and camera/video/infrared devices. The report, “Seizure detection, seizure prediction, and closed-loop warning systems in epilepsy,” explored various seizure detection and prediction systems and noted that accelerometers such as smart watches, detect changes in velocity and direction and may serve to detect motor seizures such as tonic–clonic or myoclonic seizures. The authors found that a smart watch was able to detect 7 out of 8 tonic–clonic seizures in a pilot study. It further noted that the SmartWatch, manufactured by Smart Monitor Inc.:

·         utilized pattern recognition and feature analysis in its built-in seizure detection algorithm

·         can synchronize with a smartphone application via Bluetooth to transmit seizure data to the user’s mobile phone

·         the app can then contact caretakers to alert them of ongoing seizures

It is evident that the patient generated health data collected by smart watches can provide accurate tracking and reporting of seizures. Seizure monitor technology and seizure alert devices are very useful for patient engagement and can produce improved patient outcomes through use of the patient generated health data that they provide. The use of seizure monitors such as smart watches allows for early intervention in patients experiencing seizures, preventing injury, lessening the severity of the seizure, and potentially preventing sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP). Seizure monitors also provide objective data that can be leveraged by healthcare providers to adjust therapy, allowing for better management of the patient with epilepsy and resulting in cost savings from reduced hospitalizations.

To find out more about how smart watches and patient generated health data can ensure better management of patient care and costs, download the Guide to Leveraging Healthcare Technology to Improve Management of High Risk Patients.

Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) Offers Significant Opportunities for Forward-Thinking Healthcare Stakeholders

Proactive Healthcare Stakeholders Lead the Way to a Brighter Future of Healthcare

December 16, 2019

Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) Offers Significant Opportunities for Forward-Thinking Healthcare Stakeholders

Most of us are familiar with the term Internet of Things (IoT) which refers to all web-enabled devices – smart cars, smart thermostats, home security systems, fitness watches, internet-enabled kitchen appliances – all devices that connect to each other and to the internet. However, what many of us are less familiar with is the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT), a term used to describe internet-connected devices that can generate, collect, analyze, and transmit medical data, creating a connected infrastructure of health systems and services. Smart devices such as wearables, medical/vitals monitors, MRI scanners, mHealth applications, smart hospital beds, and medication dispensers, are all a part of the IoMT.

“The Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) is an amalgamation of medical devices and applications that can connect to health care information technology systems using networking technologies.”

Alliance of Advanced Biomedical Engineering

The IoMTmarket is estimated to grow to $158.1 billion in 2022, and the number of IoMT devices are expected to top 20 to 30 billion by 2020. There are applications for IoMT in on-body consumer health wearables and clinical-grade wearables; in-home uses such as remote patient monitoring devices; community uses including mobility services that allow passenger vehicles to track health parameters during transit; in-clinic uses such as digital stethoscopes; and in-hospital uses such as wearable defibrillators.

Frost & Sullivan in their take on the IoMT reshaping proactive and coordinated care delivery, noted that there are some disruptive innovations that are possible with the IoMT:

  • Medical-grade wearables and smart implants that communicate patient parameters
  • Virtual assistants at home to help patients and seniors with their self-care, mHealth applications, and smart diagnostic medical devices that support telehealth services
  • Smart cars that can track vitals of passengers during transit
  • Exigency support by drones for emergency response
  • Smart, digitized clinical devices like digital stethoscopes for clinicians in primary care
  • Smart hospital rooms that allow patients to communicate with care teams virtually, from their bedside
  • Kiosks at community centers to improve access to informational services, pharmaceutical products, and telemedicine services.

IoMT is continuing to change the face of healthcare and provides the opportunity for healthcare stakeholders to become more proactive instead of reactive. While patients can use IoMT to monitor, inform and notify them of their health status and notify caregivers of any issues, proactive healthcare stakeholders can leverage IoMT by utilizing the data generated to identify issues before they become critical or to allow for earlier invention. Patient-generated health data can be incorporated into care planning and used to provide more personalized care delivery to the patient. Proactive healthcare stakeholders can utilize predictive care solutions and artificial intelligence (AI) software to intelligently sort through the wealth of data from IoMT devices to deliver relevant data to healthcare providers, as well as to stratify and even predict risks and intervene long before a problem develops.

Major benefits can be derived by both patients and healthcare stakeholders from leveraging the technologies available through the IoMT. Healthcare organizations can achieve better patient outcomes, lower healthcare costs, improve efficiency, and activate new ways of engaging and empowering patients. Traditional healthcare is changing, and proactive healthcare stakeholders need to be on the right side of this change, leveraging the capabilities of the IoMT to improve their care delivery and operational efficiencies.

