At Carium, we’ve seen a 1237% increase in connected device usage over the past 6 months. This is largely attributed to our customers' digital transformation and adopting device-centric use cases as part of their comprehensive telehealth programs.
The most popular devices our customers are using to remotely monitor patients are: blood pressure cuffs, thermometers, glucometers, activity trackers, scales, and pulse oximeters. Medical devices and wearable technologies enable the continuous tracking of people’s physical activities and behaviors during daily life — critical during a pandemic when in-person care is more limited.
An example of a telehealth use case that relies on connected devices is “hospital-at-home” programs. These programs strive to keep non-emergent COVID patients home instead of physically at the hospital and can be used to keep those at high risk out of hospitals and clinics. Another example of a telehealth use case that relies on devices is the CMS remote patient monitoring program that reimburses healthcare practices for monitoring and connecting with patients outside of conventional clinical settings.
The pressures of the pandemic have caused an increase in demand for connected devices such as blood pressure cuffs, Fitbits, and scales. With this dramatic uptick in use cases involving connected devices, we put together these recommendations to help our customers with their connected device operational strategies in 2021, based on our experiences in recent months:
Devices can be pre-ordered in bulk, and doing so guarantees their availability. Our customers have the option to house them at their facility and distribute them to patients, or have Carium stock and distribute them so they don’t have to deal with the storage and logistics. This ensures devices will be available to your patients when they need them. This is the best option for our customers that have tight timelines, such as getting devices to patients that are discharging from the hospital. For them, having devices on-hand enables them to get the devices to the patients within a very short window of time.
Carium works with our customers to forecast collective device needs. Carium then works with device manufacturers to stock these devices on our behalf with no-upfront costs to our customers. By providing us with a sixty to ninety-day non-committal forecast, it helps us to communicate our customers’ needs to our logistics partners. It does not guarantee that devices will be stocked and available, but it does help alleviate the chances of shortages. Over the past year, on average, shipment and delivery of connected devices from our partner has been three to seven business days.
Leverage Existing Devices
The connected devices listed on our website from Indie Health, BodyTrace, Fitbit, and Contour, have been tested by our team of solution engineers, and we’ve found they are the most cost-effective and thoroughly tested devices using the Carium app. However, in addition to the integrated devices available for purchase on our website, we have also integrated with other devices as well as established industry aggregators of data from wearables, including Apple Health, Google Fit, Omron, and Dexcom. This allows our customers a wide variety of flexibility in using and recommending the best devices for their patients and their telehealth uses case(s).
Manually Add Data
Additionally, patients and/or the care team can manually add their data to Carium using any device they choose, such as a blood pressure cuff or scale that they already use at home. This allows the flexibility to use any device available including devices that patients are familiar and comfortable with. This approach does not allow for the convenience and ease of use that fully integrated devices provide by automatically entering data into the Carium app when a measurement has been taken but does provide maximum flexibility from a device use perspective.
We hope that we have helped you think through the different strategies to enable the use of devices with Carium. Have additional questions about device planning for your telehealth project? Please reach out here.