Podcast: Kent Dicks, CEO of Life365 Remote Patient Monitoring
VectorCare is pleased to announce OUR PARTNERSHIP WITH LIFE365 to expand and accelerate remote patient monitoring solutions for at-home care. VectorCare users can now order at-home testing and care management kits for patients.
The Patient’s Journey was able to speak with Kent Dicks, CEO and Founder of Life365, to discuss the future of telehealth and remote patient monitoring. Below are a couple of highlights from the interview, but be sure to click the link at the end of the post to listen to the full episode on Apple Podcasts!
There’s certainly been an explosion of the need for remote patient monitoring systems due to a burdened healthcare system during the pandemic. What remote patient monitoring trends do you see becoming more prevalent in the coming years after the pandemic?
"There are certainly going to be some beneficial changes to this industry in the next couple of years. We believe the national health emergency will be in place probably through 2021 and into 2022, but we’re learning a lot right now about how to implement remote patient monitoring and what reimbursement codes work. Telehealth did phenomenally in 2020 because it was the safest way to see your doctor and it took pressure off of a heavily impacted healthcare system.
A lot of the successful telehealth companies are primarily doing episodic care right now, and we expect them to start moving into chronic care. All these companies are going to be heading into contracts with large self-insured employers or payers, and they will be mitigating risk by connecting to the patient and doing chronic care management. They’ll need data to be able to properly manage that, which is where RPM comes in. Remote patient monitoring has done well under COVID-19, but I see it exploding in 2021 and 2022 because it’s the next logical step with telehealth companies.
Telehealth had about a 10% adoption rate in March of 2020, which shot up to 70% once the pandemic truly hit. Now I believe telehealth adoption is around 40%, but it’s clear that telehealth is here to stay and has become the new normal. People like embracing care on their own terms and in their own environment, so I think the care model of the future will be a hybrid. We’ll go in-person to see our doctors when an issue becomes critically important or there’s a real need, but if a patient is just in “maintenance mode” there’s no need to go into a doctor’s office and be potentially exposed to other critical illnesses. This hybrid model is the way things should be done."
Do you anticipate there being any kind of hesitation or resistance from patients when it comes to having their vitals constantly monitored while at home?
"I don’t think we actually need to monitor patient’s vitals constantly. I think we’re going to go a bit into a “gig society” of healthcare in the future: doctors need to be able to take a break and step away from the job sometimes in order to handle their patient loads. You’re going to be seeing a lot more of these analytic systems helping a doctor’s workload and prioritization.
But a doctor can’t handle continuous data coming in, nor do they want to. An AI system can handle that kind of continuous data stream, but unless it’s a very very critical patient I don’t think that it’s necessary. Most people will have their set of issues that they address with their doctor in-person once or twice a year, and then every quarter there’s a check-in on vital signs to ensure the trends look ok and the medications are interacting properly. Remote patient monitoring can be accessible to everybody without being intrusive in terms of data collection."
Some of the past guests we’ve had on the show commonly talk about the need for empathy in a clinical setting, and not simply reducing patients to a number. How do you balance a data-driven approach to healthcare with doctors also truly understanding and empathizing with patients?
"That’s where personalization comes in and can play a huge role. When we talk about data, it can be psychological, vital sign data, or behavioral data. Our models of data-driven care need to take into account who you are as an individual and personalize care to you, which is where empathy comes in. We can’t approach every patient with the same model and the same need because everyone has different requirements.
I would always joke with my mom that if she would just take her regular blood pressure readings and medication on a daily basis, then we would send her a Netflix gift card. People would say ‘Oh gosh, she needs to be out exercising instead. You should send her a silver sneakers membership”. But y’know? That wouldn’t have worked for her, my mom walked around 300 steps a day. A silver sneakers membership would not have properly incentivized and engaged her in her care. It’s not personalized.
So you have to understand where each individual person is coming from. If you keep on trying to approach things the from the same way with every individual, you’re never going to make ground or be able to scale up."
As we move forward, what are some of the biggest challenges or barriers that you see when it comes to the adoption of this hybrid technology model of patient care?
"Well, it’s interesting. In general, you usually don’t think that the government has any kind of master plans about these things, but I do think that there is a plan which has just taken a while to be implemented. In the US, we have some of the best healthcare in the world, but also some of the most expensive healthcare cost-wise. We can’t continue to spend like we have: we’ll be close to a 5 trillion dollar spend here in the next couple of years. So we have to find new ways to try to potentially engage people in their care moving forward.
I think we also have a long way to go with the physician population. We’ve recently made huge strides with physicians in telehealth, but with emerging technologies clinicians are still figuring out: What is my role here? Is technology going to replace me? Are my patients really getting quality care through remote patient monitoring? Which RPM solutions will give my patient the most benefit? Will I get compensated for it? Physicians are still figuring out how all of this fits into their workflow, along with CMS and AMA figuring that our as well.
But we’re truly making headway now. I think the only positive side to COVID-19 is that it’s taken everything that was on a slower path for adoption and accelerated it. If we’re going to be in a national emergency for the next year and a half, we now get the opportunities to test out telehealth and RPM and improve it. Now we can have large-scale studies that shows what’s working and what isn’t. This is going to be revolutionary over the next couple of years."
The Patient's Journey: Kent Dicks: CEO/Founder of Life 365, on Telehealth and Remote Patient Monitoring on Apple Podcasts
Show The Patient's Journey, Ep Kent Dicks: CEO/Founder of Life 365, on Telehealth and Remote Patient Monitoring - Feb 20, 2021