MSU Health Care’s remote monitoring program has partnered with a company to bring affordable measuring devices to its patients. These devices record a variety of health data and send it automatically.
“It’s kind of the future for how we’re going to deal with medicine because … more and more, reaching medicine into people’s homes, to engage patients where they are, is much more the direction we’re seeing healthcare moving forward,” said Dr. Churlsun Han, an assistant professor in the college of medicine.
Two main reasons prompted the decision to partner with the company, called Higi Care Everyday, when they jumped into the conversation two years ago: accurate daily data and safety measures due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
When doctors see patients in the office for readings, the data often doesn’t reflect their overall health.
“We didn’t want to bring people into the office, people didn’t want to come into the office, yet we need to know how they are doing, and the best way to do that is to use technology to monitor them,” said Roger Jansen, Chief Innovation Digital Health Officer. “The more frequently and more data we can collect, and in settings outside of a typical doctor’s office, we can have a much greater level of accuracy about someone’s health status and, as a result, be able to take better care of them.”
The company offers three devices: a blood pressure monitor, a weight scale, and a glucometer for measuring various data including oxygen saturation, glucose, weight, temperature, blood pressure, sleep patterns, and more.
A 24/7 clinically trained care management team guides patients through the device setup process and provides real-time patient responses and measurement reminders.
“That relationship really drives success in this type of facility, in the same way that we trust our primary care physician, and so we can give them information that would help our overall health,” said the director of projects for care. MSU healthcare Ceirra Hoch.
Han focuses as an adult primary internal medicine doctor and uses Higi Care to avoid patients having to buy unnecessary blood pressure medications or diabetic patients noticing their problems.
“That was really my interest in remote patient monitoring, is to stop letting those situations fall through the cracks,” Han said. “So that when we have patients that you really need to figure things out … we can take them.”
The devices are delivered to patients cellularly and send data automatically, a crucial step that many patients miss.
“A lot of the patients we have…are people who are, shall we say, less tech-savvy,” Han said. “We wanted to try to make sure these devices are accessible to people with less tech skills so that people who need these devices can actually get useful insights out of them.”
MSU Health Care has seen a trend toward better blood pressure control following the implementation of Higi Care in recent months. When patients have information about their measurements, they feel empowered to take better control of their health, Jansen said.
“This is something that we know very well is effective in getting patients to better control their diseases, because if you’re invested in managing your own disease, that really gets you more engaged,” Han said.
Higi Care is one of the few companies that has an omnichannel platform with RPMs and kiosks for physical health and care managers that can proactively deliver real-time recommendations to patients.
“You’re seeing these immediate effects with patients that, I mean, it impacts their long-term health, and it’s something so simple,” Hoch said. “Before COVID we saw a kind of stagnation in how healthcare was delivered to patients, but we saw the demand for patients desiring healthcare the same way they consume other services. RPM is the culmination of greater access with technology where it counts.
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