From Vision to Viability: Scaling Up Virtual Care
The future of healthcare belongs to organizations that can readily monitor and manage health outcomes for larger and larger populations. Many providers and health plans have found a viable solution for effective population management: remote patient monitoring (RPM). This continuing care technology enables care teams to remotely monitor any clinical condition and ensure ongoing patient care and engagement through virtual visits, surveys and assessments, and educational video content. RPM innovators are moving the remote care value proposition forward—from experiment to enterprise-wide transformation—by scaling the technology to manage large populations and keep pace with rapid organizational growth.
One virtual care technology provider that has leveraged the power of scalability to achieve return on investment (ROI) for its customers is Vivify Health, an international digital health company and leader in transforming healthcare delivery. Since 2009, Vivify has provided a cloud-based solution that can be used for any patient condition or demographic, anytime and anywhere. Organizations using the Vivify solution have demonstrated 90 percent reductions in cost of care, 65 percent reductions in preventable admissions, and patient satisfaction and adherence rates of 95 percent or more.
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Simplifying the Technology
A key driver of scalability is easy-to-use technology. “In the age of the cloud, scalability has moved beyond traditional technology infrastructure,” says Christian Costello, director of operations at Vivify. “It’s ‘IT light’ and ‘patient heavy,’ focusing on how you effectively manage the patient who’s using the technology, including the software, physical devices, and user experience. The optimum solution enables patients of any age, health status, and technical ability to participate in remote care with ease.”
In earlier years, RPM relied on highly complex proprietary devices requiring in-home set-up. Vivify has simplified the technology by shipping a fully managed remote care kit to program participants’ homes, providing instant-on patient use. The kit integrates seamlessly with provider and health plan information technology (IT) and clinical processes.
Vivify’s platform can also be deployed to patients’ own devices, known as BYOD (bring your own device). “In bringing virtual care to patient desktops, smartphones, and tablets, providers and health plans can reach sizable populations to manage specific conditions, shape patient behaviors, and reduce or eliminate preventable hospitalizations.”
Supporting Logistics and Monitoring
Another critical aspect of successful scale-up, according to Costello, is ensuring the technology and patient monitoring services are well supported. “The equipment needs to be managed and maintained on behalf of the patient and care provider, including creating an effortless process for the patient to receive, use, and return the devices.
“Our logistics team delivers the equivalent of ‘white-glove service.’ Even before the kit arrives in the mail, we reach out to the patient with an overview of the care process. Vivify provides 24×7 support directly to patients, along with monitoring the devices and remotely controlling them to resolve any technical issues. That way, providers can stay focused on caring for the patient, as opposed to caring for the technology.”
This vigilant support, he adds, helps patients use the system with confidence. The result is increased compliance with care plans and ultimately, improved clinical outcomes.
Scalability relies also on the ability to extend the reach of limited clinical resources. With effective virtual care technology, the care team can manage the complex workflow for any clinical condition—creating efficiencies that enable continual care delivery for an entire patient population.
“Vivify has demonstrated that we can support a ratio of 150 patients to one clinician through cost-effective workflow management,” Costello says. “Our software is based on clinical logic and algorithms. It easily identifies the sickest patients so clinicians can prioritize their interventions and address any urgent health concerns before they turn into costly emergency care or hospitalizations. And, with BYOD, the care team to patient ratio increases dramatically.”
Shifting from Pilots to Wide-Scale Practice
A recent implementer of broad-based RPM scale-up is Michigan-based Trinity Health. The 93-hospital Catholic health system decided to amplify the success of its virtual care program after a promising pilot.
The system’s home healthcare services branch, Trinity Health At Home, is delivering virtual home healthcare to patients using Vivify’s Pathways +Home kits. Kits include preprogrammed wireless 4G tablets paired with wireless devices that collect patient data and facilitate virtual visits, patient education, and ongoing remote care management. Targeted for the rollout are Medicare populations in California, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, and Ohio.
Trinity was up and running with the Vivify solution in 12 weeks, Costello notes. “Now, the system is working with us to fine-tune logistics in delivering and supporting the kit and also in aligning clinical monitoring staff to effectively manage eventual scale-up to 80 percent of their home health population. The Trinity project illustrates the feasibility of starting small with patient monitoring programs, demonstrating value, and then ramping up to maximize impact throughout the healthcare system.”