Google’s Deepmind shows promise in early detection of kidney failure…and immediate takes heat for using an almost all-male training data set. I can definitely understand people’s concerns with that. On the other hand, I’m not sure there’s a deliberate gender bias here. It’s a machine learning project. Start with the data you can easily get, then refine with better data later. If you wait for the perfect data set, you might never get started.
This might be huge, CMS commits to puff up remote patient monitoring. CMS introduced new reimbursements for remote patient monitoring at the start of 2019. But astonishingly, managed to overlook the need for a precise definition of what services and devices would actually be reimbursable. Bit of an oversight that. This is going to get fixed for 2020. Also stepping up to the plate is the granite state, providing Medicaid coverage for telehealth and remote patient monitoring. What a great way to provide better care for a rural population that is often under served because of the low reimbursement rates. As if to make my case, here’s another example of using telehealth to bring badly needed help to the patient, instead of forcing the patient to travel. And legislators are increasingly seeing telehealth as a way to help rural moms. Here’s an example of telehealth for preemies and newborns that need special care.
Those new remote monitoring CPT codes really are catnip aren’t they…? New to me DynoSense, jumps in with FDA clearance for…I’m not quite sure what actually. The press release isn’t clear, but then press releases often aren’t. In the promo video, it looks like a direct to consumer offer. In any case, the sensor appears to yield lots of useful data for not much effort on the part of the patient. And that is going to be one of the keys for successful remote monitoring of chronic conditions.
Voluntis gets FDA clearance for app to help cancer patients self-manage their daily life. Interesting how in this deeper look, Romain Marmot the COO, says that oncology is basically a chronic disease in its own right that needs to be managed better. I like that perspective, thinking about one leg of the quadruple aim that perhaps does not get as much love as the others. And, I wonder how many providers think about quality of life for cancer patients when they are living day to day, outside the treatment center…?
In a somewhat similar direction, this article discusses how smart homes can become the epicenter for self-care. I mostly like where this is going, but only up to a point. I could take issue with phrases like “In the near future, smart homes will be primary care.” No, not in the near future on any significant scale in the US. There are 3 ways this scenario can become a reality: First, the widespread adoption of ACO-type payment models that shift the focus onto preventative care. Second, a large number of people go down the direct primary care path – and I think that’s really only an option for the reasonably well heeled. Third, primary care delivered via the smart home could take off if there’s a reimbursement code for it. And that means alignment between telehealth and/or remote monitoring billing codes and smart home solutions. In the rest of the world, it’s a different story. Where single payer systems dominate, preventative care has a much stronger focus. I can see much faster adoption of smart homes being used for healthcare in Western Europe than in the US. I’d love to be proved wrong on that, but I really can’t see it. And let’s be fair, Alexa’s latest skills are a long way from actually delivering primary care in the home. Those skills are really just nibbling around the edges of the healthcare problem.
OK, now I’ve flirted with the murky subject of the broken US healthcare system, we might as well get this out of the way: 40% of patients face surprise out of network bills. Many of those unpleasant surprises come from bills for ambulances. As that second article notes, many ambulance providers are out-of-network “because they couldn’t agree on a fair rate” with the health insurance companies. A more cynical person might feel that they were deliberately out of network so they could bill large sums to people who are at their most vulnerable and in no position to argue. Especially as that article also notes that ambulance services in the US used to be a public service, yet are now increasingly a for-profit enterprise. The whole idea that a company can provide services to an individual without their explicit consent and then just bill them whatever they want….that just doesn’t feel right now, does it.
When if comes to “wireless”, it’s all relative I guess…Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital in Michigan introduces a wireless solution for monitoring epilepsy. Not as wireless as the devices that I’m used to working with, but if it gets you down the path to better management of epilepsy, all power to you.
In patient monitoring, over-alarming is an ongoing problem, with 63% of alarms in the ER going unattended. I fully anticipate that machine learning is going to bring a huge improvement into the quality of patient monitoring in the next few years. Startups like PhysIQ are pushing down this path. And HBR has a review of Current Health being piloted in remote patient monitoring – in the UK, so no reimbursement code change required to incentivize the change.