KLAS: Organizations Still Struggling with Remote Patient Monitoring

By | September 27, 2020

Jacob Jeppson, Director of Analysis, Arch Collaborative, KLAS

In a time when it seemed we couldn’t have been further apart, what we needed was to come together — intellectually speaking, that is.

At the beginning of the pandemic, before everything shut down, we were fortunate enough to be preparing for our committee meetings with Arch Collaborative members. These well-timed meetings turned out to be crucial. We worked together with these members to determine what KLAS and the Arch Collaborative could do to help them fight against COVID-19.

With their feedback, we put together a survey to help us understand — and report back to the industry — what organizations are going through and what they are doing well. The findings from the survey are published in our Healthcare Executives’ COVID-19 Experience report.

Technological Dominos

The initial responses to the question around what have been the biggest technology challenges during Covid, were both intuitive and unexpected. Telehealth was an obvious concern, especially when it was practically the only way patients could get in touch with physicians.

Remote patient monitoring (RPM) ranked high on the list, which makes sense since organizations would need it with the incredible increase in telehealth use.

Those who reported challenges with interoperability and real-time data analytics probably already had a telehealth system in place. Instead of telehealth having to set up a whole new system, they could scale up what they were already doing and focus on other areas in turn.

What’s Happening Now?

At this point, practically every organization that I’ve seen has figured out their strategy for dealing with COVID-19.

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A big sign that shows COVID-19 preparedness is in the universality we’ve seen with COVID-19 command centers. Every organization we have contacted has a command center, with the exception of one that really doesn’t have the need.

Now, it feels like organizations are in a crunch to figure out revenue. It will be interesting to see what changes are implemented as budgets are cut, especially since we know a lot of vendors are doing their best to offer products and services at lower costs.

Virtual Limitations

The hope is that the whole population isn’t locked down again without access to hospitals and other medical facilities. Without the threat of not being able to see physicians in person, we’re seeing telehealth use go down. Obviously, we’re not going to throw away all the lessons learned from adopting telehealth, but virtual care might play a smaller role moving forward than we initially saw.

There are some things that physicians have to be able to see and touch. Temperatures need to be taken, pulses need to be checked, and hearts and lungs need to be listened to. Health systems have yet to implement the RPM solutions they need. And so, until we get the tricorder that can really capture all this data from somebody at home, it seems telehealth will likely run into limitations.

Patient monitoring has a long way to go in terms of hardware and software. It’ll be interesting to see how healthcare will integrate these technologies as they develop and become more accurate. KLAS experts are working to publish more in this area soon.

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EHR Satisfaction Matters

This time of crisis has provided some valuable perspective. Even with many of us working from home, the fundamentals of business haven’t changed. We still have to improve the clinical informatics health system. We still have to implement EHRs and go forward with our technology changes. Ultimately, we still need to take care of patients, and we still need to earn money — those things can’t stop.

Throughout the Arch Collaborative, we have seen many organizations that needed to press pause on their clinical optimization projects. But as time has passed, we’ve gotten back with these organizations and seen how they’ve adapted over these last couple of months.

There’s much more to be learned in terms of who’s going to be a leader or who can show us the way in making changes in a crisis. It’s still too early to know the full impact of choices and changes made during the pandemic.

I was very impressed by the commitment of the Arch Collaborative members and other organizations whom we reached out to. There is still progress forward, and these members care about making their technology work better so that they can serve their patients more effectively.

To find out more about these executives’ experiences during COVID-19, be sure to check out our full report.

This piece was written by Jacob Jeppson, Director of Analysis for KLAS’ Arch Collaborative. To learn more about the organization, follow KLAS on Twitter.