Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Remote patient monitoring used by third of providers, says KPMG

Steve Rogerson
April 27, 2017
 
About a third of healthcare providers are using remote patient monitoring and video-based virtual care services to improve patient engagement and access to care, according to US tax, audit and advisory firm KPMG. And more of these programmes are likely to come, its survey found.
 
“We are seeing a strategic shift in how providers are thinking about investment in digital health capabilities including virtual health platforms, enhanced portals and web interactions as well as scheduling and referral management tools to improve patient experience, increase access to care and provide continuity of care,” said Michael Beaty, a principal at KPMG.
 
Technology can remove the constraint of geography in healthcare, improving patient engagement, increasing convenience and providing a higher quality treatment to remote areas. Despite being used interchangeably, telemedicine connects the medical specialist-to-primary care or emergency department clinicians through technology. Telehealth connects clinicians directly with patients in their home, on mobile devices, or in community locations, such as retail pharmacies or employer health stations.
 
Approximately 31 per cent of healthcare organisations presently use video-based services and 34 per cent offer remote patient monitoring, the survey conducted by HIMSS Analytics found. Expansion plans for these services could drive future use with another 44 per cent seeing video-based services and 48 per cent planning for remote patient monitoring.
 
About half of providers said they had clinician-to-clinician consults or continuous monitoring through tele-stroke or tele-ICU offerings. The survey found some variance in the pace of adoption of virtual care, but three-quarters of providers have some form of telemedicine or telehealth offering but only a fraction call their programme advanced.
 
About a quarter of survey respondents said maintaining a sustainable business or financial model was the biggest challenge, followed by adoption issues with clinicians (17 per cent), defining a strategy to implement virtual care (12.2 per cent), and regulatory compliance, and risk and liability concerns (12.2 per cent).
 
“The business case for implementing a virtual care programme is improving as healthcare evolves towards value-based care incentives from limited fee-for-service reimbursements,” said Richard Bakalar, KPMG managing director. “It’s more efficient for high cost and limited clinical staff as well as other onsite resources, while making it more convenient and timely for patients to receive their care.”
 
The survey, conducted in February and March this year, asked 147 healthcare executives about the state of adoption for virtual care services and explored the top challenges hospitals and healthcare systems face in digital health. Respondents were comprised of the C-suite, IT and clinical leaders.
 
Growing demand for quality healthcare has revolutionised the health monitoring space through the use of wearable and ingestible sensors, according to a report from Frost & Sullivan. Emphasis on preventive health has lead to the development of prognostic sensors for applications in the medical space. This has lead to the shift of the healthcare business model from a diagnostic one to more prognostic and preventive health and wellness. Sensor adoption is crucial to this evolution, facilitating advanced diagnostics, treatment and patient monitoring. Wearable and implantable biosensors, says the report, will emerge as the key enablers for device innovation, as well being commercialised as prognostic tools.