Contact Acuma Health for ideas on how to derive the benefits offered by the IoMT.

improve patient compliance acuma health

Patients as Partners: 7 Ways to Improve Patient Compliance

November 20, 2019

Improve Patient Compliance Using Patient Generated Health Data and Patient Engagement

Although most commonly used in reference to medication, patient compliance or adherence is how well a patient follows a prescribed medical regimen or treatment plan as it is intended. The duration, frequency, and complexity of the behavior(s) required of the patient,all have an impact on the level of patient compliance.  

“Patient compliance is “the extent to which a person’s behavior (in terms of taking medications, following diets, or executing lifestyle changes) coincides with medical or health advice.”

Patient Compliance and Health Behavior Models

Patient non-compliance is a huge problem for the healthcare industry with reports of non-compliance costing the US economy between $100 and $300 billion dollars annually, inclusive of costs related to avoidable hospitalizations, nursing home admissions, and premature deaths. Another report places the figure even higher, at more than $564 billion dollars annually. To prevent the burden that non-compliance places on the healthcare industry and the economy, improving patient compliance must be a priority for all healthcare stakeholders.

7 Ways to Improve Patient Compliance

Improving patient compliance requires patients to become engaged in their healthcare, taking responsibility for their well-being, and actively participating in their health decisions. Healthcare stakeholders have begun implementing different patient engagement strategies and tools to improve patient compliance and resultant health outcomes. However, for any of these strategies to be successful, healthcare stakeholders need to work with patients as partners and actively engage them in the process. Healthcare organizations can improve patient compliance by:

  1. Devising and implementing policies and procedures that support patient engagement as well as policies that help identify the non-compliant patients
  2. Leveraging patient generated health data to assist in creating treatment decisions
  3. Utilizing available healthcare technology
  4. Facilitating patient education about their illnesses/conditions and how to manage their conditions, including medication management
  5. Including the patient in the decision-making process surrounding their healthcare
  6. Engaging and empowering caregivers to provide patient-centered care
  7. Measuring progress and making changes where necessary

Simplifying the process surrounding the treatment regimen as much as possible will go a long way in improving patient compliance.

Patient Engagement to Improve Patient Compliance

An engaged patient is more likely to be a compliant patient. Healthcare organizations need to invest in patient engagement strategies to improve patient compliance and health outcomes. Policies must be developed and implemented to demonstrate the organization’s commitment to patient engagement and procedures for all staff to follow in engaging patients must also be implemented. Organizations must alsoensure that patients are treated with respect and that the organization feels welcoming to patients. The way patients are treated impacts how much they value the care they are provided by an organization which may also influence how well they comply with their treatment regimen.

“Engaged patients are better able to make informed decisions about their care options.”

WHO Report

Organizations should also (i) ensure that care providers are afforded adequate time with each patient so that they can really communicate with the patient to find out their health status and how their lives outside of the healthcare setting may be impacting their compliance (ii) make it a policy for providers to ask questions such as “What medications are you taking?” and “How often do you take a particular medication?” Providers also need adequate time to educate patients on their chronic conditions and how best to manage them.

Healthcare organizations should utilize technology for patient engagement which can improve patient compliance – employ electronic health records (EHRs) to simplify the patient registration process, facilitate online bill payments, secure messaging, etc. EHRs can also help providers to easily keep track of and update patients’ medications thus facilitating the smooth coordination of a patient’s medications across all healthcare stakeholders. Healthcare organizations should develop patient portals that provide patients with relevant information and facilitate interaction with the healthcare team, and incorporate technology that can make the medication prescription and dispensing process simpler and faster, such as Computerized Physician Order Entry (CPOE) or electronic prescribing (e-prescribing) tools.

Patient Generated Health Data (PGHD) can be Used to Improve Patient Compliance

Patients nowadays are generating a tremendous amount of their health care data on their own through use of technologies such as wearable devices and mHealth apps. Patients are also being monitored remotely through registered medical devices such as the pacemaker and blood glucose monitors that monitor data on heart rate and blood glucose levels. Healthcare organizations should encourage healthcare providers to use PGHD to assist with creating treatment regimens for their patients. Utilizing PGHD in this manner can improve patient engagement and by extension, improve compliance as well. It has been shown that patients were more engaged when PGHD were used during their office visits compared to when PGHD were not used. Patients who see and feel that their healthcare providers are invested in their health and value their contributions including their PGHD, are more likely to be engaged and compliant with treatment plans.

In order to facilitate and encourage the use of PGHD in treatment and care, healthcare organizations can also harness and implement Digital Disease Management Solutions that provides a user-friendly environment to identify changes in disease condition, manage medication adherence and enable easy communication between patients and healthcare providers. Improving patient compliance is essential to reducing disease burden, the cost of chronic care and improving patient outcomes. Healthcare organizations need to take necessary steps to improve patient compliance by treating patients as partners and utilizing available healthcare technologies and PGHD.

