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April 8, 2024

From Hospital to Home: Remote Monitoring Technology and the Future of Disease Management

By Aaron Severs, Chief Product Officer

Medically reviewed by Dr. Ben Bobrow, Member of DocGo Medical Advisory Board.

Healthcare delivery is transforming, extending beyond traditional “brick and mortar” clinics to the comfort and convenience of patients’ homes. This shift is powered by exciting innovations in medical technology, including the growth of Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM). RPM uses connected medical devices to help patients monitor their health at home and stay in touch with their care team, who are alerted to changes that inform treatment. Alert thresholds, such as for blood pressure or blood sugar levels, may be tailored for each patient to flag concerning changes. When an alert is raised, a proactive virtual consultation may even prevent hospitalization.

At DocGo, we utilize RPM to enhance telehealth and care management programs to benefit patients living with chronic diseases. Studies show that patients with access to RPM report improved quality of life, and RPM can reduce the need for acute care in certain cases. DocGo’s approach to RPM combines it with robust Virtual Care Management (VCM), where patients receive proactive coaching for care plan adherence and integrated provider escalation via telehealth. Chronic Care Management Services like DocGo’s VCM program have been shown to reduce the total cost of care for Medicare beneficiaries.  We often work with specialists, such as cardiology practices, and hospital systems where our integrated approach to RPM, VCM, and post-discharge home visits can work together to provide benefits for complex patients.

Proving Success in Chronic Disease Management

For years, RPM has helped patients with chronic conditions. In 2023, DocGo’s monitoring program included over 50,000 patients with cardiovascular disease (CVD) and other conditions. Our CVD-focused remote monitoring program includes Cardiac Implantable Electronic Device (CIED) monitoring and can be extended to include weight and blood pressure monitoring and VCM. By integrating the management of implantable devices with additional measurements, DocGo’s technology is able to provide a more complete patient record with data trends to inform medication adjustment by specialists. For patients with congestive heart failure, changes in weight due to fluid retention are an indication of an exacerbation that often precedes hospitalization.

We have also developed programs to benefit patients with other chronic conditions such as diabetes and chronic kidney disease.

Consider diabetes, which accounts for 25 percent of healthcare expenses in the US today. Through the strategic application of remote monitoring technologies, providers can monitor blood glucose levels, blood pressure, body weight, and physical activity to personalize coaching on exercise, dietary advice, and medication adherence to help keep this condition managed.

In chronic kidney disease patients, RPM alerts may identify individuals at higher risk of hospitalization or progression to end-stage renal disease (ESRD), supporting intervention through our integrated approach in partnership with the patient’s nephrologist. That’s why Fresenius Medical Care, one of the country’s largest dialysis providers, joined forces with DocGo to collaborate on the development of RPM services for patients with chronic kidney disease. Again, RPM is leading the shift from reactive treatments towards proactive care.

Some of the field’s most promising advances, however, may emerge from the integration of RPM data sets into predictive models, not only to help manage chronic disease but also, in some cases, to identify at-risk patients very early on to be able to prevent conditions from ever developing into life-changing problems.

The Future of RPM: Analytics & AI for Early Diagnosis and Intervention

Many aspects of Western medicine have developed in response to the evaluation and treatment of patients only after the patient has sought out care due to noticeable symptoms. Established treatment protocols are based on studies of data from exams, vitals, labs, and imaging completed only after a patient has presented themselves for treatment because they thought something was wrong. Because of this, medical providers have optimized their approach to treating conditions later in the game. But what if we could know about a problem well before a patient experiences any symptoms at all, when the disease is in its earliest stages or even pre-disease?

This is the promise that more data brings, with AI and machine learning models that can be trained to predict the probability of future issues with an amazing level of accuracy. With this AI-powered “precognition”, we could prioritize which patients to engage early on, determine which tests may be appropriate to check for early signs of disease, and better help more people to course correct their own health before they experience changes to their quality of life. Because preventive and primary care makes up a tiny portion of overall health care costs, this form of effective and lower cost early intervention can save the industry, and patients, billions of dollars per year.

At DocGo, we have our eye on that future – longitudinal data from remote monitoring devices that produce daily readings, combined with demographics, past medical history, provider documentation, and patient surveys, can allow us to build a more complete picture of patient health. In the aggregate, across thousands of individuals, and over several years, this dataset has the potential to power AI models that add context to alerts and to automatically flag follow-ups that would be missed by standard protocols. What’s more, we may be able to identify preventive services and programs that will likely benefit an individual patient that would not otherwise have been known.

The Future of Health Care at Home

As technology continues to evolve, RPM adoption and its impact on health care is expected to grow, increasing what is possible through a virtual and mobile approach, like DocGo’s, because this data can be used to bring the right care to the right patients at the right time. DocGo is excited to support the adoption of RPM technologies as a leader and innovator – with our technology, but also with our approach to integrating these technologies with clinical workflows that allow for meaningful results in collaboration with our partners and, most importantly, for our patients.