New patient care platform to scale up remote patient monitoring
We could all do more to look after our health, but what if we enlisted that essential tool of modern life to help us – our smartphones? Once you begin to connect smart health monitoring devices to your phone, you are in fact taking ownership of your health data in a whole new way. Your health is no longer something you begin to think about the day you happen to get sick.
Healthcare players are realizing that end consumers are now empowered with remote monitoring tools that used to be accessible only to healthcare professionals. Costs have shrunk dramatically. Now that you can track the evolution of your weight or blood pressure seamlessly and send the information easily with your smartphone to a doctor, it’s increasingly difficult for many patients to understand why they should not benefit from added-value prevention services.
With the right apps and connectivity, people at risk of strokes or with a history of high blood pressure can be monitored by their phones as they go about their daily lives, with data being sent directly to the Electronic Health Records (EHRs) at the hospital. Any changes or increased risk factors will be flagged up on a dashboard and the doctor can recommend action to bring these risks down.
Yet, this is no futuristic vision. Thanks to Nokia, this is happening now in major healthcare institutions such as Kaiser Permanente, Ochsner Health Systems and Duke Hospitals in the US, the Leiden Hospital in the Netherlands, as well as with the NHS in the UK. The new Nokia Patient Care Platform allows doctors and care teams to remotely monitor patients via their smart devices. Seeing patients’ data on a dashboard helps prevent and manage chronic conditions, with doctors able to step in to alter patients’ medication, avoiding time spent in hospital if not needed. The benefit of the the Patient Care Platform is its immediacy – doctors can immediately see what’s happening with a patient.
Introducing Patient Generated Health Data (PGHD)
Metrics include key vital signs including weight, blood pressure, heart rate and even pulse wave velocity, as well as traditional fitness metrics such as activity and sleep. A care team can choose to receive an alert if, for example, a patient with congestive heart failure gains more than three pounds in one day, or five pounds in three days. Using the platform, the National Health Service in the UK is conducting a hypertension study with 1,000 people monitored from home using a blood pressure cuff.
Patient information is also well protected, as is the connectivity itself. The patient care solution relies on a set of carefully documented privacy policies, strong authenthication mechanisms and best-in-class encryption along HIPAA standards, the U.S. norm for patient data protection.
But fundamentally, what patient care teams around the world are now discovering with PGHD, is that undesirable health events can be prevented and even predicted when care coordinators have the right data at the right time and can act accordingly.
From pilots to widespread digital health adoption
Obviously, the economic incentives must also be in place for doctors and hospitals to follow patients remotely. This is beginning to take shape. In the US for instance, Obamacare showed that it was possible to shift from a model of “fee per visit” in healthcare to a new model of “fee for outcome”. If you can achieve this, then it makes more sense to increase certain services remotely and prioritize hands-on patient care for those who need it most.
Beyond the financial incentives, we must work on providing evidence that patient engagement through remote monitoring leads to better outcomes. That’s why the Patient Care team has partnered with many medical institutions to conduct research, publish results and encourage widespread adoption by doctors. This part takes far more time than it takes consumers to actually adopt a new technology.
Launching the Nokia Patient Care platform is easy. If you’re keen to learn more about connecting remotely with patients, contact us here.
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