The Future of Cardiovascular Health: RPM Technology
Some patients at Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston regularly transmit pulmonary artery pressure (PAP) readings to their cardiovascular specialists.
Despite the promises made by remote patient monitoring (RPM) technology for health outcome improvement, it has failed to deliver what some health care providers have hoped as it has reimbursement restrictions. Concerns for this technology were raised by patients to their Boston personal injury lawyer. However, CMS is slowly lowering the barriers as research says that RPM technology can reduce the incidence of hospitalization, readmissions, as well as duration of hospital stays for those suffering from chronic illnesses.
According to Akshay Desai, M.D., Brigham Cardiovascular Consultants’ associate director and an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School, Brigham and Women’s Hospital recently began using CardioMEMS HF System, an implanted device that transmits significant data to the heart failure clinical team. In addition, they also put up Merlin.net which is a patient care network portal that correlates data from the implanted devices with the PAP readings which you can see on the CardioMEMS HF System.
Dr. Desai said that several heart failure programs also utilize tele-monitoring programs. Most of them are focused on patients’ daily weight measurement as they believe that if there is rapid weight change in the short term, this may be due to weight gain related to fluids which can be adjusted through giving appropriate diuretics.
“That works pretty well in the short term. The trouble is, all of us have fluctuations in weight over longer time intervals, so more gradual changes are less informative, and there are confounding factors in heart failure patients,” Dr. Desai said.
Furthermore, he noted that while many hospitals have these programs, it has been difficult to prove that tele-monitoring of vital clinical manifestation of the heart failure actually reduces the number of hospitalization. He also noted that heart failure management programs are very complex and comprehensive as it includes follow-ups from specialty nurses and other features.
Desai said that Brigham and Women’s Hospital’s mode of monitoring patients have potential as it features direct analysis from cardiologists. He even explained that the most appropriate measure of fluid status is the filling pressure as the pressure increases with the volume of fluid in the heart. Thus if cardiologists determine that there is deviation in the heart’s pressure, then they’d know that appropriate medical intervention is necessary.