Learn more about Acuma Health technologies to help you incorporate patient generated health data into your healthcare organizations or begin leveraging healthcare technology today with this guide.

Patient Generated Health Data

How Patient Generated Health Data Changes the Digital Health Game

November 5, 2019

Healthcare Stakeholders Can Leverage Patient Generated Health Data to Improve Outcomes and Reduce Costs

Patient generated health data (PGHD) is defined by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) as “health-related data created, recorded, or gathered by or from patients (or family members or other caregivers) to help address a health concern.” This includes biometric data, lifestyle choices, treatment history, health history, and symptoms. This is a deviation from the previous scenario in healthcare where the clinician was responsible for all the data collection, typically done during a patient’s visit to the office. Today, a lot of healthcare data is being generated by patients on their habitual living environment.

Why the Rise in Patient Generated Health Data?

Patient generated health data (PGHD) is increasingly becoming a mainstay in healthcare and its growth is being driven by  the significant advances in healthcare technology and the proliferation and popularity of consumer health devices which are becoming more affordable. Patients are now able to collect health-related data 24/7 and/or enter data into some software application which allows them to keep track of fitness and other health goals. Health devices like the Fitbit, Apple Watch, and smart clothing, are wearables that collect data such as steps and heart rate. There are mobile applications that collect data on lifestyle metrics such as caloric intake, physical activity, hydration, tobacco and alcohol use, and medication adherence. There are also registered medical devices such as the pacemaker and blood glucose monitors that monitor data on heart rate and blood glucose levels. Some of these devices allow for remote monitoring where data is collected remotely and transmitted to the healthcare provider.

76% of patients believe that wearables have the potential to help them better manage their health and potentially improve it.

Accenture Report

Big data analytics is another factor that is driving the increase in PGHD. A lot of investment is going into big data analytics due to its potential to offer advanced intelligence and objectivity. The ability to collect and analyze large quantities of health data is invaluable to population health management (PHM) and precision medicine. The National Institute of Health has launched an All of Us ResearchProgram in an effort to “gather data from one million or more people living in the United States to accelerate research and improve health.” PGHD will play a big role in this and other research programs that are seeking for large amounts of patient data collection.

Leveraging Patient Generated Health Data can Benefit your Healthcare Organization

Patient generated health data (PGHD) is here to stay and healthcare stakeholders can harness the continuous stream of PGHD that is available and leverage it to improve patient care. PGHD can provide clinicians with valuable insights into the health of patients outside of the care setting. Leveraging PGHD can benefit the patient, the provider, and the healthcare organization in various ways including:

  1. Disease management: PGHD can help providers to identify trends and outliers, allowing for more efficient data analysis and monitoring. PGHD is especially beneficial in the management of chronic conditions where remote monitoring devices generate data that can help providers to intervene earlier enabling better tracking of the progression of disease, preventing complications, and avoiding hospital admissions and readmissions.
  2. Improve patient outcomes: this comes from proactive monitoring of changes in routine, identification of exacerbations before they result in acute episodes and timely interventions.
  3. Improve patient engagement: the use of PGHD by providers increases patient engagement. A 2016 survey by WebMD and Medscape Education found that 65% of providers reported that their patients were more engaged when PGHD was used during their office visits. The survey also found that 97% of patients were more likely to measure, collect, and provide PGHD to their providers if they felt that the data will be used to develop their treatment plan or care.
  4. Reduce costs: the more efficient and timely treatment and improved outcomes associated with the use of PGHD will in turn result in reduced costs from fewer admissions and readmissions. Providers will also avoid penalties from high readmission rates.
  5. Support value-based care reimbursements: with the move towards value-based care, clinicians can benefit financially for using PGHD in patient care through Advanced Payment Models (APMs). The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will reimburse providers for remote patient monitoring services such as the monitoring of physiological factors like weight, blood pressure, pulse oximetry, and respiratory flow rate as per the 2019 Physician Fee Schedule.
  6. Improve analytics: continuous data on patients provided by PGHD can help to develop predictive analytics models based on advanced algorithms
  7. Compliance with federal regulations: incorporating PGHD into the care they provide will help healthcare providers and organizations comply with federal regulations. Presently, the CMS through the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) requires that healthcare providers integrate PGHD into Electronic Health Records (EHRs) using Certified Electronic Health Record Technology, although the CMS is seeking comments on this requirement in its 2020 Quality Payment Program Proposed Rule and Request for Information for 2021.

