Tag Archives: healthreform

Fortnightly Healthtech Update #1

Caretaker Medical is the only (deep breath…) FDA-approved, Bluetooth-enabled, non-invasive blood pressure monitor for hospital use that I’m aware of.  Now adding end-tidal CO2 via a partner, this should help to bring broader appeal.  Note the use of both Wi-Fi and cellular connectivity, which opens up the possibility for monitoring both in the hospital and in the home.  Since Medicare added reimbursement codes for remote monitoring at the start of the year, many more device manufacturers have started to focus on the home.  While accountable care and bundled payments could ultimately drive that change, there’s nothing quite like a good ol’ fashioned reimbursement to get the market moving…

On that note, CMS reports almost 100% growth in the number of physicians taking part in alternate payment models.  And here’s another change driven by the shift to value-based care: Bundled payments often cut costs by discharging patients home rather than to skilled nursing.  That’s perfectly OK – as long as patients are monitored and rehabbed in their homes.

Intermountain Health has been pushing down the value-based care road for some time.  It’s become so adept that it’s spun off Castell as a platform to help other providers down that path.

While financial incentives need to align for change to happen, communications technology also has to be up to snuff for monitoring in the home to become fully widespread.  So, good to see that the UK is pushing ahead with 5G pilots to fully evaluate the potential for rural communities.  Another (vendors) viewpoint on 5G here.

Talking of financial incentives, the FCC is lining up $100m for 3 years of pilots in telehealth and remote patient monitoring.

Also in the UK, using Amazon’s Alexa to dispense medical advice.  The aim is to take the pressure off overworked primary care docs (general practitioners).  Much easier to try that somewhere with a single payer from cradle to grave – the financial incentives simply align.  Much harder in the fragmented world of US healthcare, but I can see accountable care organizations going down this path too.  Every dollar saved is a dollar in the ACO’s pocket….

The FDA gets more interested in monitoring medication adherence.  Measuring adherence is one thing, improving it something else entirely though….

A new study looks at the use of wearables and machine learning for helping people stay on the path to overcome opioid addiction.  Since we know opioid use depresses respiration rate, it might be good to have a sensor to monitor that too. On a similar thread, Jefferson Health is using analytics to spot opportunities to rein in the prescription of opiates, and that’s no bad thing.

Not the first company to try measuring heart rate and respiratory rate using a camera, but Brainworks is new to me.  Philips has been down this path, while Smart Beat has a direct to consumer device for babies.  And you can find an app for heart rate in your phones app store already.  But, in a clinical setting, respiration rate is often a strong early indicator of impending doom.  For me, the biggest potential application for this type of approach is to help keep people with chronic conditions healthy in their homes.