Synchronous, Asynchronous, and Remote Patient Monitoring: Morphing Modalities into an Enterprise Telehealth Platform
Once a nice-to-have, telehealth has become a must-have for most healthcare providers. In the wake of the pandemic, the federal government expanded reimbursement, added provider types, enabled the use of more modalities, relaxed rules for cross-state licensing, and eased penalties for HIPAA noncompliance. As a result, telehealth has become more broadly accepted by patients, clinicians, and administrators.
Yet, for most providers, telehealth resembles a patchwork of point products to meet an immediate need. What’s needed now is a way to consolidate multiple telehealth products into an integrated, scalable telehealth platform.
And with significant pools of grant monies now available, the time for building, expanding, and optimizing your telehealth presence is now.
3 key telehealth modalities
The CDC describes several telehealth modalities that connect patients to vital healthcare services:
- Real-time/Synchronous: These live audio and/or video interactions between a patient and a provider are often a substitute for in-person visits. In some instances, a nurse or medical assistant may use medical devices on the patient while a physician remotely conducts an evaluation.
- Store and forward/Asynchronous: Message, images, and data are collected locally and then shared for later interpretation and response—for example, secure email communications and patient portals.
- Remote patient monitoring (RPM): Clinical and health data are collected from connected devices provided to patients. This data is then securely transmitted, in real time or not, for assessment as part of a treatment plan or following a hospital stay.
RPM, asynchronous, and synchronous modalities each have their own solutions. But there are challenges with multiple solutions.
Challenges with multiple solutions and numerous RPM devices
Multiple point products and the hundreds or thousands of devices associated with remote patient monitoring solutions bring clear challenges:
- Management complexity – Each time a new modality is introduced, it requires a new technology stack. Managing and securing different systems—along with hundreds or thousands of devices—adds time and complexity and increases the potential for error.
- Lack of integration with business/clinical apps – For the data to be useful, it must be collected and integrated into patients’ electronic health records (EHRs) and available to clinical and business apps.
- Device tracking – With RPM, healthcare providers must manage the complete lifecycle of the myriad devices given to patients—from assigning devices, and then tracking, maintaining, and ensuring they’re returned to the healthcare provider.
What’s needed is an enterprise platform that centralizes and secures data to improve health outcomes, streamline clinical workflows, increase patient and physician engagement, reduce hospital admissions/readmissions, and reduce risk.
Comprehensive telehealth and RPM solution
Instead of separate solutions for each modality, consider the value that a single, standards-based telehealth platform that supports the entire continuum of care can deliver. This platform should scale across the healthcare enterprise and be integrated into the existing health IT infrastructure—electronic health records (EHRs), PACS, ERP, CRM, third-party systems, etc.—and enable configurable clinical workflows.
You can sign on to this single interface and efficiently access all patient data and imaging studies in the EHR—data that’s updated in real time and available to other clinicians and administrators.
An integrated telehealth/RPM platform improves clinical efficiency and gives physicians the information needed to provide a seamless patient experience. It offers real-time communication via video and audio and access to data from the patient device, historical data via the EHR, and medical imaging studies necessary for diagnoses. Documentation can be configured to physicians’ needs with scheduling and routing support for on-demand and premeditated encounters.
Value of an integrated telehealth/RPM platform
An integrated telehealth platform delivers:
- Better health outcomes – Using telehealth and RPM to monitor and track vital signs can help physicians improve health outcomes for chronically ill patients by supporting, educating, and monitoring them. With more data pushed into the EHR, physicians can make more informed clinical decisions and intervene before minor problems turn into major ones.
- Fewer hospitalizations/readmissions – The Affordable Care Act (ACA) put financial pressure on hospitals to reduce readmissions. In fact, hospital readmissions will cost 2,583 U.S. hospitals that don’t meet ACA guidelines roughly $563 million in 2020, according to Kaiser Health News. Telehealth and RPM can help prevent hospitalizations and reduce hospital readmissions by providing continuous feedback to physicians.
- Improved patient engagement – When patients compile data through telehealth and RPM, whether manually or via electronic device, it can increase patient knowledge, engagement, and self-management. For example, according to HIMSS, more than 66 percent of patients say they feel a lot or somewhat more engaged during discussions with their healthcare providers when data they’ve generated is part of the experience.
- Increased physician engagement – Telehealth and RPM technology can also play a significant role in increasing physician engagement. In the same HIMSS survey, patients reported that their healthcare providers were a lot or somewhat more engaged during discussions when they provided data they’ve generated on their own.
- Greater clinical efficiency – In addition, an integrated platform and configurable workflows that mirror existing workflows drive greater clinical efficiency and increase physician adoption of an enterprise telehealth and RPM platform.
- Reduced risk – Telehealth and RPM, as well as other monitoring technologies, can document signs and symptoms that can help detect latent health issues that might otherwise go undetected or document interventions that can help reduce liability.
Logicalis: Helping to improve outcomes with an integrated telehealth platform
Logicalis leverages its healthcare experience and expertise to consolidate your multiple telehealth and RPM platforms into an integrated scalable enterprise platform that covers the entire care continuum. We’ll help you tap into available grants to build a telehealth strategy and lay the foundation for an effective enterprise telehealth platform.
Logicalis also offers services such as leasing and other financial options, consumption-based infrastructure, clinical asset tracking, managed services, and more to help healthcare IT teams better focus on clinical innovation in support of their healthcare mission.
Mike Riley is Vice President, Healthcare & GovEd at Logicalis US, responsible for helping healthcare, government and educational organizations align their business and technology needs. Mike Trojecki is Vice President, Digital Solutions & Services at Logicalis US, responsible for leading the IoT & AI, Cloud and Data Center practices.