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  • Writer's pictureLohman Tech

Remote Patient Monitoring: Access and Affordability in Today’s High-Tech World


elderly with smartwatch

As technology continues to enable a plethora of healthcare advancements, this progress can be coupled with health disparities, equitable access, and affordability.


For example, consider the recent adoption of consumer wearables for monitoring personal health. The Fitbit and Apple Watch are two great examples for tracking daily, personal health metrics such as daily step counts, heart rate, and sleep patterns.


According to Fortune Business, the smartwatch market is projected to grow from $22 billion in 2021 to $58 billion by 2028. These devices sync with a smartphone, which is the primary keeper of the collected personal health data, then the users (aka the paid subscribers) use an app to monitor and track progress. The user can then send or share data with their healthcare provider, typically through an office email.


Here’s the Challenge:

Smartphones are here to stay, and most of us have grown to depend on these devices. But, as it relates to older adults, Pew Research states that only 61% of individuals in the US 65-years of age or over own a smartphone. Not everyone will have equal access to the same consumer-grade health monitoring tools, and it’s now the role of the Chief of Population Health within the IDNs (integrated delivery network) or large health systems, to look towards a solution which narrows this gap.

 

Only 18% of adults with CVD and 26% of those at risk for CVD reported using a wearable device to monitor their health.

 

Consumer Wearables for the CVD Patient Population

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) puts patients at a high risk for a multitude of arrhythmias, including atrial fibrillation. For the 86 million Americans who suffer or are at-risk for cardiovascular disease, a large portion of this patient population has no access to consumer wearables due to the high cost and lack of education for how these devices work. Just two of the barriers for the underserved patient populations.


Consider the diabetes patient population (also at high risk for CVD) -- 37 million people in the US are diagnosed with diabetes. Diabetes requires a lot of self-management and according to the Diabetes Research Institute, there are almost 1400 apps on the market for helping patients with diabetes. However, now we are back to the nearly 40% of patients over the age of 65 who do not have a smartphone to utilize these app-based resources.


As for the current adoption rate among the CVD patient population for consumer-grade health monitoring devices, the latest report from JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) Network asks a key question; “What are the patterns of use of wearable devices among individuals with or at risk for CVD in the US?”


As reported in the JAMA article; “First, it is critical to identify the demographic patterns of wearable device uptake and potential disparities across socio-demographic subgroups. Second, to evaluate their role as a key technology that supports health care, it is pertinent to assess the consistency of their use and whether users would be willing to share data with their clinicians.”


Adoption Rates for Consumer Wearables

The JAMA study confirms that most CVD patients don’t leverage wearable devices to monitor their daily health activity. The survey results showed only 18% of adults with CVD and 26% of those at risk for CVD reported using a wearable device to monitor their health and overall activity, compared with 29% of the general population.


With respect to household income, among individuals with CVD, 31% with household incomes of more than $50 000 used wearable devices compared with 11% of those with incomes less than $20 000. Similarly, in the at-risk population, 34% of individuals with higher household incomes used these devices compared with 13% of individuals with lower household incomes.


Accessible Remote Patient Monitoring for All Patient Types

A large health system (or IDN), whose goal is to provide remote cardiac monitoring to its full patient population, needs a solution that bridges the health disparity gap. The HomECG+ solution was designed with health equity at its core. The HomECG+ is a safeguard for millions of patients who are at risk for cardiac arrhythmias. All the patient needs to do is place their thumbs on the sensor pads, capture a reading in less than a minute, and their providers receive the data transmitted through the embedded cellular, directly into their EHR and RPM systems. It can be used as a precursor to a wearable or Holter system, or provide peace of mind for patients and their caregivers after continuous monitoring has ended.


Benefits to the HomECG+ solution:


How to Purchase the HomECG+

home ecg AFib detection device

The HomECG+ solution is a provider-based solution. If you are among the millions of patients who are at-risk for developing AFib, make your healthcare provider aware of HomECG+ or contact us through our website and our team can help introduce the HomECG+ solution to your healthcare provider. If you’re a healthcare provider, please reach out to our integration team through our website here https://www.homecg.com .


For more information about the HomECG+ solution, click here.


Resources:

JAMA Article – Use of Wearable Devices in Individuals With or at Risk for Cardiovascular Disease in the US, 2019 to 2020

Pew Research – Share of those 65 and older who are tech users has grown in the past decade

Fortune Business Insights – The global smartwatch market size, share, and Covid-19 impact analysis

Cleveland Clinic – How Race and Ethnicity Impact Heart Disease


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