Survey: ACOs not sold on RPM technology

By Aditi Pai
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visi-products Example of RPM technology: Sotera's ViSi Mobile

In a recent survey, more than half of the accountable care organizations interviewed were unsure of the effectiveness of remote patient monitoring and its ability to generate a positive return on investment.

This week, Spyglass Consulting released a study on remote patient monitoring based on telephone interviews from more than 100 healthcare organizations including home health agencies, standalone community hospitals, multi-hospital delivery systems, government agencies and payers. A majority of the organizations in the study are in the process of becoming or already are accountable care organizations (ACOs). Questions were aimed at learning how these organizations viewed remote patient monitoring (RPM). The study began in March 2013 and ran for two months.

While RPM technology can be used for disease management, it also reduces the risk of hospital readmissions. Of those interviewed, 55 percent used RPM technology to address: penalties focused on excessive readmissions of Medicare patients, value-based financial incentives for chronic disease management and patient-centered care models focused on patients taking a more active role in managing their health.

This study also found that ACOs face challenges integrating RPM technology with existing clinical care processes and ACOs lack the tools to turn raw patient data into clinical analytics and decision support tools.

Spyglass Consulting released its last report on remote patient monitoring in 2009, which also included around 100 organizations. At the time, a large majority of the organizations using RPM technology at the time saw positive benefits and outcomes with chronically ill patients. That group surveyed also found the technology easier to use and less expensive.

In April, a report from research analyst firm GBI Research predicted that by 2019 the remote patient monitoring market in the US will reach $296.5 million, up from $104.5 million in 2012. Just a month earlier, Kalorama Information released a report stating that the the US market for remote patient monitoring increased from $8.9 billion in 2011 to $10.6 billion in 2012, an increase of 19 percent. Kalorama’s numbers looked at what the firm calls “advanced remote patient monitoring”, which it defines as technologies that have wireless or remote capabilities and can potentially interact directly with an EHR.