How can home health providers optimize the increasingly massive amounts of data on their patients?
YARMOUTH, Maine – As remote patient monitoring becomes more accepted as a cost-saving and efficient way to take care of patients in their homes, the amount of data being collected by multiple wearables, sensors and platforms can seem endless.
What happens to all of that data once it’s collected? How do home healthcare providers make sense of it to improve outcomes?
“Data comes alive when you look at the context and collection of it,” said Chris Edwards, chief marketing officer of Validic, which offers a platform for easily accessing digital health data from remote-monitoring devices and sensors. “The data tells stories in context with other data like blood pressure readings and weight, for example.”
Data collected from in-home devices is used by home health care providers to both monitor and care for patients, as well as to manage their businesses by spotting trends and setting the margins for population health management.
When a device collects data from a patient, it is transmitted to a local hub in the home. The hub transmits the data to the cloud of the device’s vendor, where it is synthesized with algorithms to make it actionable. That actionable data is then sent to the home health care provider, where it often becomes part of the patient’s EMR. The provider is alerted to important information about the patient that might warrant follow-up.
“Health care providers now have more insight into patients than ever before,” said Edwards.
While it would seem a boon to be able to collect and use so much valuable data, many home healthcare providers have been reluctant to embrace the value of patient-generated data, citing skepticism of the data’s validity and privacy concerns. But that tide may be turning as technology gets more precise and algorithms take on more of the dirty work of synthesizing data.
“As a provider, I don’t have time to go into the vendor’s cloud and get the data that I need,” said Jason Mortensen, Healthcare Global Solutions manager at Cisco Systems. “I need that data integrated with the systems where I live, and that’s been a challenge in the industry.”
Another challenge is the lack of standardization of data collected from so many different devices. Edwards said that about 90% of in-home devices used today are not Bluetooth-enabled, and many read data in different ways.
“Clinicians are not in the business of trying to manage devices,” Edwards said. “It’s a headache for them to try to make sense of data collected from different devices.”
Validic and other companies are working on products that can make sense of that data, regardless of the device. Its VitalSnap, for example, allows patients to capture health data from their “legacy” in-home medical device through the camera on their smartphone. Validic can then deliver this data to an electronic health record.
“Patients are on the move today,” said Edwards. “(Home healthcare providers) need a way to manage their (businesses) and be able to reach out to their patients wherever they are.”