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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.


Patient Engagement Strategies for Healthcare Stakeholders

October 8, 2019

Ten Patient Engagement Strategies for Healthcare Stakeholders

Healthcare in the US has moved away from a fee-for-service model and is embracing value-based care largely driven by policies, regulations, and health care reform initiatives including the Affordable Care Act, and Meaningful Use. To maintain sustainability and remain competitive, healthcare stakeholders are developing and implementing new strategies to help them improve patient outcomes and the value and quality of the service they provide. Patient engagement, where providers and patients work together to improve health outcomes, is one such approach being embraced by healthcare stakeholders and has become integral to the success of healthcare organizations.

Here are 10 patient engagement strategies for healthcare stakeholders looking to improve the quality of care they offer:

1. Develop and implement patient engagement policies and procedures

Policies are necessary to demonstrate the commitment of the organization to patient engagement as well as to ensure that all staff and other stakeholders are aware that patient engagement is a focus of the organization. Specific procedures must be developed for all staff to follow to ensure that the policy is adhered to and the goal is achieved.

2. Develop a patient engagement framework

This framework should define the organization’s vision for patient engagement, stating clearly what the organization should look like when the patient engagement strategy is working. It will guide the organization in planning for, implementing and evaluating patient engagement activities across all departments and in all areas that can impact patient engagement. Some of these areas include; personal care and health decisions, organizational program or service design, delivery of service across the care continuum, and incorporating the patient’s family as well as other healthcare stakeholders into the process. Define the goals and expected outcomes for successful patient engagement at the individual level (patients and families), the healthcare team level, and the organizational level. The policies and procedures developed should form part of the patient engagement framework.

3. Create a culture of patient engagement

For any patient engagement strategy to be successful there must be buy-in from all stakeholders. Ensure that the organization creates a culture of patient engagement by involving staff, providers, and patients as much as possible in the creation of the patient engagement vision, policies and procedures, and framework. Creating a strong culture of patient engagement can support high quality health care.

4. Leveraging healthcare technology

Numerous healthcare technologies are available that can support patient engagement for healthcare organizations; implement the technologies that are right for your organization. Some of these technologies include:

  • EMR/EHR
  • Patient portals
  • Telephone calls/SMS/Email
  • Social media
  • Online appointment scheduling
  • Mobile health applications
  • Telehealth/telemedicine
  • Digital disease management solutions
  • Patient engagement solutions

Employing the right technology and services is key to successful patient engagement.

When adopting healthcare technologies, it is best to implement cloud-based services and software. You must also ensure that solutions are compliant with the different healthcare regulations such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and Meaningful Use mandates.

5. Educating patients and healthcare providers

Educating both patients and healthcare providers is fundamental to the success of any patient engagement strategy. Educational interventions for patients can focus on areas such as preventative health; safety improvement (including medication management); and managing their conditions, especially for those with chronic illnesses. It can take different formats such as holding educational sessions (including food demonstrations) in a hospital, clinic, or the community; pamphlets; brochures; YouTube videos; videos playing in waiting rooms; information on the organization’s website; and sending text messages with information such as medication safety reminders.

Healthcare providers need to be educated on the importance of the role of the patient in their own care and how to engage with patients. Educate providers to use lay language to communicate with patients instead of medical jargon, have open discussions on patient engagement, and include patient engagement in teaching sessions and workshops.

6. Touch points during patient visits

Look for opportunities to engage the patient when they visit the organization. There are many touch points that can be leveraged to engage the patient and improve their experience and satisfaction. Some touch points in a typical primary care setting and how they can be utilized for patient engagement include:

  • Waiting room – TV, print materials, posters
  • Reception area – receptionist (at check-in and check-out), computer kiosk, follow-up email and correspondence
  • Nurse’s examination room – nurse
  • Doctor’s examination room – doctor, posters, print materials

7. Incentives and rewards

Try to engage patients by offering incentives and rewards for active involvement in their healthcare. This can include providing discounts or entries into a raffle for meeting health outcomes set between the provider and the patient such as lower blood pressure or reduced Body Mass Index (BMI). The organization can partner with local gyms to offer a discount on membership to its patients.

8. Engage the patient as part of the healthcare team

Patients will feel more engaged and empowered when they are actively involved in the decision-making surrounding their healthcare. Interact with and enable patients to become involved through methods such as making online payments, viewing test results, scheduling appointments online, requesting prescription refills, and utilizing patient-generated health data.

Healthcare organizations can engage patients in planning committees, patient and public engagement groups, patient advisory committees or in prospective surveys to encourage change.

WHO Report

9. Empower caregivers

According to an American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) report of 2015, 43.5 million adults in the US had acted as unpaid caregiver to a child or adult in the previous 12 months. With so many persons functioning as caregivers, a good patient engagement strategy must incorporate the caregivers as well. Caregivers play an active role in the healthcare of patients, so empowered with the right education and provided with the proper tools and support, caregivers can have a significant positive impact on the success of any patient engagement strategy.

10. Measure progress and make changes

To ensure the organization’s patient engagement strategy is successful and sustained, it must be continuously measured, and changes made where necessary. Gather feedback from patients, their families, staff, and other healthcare stakeholders who have an impact on the strategy. Conduct surveys and assessments and use all results and feedback to revise and revamp the strategy. Remove what is not working and implement new viable suggestions.

If you are looking to develop or enhance the patient engagement strategies in your healthcare organization and seeking dedicated software tools for improving the care you deliver, Acuma Health’s Digital Disease Management Solution may be right for you.

