Despite the growing popularity of remote patient monitoring (RPM) and home care, barriers still exist that prevent widespread adoption of these solutions.
Nobody understands this better than Current Health, a company that has made home health care its primary focus.
“I think two big obstacles come to mind,” said Dr. Adam Wolfberg, chief medical officer at Current Health, told Home Health Care News. “As doctors, we have learned to take care of patients largely personally. The transition to treating patients virtually – using data we can collect from platforms like Current Health – and interacting on the phone is still something new for doctors.”
Boston-based Current Health has a software platform and a variety of connected devices that measure vital signs at home and send data to healthcare providers. Best Buy (NYSE: BBY) acquired Current Health last year.
Today, the company is a $400 million company and a key part of Best Buy Health’s strategy. Current Health enables healthcare systems like Mount Sinai, Geisinger, Vanderbilt, HealthFirst, Parkland Hospital & Health System, and UMass Memorial to provide healthcare at home.
Wolfberg believes clinicians need to become more familiar with the practice of delivering care in a virtual environment.
“I spend a lot of time working with our doctors to talk not about the use of technology but about medical practice in a virtual environment,” he said. “I think these conversations will happen in any healthcare system that strives to meet its patients where they are.”
The second obstacle Wolfberg found was that not all patients have the technical access to virtual care and RPM.
Solving the problem of lack of connectivity is one of the added values of Current Health as a company.
“We provide connectivity so that the patient can connect with their healthcare provider whether they have a smartphone or not, whether they have internet at home or not,” Wolfberg said. “These types of technical barriers remain for many patients. We as an industry must work to break down these barriers.”
Another barrier Current Health is tackling with its services is language, according to Wolfberg.
“Not every patient speaks English, and not every patient who speaks English reads English, so our technology is available in dozens of languages,” he said. “We have team members who are incredibly knowledgeable … and we don’t send anyone to a third-party call center, we make sure we can resolve issues for patients in real time.”
The ability to leverage Best Buy’s infrastructure has also enabled Current Health to improve its services. The company’s plans to leverage Best Buy’s scale and resources.
“There is a Best Buy Big Box store within 15 miles of 75% of the population in the United States,” Wolfberg said. “There are 20,000 Geek Squad members. We are working really hard to take advantage of this infrastructure that resides in every backyard to ensure the equipment, knowledge and services they need to provide home care are available to them wherever they are. This is one of the really exciting aspects of the merger that we will implement in the coming months.”