What Senior Housing Execs Must Know Before Investing in Remote Monitoring

Over recent years, many healthcare and senior living communities have begun to use remote patient monitoring, and it’s no wonder. Remote patient monitoring can help improve resident health and wellness, increase efficiency of care, lower costs, prevent readmissions, prevent injury, and improve resident satisfaction, to name a few of the benefits.

Investing in Remote Monitoring Systems

When purchasing remote monitoring systems, it is important to look for remote patient systems that can connect easily with the electronic health records that a senior living space will be using. Not all systems are compatible with every kind of remote monitoring device. The transfer of data is important because data that is captured electronically allows for easy analysis. Analysis allows for finding the trends in best practices that lead to better care. Data captured by remote monitoring systems can also greatly aid in care coordination, which is a cornerstone of top-rated quality of care.

Researchers say remote monitoring has only just begun to take hold, and is poised for an explosive surge in use over the next few years. A new report from Berg Insights estimates remote patient monitoring will go from 3 million users in 2013, to 19 million by 2018.

One of the reasons for the increased use in remote monitoring is it can help to fill the gap in care, when staff can’t always be there, providing 24/7 reads on key vital signs and alerting caregivers to the warning signs for many negative health events including stroke, heart disease, urinary tract infections (UTIs) and more.

Further, staff appreciate the way the remote monitoring allows them to prioritize the allocation of their time, allowing them to do fewer privacy-intrusive welfare checks on residentsand more one-on-one interactions. These interactions are critical for both resident and staff satisfaction.

The capabilities brought about by remote monitoring are bringing a dramatic boost to care in the senior living space, while helping to reduce the workload on staff. This is critical as regulatory pressures intensify requiring senior living homes to up their game in quality of care.

Accountable Care Organizations Role

Accountable care organizations (ACOs), funded under the Affordable Care Act, have begun to crop up all around the country, with senior living spaces as a new partner. ACOs share Medicare savings with the federal government when they help to achieve the federal “triple aim” of improving the patient experience, improving population health and lowering healthcare costs.

To be competitive under the new world of ACOs, senior living operators will have to lead their organizations to the highest possible level of resident satisfaction. Remote patient monitoring can help to do just that. Senior living homes that do not rate highly with residents will lose out to competitors in their markets that do, as competition for participation in an ACO will be steep.

This year, the federal government, for the first time, began to reimburse physicians for using remote monitoring, in its 2015 physician payment fee schedule. As federal policy begins to tip in favor of rewarding doctors for using remote monitoring, it only emphasizes the need for senior living spaces to keep up. As part of the continuum of care involved in the ACO movement, senior living spaces must do whatever it takes to improve care and reduce costs, while keeping residents happy.

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