Contact Acuma Health and request a consultation today or get started by downloading the Guide to Leveraging Healthcare Technology.


Patient Engagement Strategies Can Assist Healthcare Stakeholders with a Competitive Advantage

September 24, 2019

Healthcare Technology: Patient Engagement Solutions Allow Progressive Healthcare Organizations to Lead the Way to Patient Empowerment

The healthcare system is complex, involving multiple stakeholders all surrounding the patient at the centre. With the advent of value-based care driven by the Affordable Care Act, healthcare organizations and providers are seeking new approaches to improving patient outcomes and the value and quality of the service they provide. One such approach has been through patient engagement.

What is patient engagement?

The World Health Organization describes patient engagement as “the process of building the capacity of patients, families, carers, as well as health care providers, to facilitate and support the active involvement of patients in their own care, in order to enhance safety, quality and people-centeredness of health care service delivery.” Patient engagement is being increasingly recognized as an essential component of health care and major health care reform initiatives such as Meaningful Use, Patient-Centered Medical Homes (PCMH), and Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs), have patient engagement as the goal.

Patient engagement is: “Providers and patients working together to improve health.”

HIMSS

Why is patient engagement important?

Patient engagement is important for many reasons including:

  • Improved health outcomes – engaged patients have better outcomes. Patients who are more engaged in the decision-making surrounding their healthcare tend to be healthier, show better adherence to medication, and have better outcomes.
  • Patient retention -patients who feel highly engaged by their healthcare provider are more likely to remain with that provider.
  • Reduced costs -healthcare organizations that invest in healthcare technology to aid in patient engagement, ultimately realize reduced costs as technology such as the Electronic Medical/Health Record (EMR/EHR) can help to improve workflow through the use of shared information, reduce or eliminate paperwork and assure accurate information. Technology can also help to reduce errors, improve scheduling, insurance, and payments.
  • Organizational competitiveness – a healthcare organization that is fully engaged with its patients functions more efficiently, offers patients options such as online appointment scheduling, and communicates better with patients, among other things. All this provides the organization a competitive edge over other organizations that do not have patient engagement tools and infrastructure in place.
  • Improved patient satisfaction – patient engagement can improve patient satisfaction as increased communication with their healthcare providers and receiving more information regarding their health can result in patients becoming more confident about their health status and ultimately being more satisfied.

Healthcare Technology for Patient Engagement

Patient engagement is now an essential component to the success of healthcare organizations. Progressive healthcare organizations are developing and implementing patient engagement strategies and solutions that can assist them in improving the quality of healthcare services they deliver and provide them with a competitive advantage. Healthcare technology plays a major role in any patient engagement strategy and as such, progressive healthcare organizations are utilizing available technologies and implementing processes to digitally transform the way they engage with patients including:

  • Allowing patients to book appointments and request prescription refills online
  • Enabling patients to access their test results online
  • Communicating with patients via email, SMS, video calls, etc.
  • Utilizing social media and YouTube videos to provide information to patients
  • Developing patient portals that integrate with EMR/EHR systems and can facilitate patient registration, online bill payments, secure messaging, among other things
  • Incorporating data generated from wearable devices and mHealth apps that patients are using as part of their care process
  • Implementing Digital Disease Management Solutions that can collect and leverage patient generated health data for improved patient outcomes
  • Utilizing telehealth/telemedicine to provide patients with specialist care that is not available in their setting or to reach patients in remote/difficult to access areas
  • Acquiring patient engagement solutions and tools

“A study out of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine found that medication adherence increased from 54% to 73% when automated telecommunication-based reminders were used.”

If you are looking to develop or enhance patient engagement strategies in your healthcare organization and are seeking dedicated software tools for improving the care you deliver, Acuma Health’s Digital Disease Management Solution may be right for you.

Get started by downloading the Guide to Leveraging Healthcare Technology here.


Patient Reported Outcomes Enhance Clinical Care

July 26, 2019

Healthcare Technology to Streamline Patient Generated Health Data Collection to Improve Care

Patient reported outcomes (PROs) are a key patient generated health data source for patient care models that reward value over volume. PROs can add significant value in drug development, clinical care, formulary, and coverage decision making.

Traditionally, access to longitudinal PROs at the point of care has been limited at best. Digital health technology can ease the burden of traditional methods of collecting PROs – tedious surveys or time-consuming phone interviews which were sporadic in nature. Wearable and mobile devices allow for frictionless collection of real-time, actionable PROs to optimize care. For instance, patients can report symptoms or adverse drug events (ADEs) that they may be experiencing from a drop-down list with the click of a button on their wearable or mobile devices. Severity of pain and, bleeds can be reported via an intuitive mannequin interface. Images, videos, and text descriptions can be captured by the patient and uploaded for review by the care team.

Realizing the potential for PROs to improve care quality and value, the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy (AMCP) convened a forum of healthcare stakeholders to identify solutions to further the use of PROs and produced a whitepaper, AMCP Partnership Forum: Improving Quality, Value, and Outcomes with Patient Reported Outcomes

Some of the recommendations from healthcare stakeholders were:

  • To streamline the PRO collection and healthcare data management process by using common healthcare technology platforms
  • For PRO data to be integrated with medical records and claims data to provide stakeholders with a better understanding of patient health in real-time and at the point-of-care.

Find out how Acuma Health’s Digital Disease Management Solution can collect and leverage patient generated health data to improve patient satisfaction and outcomes.