Promoting Cardiac Health Equity for Patients: A Solution that Removes Technology Obstacles
There are several iterations of ‘health equity’ floating around these days but they all share a basic common goal: Provide adequate resources and opportunities for people to access healthcare and knowledge to be as healthy as possible. In 2018, The American Medical Association created a Health Equity Task Force, whose vision is to have communities that are thriving and where “resources work well, systems are equitable….and everyone has the power to achieve optimal health” and where providers are equipped with the “tools and resources to confront inequities as well as embed and advance equity within and across all aspects of the health system.”2
Knowing that technology is an inevitable part of healthcare, how are we addressing the disparities among key stakeholders such as the aging population and individuals of lower socioeconomic status?
The utilization of telehealth has increased significantly over the last several years and an estimated 30 million patients will use remote patient monitoring (RPM) tools by 2024.3 It is important to note that this new trend of patients with more access to at-home care, also comes with an increased responsibility placed on those patients. Medication management, collection of vital signs, and documentation…patients are running their own at-home clinics and playing the role of patient, pharmacist, and provider. With the booming telehealth industry, patients are now also being asked understand software and basic hardware or network connectivity so they can communicate with their providers.
The Digital Health Equity Framework proposes that there should be equal access, as well as outcomes “irrespective of age, gender, ethnicity, income, or geography” and that “there has been a lack of attention to health equity in the development of digital health solutions.”4
The tools used to collect physiologic data from patients not only need to be easy to use, but easy to transmit data as well. Take a scale that is connected to a RPM platform as the perfect example: the patient steps on the scale and steps off the scale. Now ask the same patient, who is at risk for a cardiac arrhythmia such as atrial fibrillation (AF), to take an at-home ECG reading and here is where things get complicated…here is where patients begin toggling, downloading, uploading, saving, and sending. Frustrating to the point where “AF” now stands for Aggravation Factor.
Today, there is a better way. The HomECG+ was developed to serve as a conduit between patients and their providers, while answering the challenge of being inclusive across all patient populations. It was designed to break down the barrier of non-compliance due to complex technology features and requirements. Here are the key differentiators between the HomECG+ and other handheld, portable ECG devices on the market:
No need for a phone/app
An ECG device that utilizes an “easy to use” app is still a device that needs a phone to function. Not only does it require a cell phone, but also the latest version of software and data to transmit. Patients should not be required to purchase an expensive version of a cellular device and use their data plan to have access to ECG technology.
The HomECG+ is a stand-alone device that has built-in cellular capability and does not require additional use of technology by the patient.
No need for wifi
The concept behind patient-centered medical devices that are used outside the walls of a healthcare facility is that patients have the freedom to collect their own vital signs from anywhere at any time. Using a healthcare technology that requires a patient to be tethered to Wi-Fi for successful use, defeats the purpose of RPM utilization. The hōm ecg+ doesn’t rely on Wi-Fi connectivity to collect or transmit data to the provider.
No need to send data
It is as easy as stepping on and off the scale. Patients simply turn the device on, record an ECG in less than a minute, and the device takes care of the rest. This medical-grade, FDA-cleared tool will send a PDF of the ECG rhythm directly to the medical record via RPM. The hōm ecg+ removes the onus from the patient and places it back in the design of the technology, where it belongs.
Health disparities continue to be a priority for healthcare leaders around the U.S. and the focus has shifted to ensuring that the utilization of technology is supporting patient independence and access to the best possible care. The at-risk cardiac patient population, regardless of age or access to resources, deserves a tool that promotes cardiac health and allows for early detection of arrhythmias like AF.
The Hom ECG+ has set itself apart from other ECG devices on the market as a stand-alone technology that bridges the gap between patients and access to a tool that truly supports patient autonomy.
For more information about the Hom ECG+ solution, click here.
The HomECG+ is indicated for self-testing by patients who have been diagnosed with or are susceptible to developing atrial fibrillation and who would like to monitor and record their heart rhythms on an intermittent basis.