In the middle of the twentieth century, advances in medical technology drove the majority of healthcare interactions away from homes and into hospital facilities. Less than a century later, technological advances enabling remote care delivery are returning healthcare to the home.
Home-based care saw an explosion of adoption during the pandemic as a vital tool for preserving hospital capacity and slowing the spread of infection. With demand for remote care continuing to grow among both clinicians and patients, how will these care delivery models evolve?
Earlier this year, Current Health conducted a survey of 250 US health system decision makers about their perceptions, adoption, expectations, and challenges with remote care. In this post, we summarize those survey findings and offer our analysis. To get the full survey report, download the white paper.
8 out of 10 Healthcare Organizations to Increase Remote Care Post-Pandemic
The dramatic growth of RPM utilization has delivered on the technology’s promises. In the past 12 months, respondents report their organization invested in technology that allowed them to deliver care outside of the hospital to enhance patient experience (65%), improve quality metrics (60%), prevent the spread of infection or disease (59%), and prevent hospitalizations (57%). After these gains, remote care is likely to remain a vital tool in health system leaders’ toolkits.
Among respondents, 70% reported their organization has already deployed technologies to deliver care in the home to at least one patient population. With 80% of leaders expecting their organization to expand these models in the next 12 months, the data suggest that decision makers see further potential for remote care to improve experiences and deliver value.
More Remote Care Programs for Hospital at Home, Transitional, and Chronic Care
In the shift to home-based healthcare, several types of programs have emerged. The CMS Acute Hospital Care at Home waiver has jumpstarted acute home care. And the recently introduced Choose Home Care Act could provide a wider range of in-home services to Medicare patients as an alternative to stays in skilled nursing facilities (SNF).
The majority of survey respondents indicated they plan to invest in home-based programs for chronic care (64%), Hospital at Home (60%), and transitional care (58%). Enterprise solutions must offer a flexible platform that supports clinical decision making across these areas.
Top Benefits of Remote Care Programs
Many health systems initiated remote care programs to enhance patient experiences, improve quality metrics, and slow the spread of infection. As a result of remote care, organizations have experienced an array of benefits in these areas, including:
- Reduced hospital readmissions (69%)
- Improved patient satisfaction (63%)
- Improved provider satisfaction (62%)
Challenges to Remote Care Adoption
While provider demand for RPM is driving growth across patient populations, survey responders report provider adoption is also a top challenge to implementing and utilizing the technology. When it comes to remote care platforms, new technology must be fully integrated into existing workflows and the EHR system. Find out how Geisinger addressed provider adoption challenges with RPM.
The other primary challenges survey respondents reported were patient adherence and adoption, and enrolling patients in the remote care pathway. All three of these challenges are interrelated. Difficult or siloed patient enrollment will discourage providers from recommending RPM to patients. But, if you build your RPM program workflows into existing processes and make provider education an ongoing priority, then adoption for both patients and providers will follow.
“We learned quickly that how the provider introduced the monitoring had the biggest impact on patient adherence. The provider must communicate that RPM is an important part of the patient’s care plan, and the reason she is able to go home; it can’t be just something we’re trying.”–Dr. Brett Oliver, CMIO, Baptist Health
Technology Must Enable Flexible, Personalized Care at Home
Technology plays a big role in enabling clinicians to deliver care remotely. Nine out of ten survey respondents said that digital technology is “very” or “extremely” important for delivering and scaling care at home.
As patient expectations for remote care grow alongside providers’ plans to deliver more treatment outside the hospital walls, the technologies supporting remote care must allow for scale. The solutions that help remote care programs reach their full potential combine patient- first experiences with flexible provider workflows and intelligent data insights.
Among those who already deliver some remote care, survey respondents wish their solution offered: AI-driven algorithms (29%), clinical dashboard (25%), symptom collection / eDiary capabilities (24%), and EHR integration (23%).
The Future of Remote Care
Patient and provider demand for remote care has finally replaced much of the reticence that has stalled broad remote care adoption for years. With public and private payers also embracing its benefits, the shift to home- based care is sure to continue.
As increasingly more healthcare moves into the home, health systems will need a flexible, integrated remote care platform that supports clinical decision-making.
Remote care not only helps address system inefficiencies and enables better care at scale, but it also presents an opportunity to better understand disease as it presents and evolves. This could lead to breakthroughs in treatment and drug development.