At Geneia, we like to talk about COVID bright spots.
Undoubtedly, the COVID-19 pandemic has had – and will continue to have – an immense impact on just about all of us. The toll has been great for the physicians and nurses on the frontlines of caring for patients; those who have lost a loved one or a beloved business; teachers, school kids and parents who muddled through many months of online learning; people who have been unable to access timely mental healthcare; and many more.
Nevertheless, most of us have been able to identify a COVID bright spot such as having adult children return home and learning more about people’s home lives as children and pets made spontaneous cameos during Zoom calls. As I shared in a recent Geneia blog, mine was finally being able to bring my horses home: to enjoy them every day, to look out my home office window and see them grazing, to learn and experience their habits and daily rituals that I couldn’t see and appreciate when they lived at a boarding barn.
There are professional bright spots too.
As Geneia’s president and CEO Heather Lavoie shared in her annual letter, the bright spots worth celebrating within the healthcare industry are:
- Unparalleled levels of healthcare collaboration.
- Massive investments in research to identify and create COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics.
- Acceleration of digital health.
- Increased adoption of value-based care.
Digital Health Acceleration
Digital health has boomed during the pandemic. There has been a 57 percent increase in the number of us reporting a telehealth visit, and a HIMSS survey shows 77 percent are willing to use telehealth post-pandemic.
Likewise, the use of and interest in remote patient monitoring (RPM) has risen in the past 16 months. More than two-thirds of providers (69 percent) rank RPM as the number one cost-saving tool, and even more healthcare professionals (71 percent) say it’s the most impactful tool for patient experience and care coordination. During the pandemic, hospitals and health systems have pioneered the use of remote monitoring for COVID-19 patients. The Mayo Clinic, for example, sends higher risk patients home with a kit that automatically sends vital signs “through a cellular-enabled tablet.”
Blue Spark Technologies is one of the companies that has benefited from the acceleration of digital health during the pandemic, and in particular, increased interest in remote patient monitoring. John Gannon, Blue Spark’s president and CEO, recently joined the Geneia podcast to discuss how the company has fared during the pandemic.
‘The pandemic enabled more providers and patients to experience telehealth and remote patient monitoring. Higher utilization of telehealth leads to the need to monitor patients remotely with wireless techniques and sensors. Our flagship product and platform, TempTraq, plays a role in the continuum of sensors that are helpful with remote patient monitoring.”
Interestingly, temperature is the only vital sign we don’t continuously monitor outside of the ICU. The global standard of care is to take a patient’s temperature every four hours. Yet, there are a number of disease states such as sepsis and infectious disease where patients can deteriorate in as little as one hour.
Gannon also shared some interesting and forward-looking use cases for TempTraq, Blue Spark’s wearable Bluetooth continuous body temperature monitoring platform. “About 30 percent of nuclear power plant command centers use TempTraq to monitor the temperature of their workers. Ambulatory surgical centers are using our product to monitor patients’ temperatures and potentially improve their quality scores by getting ahead of infection events.”
Gannon predicts a bright future for digital health. “Within five years, wearables and remote patient monitoring will move from being a new tool in the toolkit to becoming a broad standard of care.”
Listen now to Geneia Conversations: Redefining Healthcare to hear John Gannon, president and CEO of Blue Spark Technologies, discuss wearables, remote patient monitoring and multi-vital-sign monitoring.