The healthcare industry is changing and is moving towards more patient-centred care, further patient engagement, and increased use of healthcare technologies. A big part of this change is patients generating their own data on their health status and conditions. Progressive healthcare stakeholders can digitally transform their organizations and derive numerous benefits from leveraging PGHD to improve the care they provide and add to the vast amount of information needed to improve health systems and make breakthroughs in areas such as precision medicine.

Learn more about Acuma Health technologies to help you incorporate patient generated health data into your healthcare organizations or begin leveraging healthcare technology today with this guide.

Medication Management to Reduce Avoidable Readmissions

October 23, 2019

Improve Patient Compliance in Medication Management

Patients with chronic illnesses are usually placed on a chronic care management plan that includes multiple medications. Proper medication management, including compliance with the care management plan, is integral to successfully treating high risk patients with chronic conditions and minimizing hospital admissions and readmissions.

Non-compliance or non-adherence to medication is of global concern in healthcare and is associated with poorer patient outcomes including hospital readmissions and death. There are reports of medication non-adherence affecting 50% of patients and resulting in an increased likelihood of hospitalization by up to 134% for diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Medication management can improve patient compliance and therefore significantly reduce avoidable hospital admissions and readmissions. Patient compliance with respect to medication management could be improved in ways such as:

  • Providing support so that patients can better understand their disease and its management
  • Providing medication management counselling for caregivers
  • Incorporating pharmacists into the care team as coaches for drug therapies
  • Leveraging healthcare technology such as automated medication dispensers and text message reminders

Medication Management in Reducing Avoidable Readmissions Effectively

With non-adherence to medication comes increased hospital readmissions and associated costs. Healthcare organizations, spurred by regulations of the Affordable Care Act which instituted penalties for excessive 30-day hospital readmission rates for certain conditions, are implementing programs to reduce these rates. The Reducing Avoidable Hospital Readmissions Effectively (RARE) campaign was one initiative within the Minnesota Hospital Association aimed at reducing avoidable hospital readmissions. The RARE campaign saw healthcare stakeholders in the state of Minnesota collaborating to combat the issue of avoidable hospital readmissions within 30 days of hospital discharge by focussing on five key strategies:

  1. Comprehensive discharge planning
  2. Medication management
  3. Patient and family engagement
  4. Transition care support
  5. Transition communications

The medication management strategy included educating patients to ensure that they knew about their medications and how to take them properly, providing a written list of instructions to both the patient and his/her family, and collecting a list of the medications a patient was taking and updating it with any changes that was made in the hospital so that the next healthcare provider had the patient’s most current medications. Additionally, patients with multiple prescribed medications (greater than 5), or more than two medication changes in the hospital, were referred for follow-up visits with other healthcare professionals to help them manage their prescriptions.

The RARE campaign was a success with the Minnesota Hospital Association reporting 9,981 readmissions avoided, 39,924 nights where patients slept in their own beds, and $87.9 million in savings between 2009 and the second quarter of 2014.

Healthcare Technology to Support Medication Management

The use of healthcare technology is becoming mainstream and essential. As in many other aspects of healthcare, technology can be leveraged to support medication management for the benefit of all healthcare stakeholders. Some ways in which healthcare technology can be used to support medication management include:

  • Electronic Health/Medical Records (EHR/EMR)–can be used to accumulate and update medications thus facilitating the smooth coordination of a patient’s medications across all healthcare stakeholders.
  • Electronic Decision Support Systems (EDSS)–these are tools that can be used to support healthcare providers in making evidence-based decisions at the point of care and to provide patient-specific recommendations.
  • mHealth apps – these can be utilized to remind patients to pick up or renew their prescriptions, take medication based on their prescribed medication schedule, keep track of their medications, and record progress.
  • Technology to support different aspects of medication management–Computerized Physician Order Entry (CPOE) or electronic prescribing (e-prescribing) tools can be used to support medication ordering, bar coding can support nurses in medication administration, and there are tools for assisting pharmacists with reviewing medication orders and dispensing.
  • Error monitoring – Computerised systems and applications can be utilized to facilitate documentation and detection of Adverse Drug Effects and support the voluntary reporting of medication errors to regulatory bodies.
  • Text messages – can be used by healthcare providers to remind patients of when and how to take their medications as well as remind them to refill and/or renew their prescription
  • Automated medication dispensers – dispense pre-packaged medication in the right dose and at the right time. These machines can remind patients of the time to take their medications as well as collect data on missed doses that can be fed back to the patient’s healthcare provider for use in their care management.

Healthcare technology is revolutionizing the way healthcare services are provided and is beneficial to the patient and all healthcare stakeholders. There are many tools that can be utilized to manage health conditions and improve patient outcomes. See how Acuma Health’s Digital Disease Management Solution can help your healthcare organization improve outcomes and optimize care. For more strategies on improved management of patients, download the Guide to Leveraging Healthcare Technology.