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The New York City health system selected heart health device maker Omron to supply the tech for its newly debuted remote patient monitoring (RPM) program, according to Healthcare IT News. The program collects data on hypertension patients via a digital blood pressure monitor, weight scale, and digital medication tracker, and directly inputs that data into patient EHRs in real-time, notifying doctors of any adverse health events that crop up. The kits will be covered under Medicare and private insurance.
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The hypertension-tracking kit is part of Mount Sinai’s RPM play — which has grown during the pandemic to connect patients with easy-to-use remote solutions. For example, Mount Sinai partnered with UK telehealth startup Babylon in May to connect New Yorkers with app-based virtual consultations. CIO Kristin Myers highlighted that the pandemic sparked a pivot to a patient-centered virtual strategy, telling Becker’s Hospital Review last month that “remote monitoring at home will be an important part of our strategy.
The key to all of this is providing a seamless patient experience — one that is easy, clear, and from the tech perspective, not fragmented…” Hypertension is a good use case for RPM solutions, considering its prevalence and the potential effectiveness of RPM tools: Hypertension afflicts 63% of US adults ages 60 and up — and research shows that patients involved in remote monitoring programs with clinicians lower their blood pressure more quickly than those that self-monitor.
Digital therapeutics (DTx) providers are in a prime position to land hospital partnerships, but they may first require a tie-up with EHR vendors for smoother integration. For instance, Livongo got the go-ahead from the FDA in April to use its remote blood glucose monitors to help doctors keep close tabs on diabetes patients with coronavirus. We know doctors weren’t opposed to adding DTx to patients’ health management regimens pre-pandemic, and are likely especially inclined to do so now: 77% of doctors recommended digital treatments or apps to patients, according to a 2018 PwC survey.
But a major hurdle to earning interest from doctors is ensuring that the data produced by the digital tools is embedded into EHRs so that docs aren’t bombarded with a bevy of data they have to sort through outside of their workflows. That’s why we think DTx developers offering monitoring solutions for prevalent chronic conditions will likely look to tie up with major EHR vendors like Cerner and Epic to get into doctors’ hands.
DTx firms may have an easier time winning over skeptical patients if they use doctors as an intermediary. Patients accustomed to traditional forms of care may be reticent to try or rely on digital tools that stray from the norm of treatment. But if their primary care physician or specialist gives them the thumbs up, patients’ concerns may be abated — and DTx companies could up their customer count: 75% of US chronic disease patients said they’d be willing to wear an RPM tool if it was recommended by their doctor.
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