Individualized healthcare is rapidly becoming the next frontier of healthcare delivery, according to McKinsey & Company. While the concept of treating patients as individuals is hardly new, the “one size fits all” approach has been in common usage for most of the past century. Now, the Western world is embracing a more personalized approach to care based on data.

This approach promotes enhanced care for individuals at the level needed for each patient, using their preferred mechanism. The development of patient-centric technologies such as remote patient monitoring (RPM) supports this shift and delivers value for both patients and providers.

Factors Driving the Shift

Several factors are behind the shift toward individualized health care. According to Dr. David Delaney, former Global Vice President and Chief Medical Officer for SAP, three primary influences[1] include:

  • Healthcare consumerism. Patients are becoming increasingly aware of the benefits of personalized medicine. They behave like consumers and demand more data-driven, personalized healthcare than they previously enjoyed. They no longer accept healthcare decisions made on individual clinicians’ gut, intuition, and experience. In addition, patients want greater visibility into their data and key health indicators. This access enables them to be more actively engaged in their healthcare decisions and take better control of their medical conditions and treatment.[2]
  • Value-based care. Under this model, physicians are compensated for—and measured against—the value they provide, instead of the number of patients they see or the procedures they perform. To succeed in the era of value-based care, healthcare providers and organizations must improve the outcomes and efficiencies of their care delivery. Personalized care enables them to do that.
  • Adoption of healthcare technology. Over the past few decades, medical treatment programs have primarily been based on disease categories. Since patients often respond differently to treatments, identifying the most effective therapy with the fewest side effects is vital. Personalized medicine aims to develop a precise clinical picture of each patient based on their unique biological makeup. This information allows clinicians to identify variances in genes, RNA, or proteins that could affect their susceptibility to a condition. Technologies that can collect and analyze patient data in near real-time enable researchers and physicians to decipher this information and transform it into actionable insights.

These factors all help to increase the appeal of individualized care. The current focus on precision medicine also helps promote personalization, even though the two concepts are fundamentally different. Precision medicine addresses the specific characteristics of the individual’s disease, while personalized medicine targets the individual patient’s characteristics.

Solving the Implementation Challenges

Nothing happens without some challenges, and implementing individualized healthcare is no exception. However, RPM goes a long way toward solving many of the issues. Some of the common concerns facing providers include the following:

Inadequate Patient Engagement

When physicians manage patients, they need to consider the individual’s state of mind and their understanding of their condition. These factors help to determine the patient’s degree of engagement and whether they want—and have the capacity to—accept individualized care. Personalized medicine is based on data collected about the patient, and its success depends on adherence to the treatment. A patient who understands their medical condition is far more capable of adhering to treatment.

How RPM Helps:

RPM patients are provided with remote health monitoring devices such as blood pressure monitors, weight scales, blood glucose meters, and spirometers. These devices capture individual health data and submit it wirelessly to Remetric Health’s secure, HIPAA-compliant web portal. This data enables providers to

  • Deliver personalized, responsive, and timely care.
  • Intervene early when alerts are received that signal potential problems.
  • Oversee their patients’ medication compliance, instead of simply taking the patient’s word that they are following the prescription.

Some RPM systems also provide medication management services, which produce irrefutable evidence of adherence or non-adherence.

Ineffective Patient-Provider Communication

Regular, consistent patient-provider interaction is essential for successful personalized healthcare. Patient-provider interaction is particularly critical for safe recovery in outpatient medical procedures like orthopedic surgery. Far too often, communications end once a patient is discharged from the hospital. This communication gap contributes to patient stress and poor outcomes when complications arise.

How RPM Helps:

Remote patient monitoring increases the frequency of communication between a patient and the healthcare professionals monitoring the system. Patients are given a designated nurse to communicate with, so they build a relationship over time. This helps to improve the overall quality and quantity of communication.

In addition, by participating in an RPM program, patients develop a stronger relationship with their providers. A study published in the Annals of Family Medicine shows that an improved patient-provider relationship can mean better patient health outcomes. Individuals become more engaged because they know that their healthcare team pays ongoing attention to their health and cares about their progress and success.

Unsatisfactory Patient Experiences

As the world increasingly moves towards value-based care, the patient journey comes into sharp focus. Patient loyalty and satisfaction are important requirements for provider success. These factors depend heavily on the patient’s entire healthcare experience. This sequence of events begins when the patient first develops a need for clinical care, and it lasts until they recover or progress to continuous or chronic care.

How RPM Helps:

RPM helps improve the patient journey in several ways. Firstly, patients in an RPM program track their vital measurements and actively engage in their treatment plan. Secondly, they better understand their healthcare needs and are more likely to follow the prescribed treatment protocols. Thirdly, Remetric Health’s remote patient monitoring service enables providers to maintain a bird’s eye view of their progress and intervene early if necessary.

The Benefit to Providers

It’s no secret healthcare providers can benefit tremendously from individualized healthcare. Happier patients, more loyalty and referrals, increased patient retention, and better patient outcomes are just a few of the obvious advantages for practices.

The secret to successfully implementing this approach lies in managing issues such as information requirements, patient oversight, and preventing operating costs from increasing. Remote patient monitoring delivers on all these counts.

For more information on how our clinically-monitored RPM solutions can help you implement individualized healthcare for your patient base, please contact us.