The movement to make the home the hub of healthcare is gaining traction, is the main takeaway from CMS’ proposal to reimburse home healthcare agencies for remote patient monitoring.
In a statement, CMS Administrator Seema Verma lobbied for greater use of remote monitoring because it would allow providers to spend more time with patients, as well as help produce better outcomes for home healthcare agencies.
Remote patient monitoring uses digital technologies to collect a range of an individual health data from vital signs to blood pressure and electronically transmit that information securely to providers in a different location for assessment and recommendations, according to the Center for Connected Health Policy.
CMS made the rule proposal as part of a broader package of payment and policy changes for home health agencies and home infusion therapy suppliers.
“We’re gradually starting to shift from a monitoring model to a self-management one,” says Piali De, PhD, a co-founder and CEO of Senscio Systems, a technology company. “A patient-centric model like this is intended to be a benefit for populations such as the elderly who have challenges with mobility and transportation that complicates their timely access to care. Enabling those who deliver personal care services in the home to be a bridge to clinical care is a step in the right direction to integrate all care: clinical and non-clinical, in a person-centered manner. Technology will play a key role in building this bridge.”
CMS recognizes that a large part of the avoidable acute care in hospitals occurs because problems are not being detected at home where they can be treated with simple interventions, according to De.
“Two key factors contributing to problems not being detected are that patients don’t clearly understand how to interpret their symptoms; and patients are reluctant to ‘bother’ their doctors even if they think that they have a health issue,” she says.
“The hope is that with remote monitoring, an artificially intelligent system or person will be able to detect and bring attention to a patient’s declining health sooner than the patient might have themselves,” De says.