Doctors see some promise, confusion for patient monitoring devices: study
- Remotely monitoring patients through a continuous glucose or blood pressure monitor is of interest to 68% of surveyed physicians, according to a new survey from the Consumer Technology Association.
- The survey of primary care physicians, endocrinologists, nurses, patients, payers and policymakers found less than half of doctors believe technology used to manage health actually improves patient outcomes, improves compliance rates or causes patients to take more ownership of their health.
- One reason doctors are hesitant about remote patient monitoring is they often do not know what to do with data being collected by wearables.
The findings highlight the promises and challenges with new medical technology. Karl Poterack, Mayo Clinic's medical director of applied clinical informatics, said at the HIMSS health IT meeting earlier this year that doctors often don’t know how to interpret such data, face challenges integrating it with electronic health records and face a lack of high-quality research on outcomes.
Challenges remain on the patient side as well: only 52% of consumers in the survey said they would use a connected health device if recommended by their doctor. That number drops to 31% if a health insurance company or pharmacist made the recommendation.
Interestingly, CTA found data security as one of the biggest barriers to wider adoption among health professionals and patients. Some 56% of consumers said they are interested in sharing data from remote monitoring with doctors if it results in more accurate diagnosis and treatment, but data security remains a concern.
The promise of remote monitoring is the idea that continuous monitoring outside a clinical setting will provide doctors with a better understanding of the health condition and impact of medicines on their patients. Increasing medication adherence or monitoring interventions for other health conditions could improve health outcomes.
But without clinical evidence, payers and policymakers told CTA widespread adoption of monitoring technology will remain a challenge.
Earlier this week, CMS floated broadening ambulatory blood pressure monitoring coverage with the goal of remotely monitoring patients with suspected masked hypertension.
"It is critical that our agency closely monitor the evidence for interventions that could improve health outcomes for patients," CMS Administrator Seema Verma said in a statement announcing the proposed expansion of coverage for ambulatory blood pressure monitoring.
Verma has repeatedly expressed support for a future where data from wearables is housed within a patient record to inform treatment and improve outcomes, but only 40% of doctors told CTA they see a future where patients will use remote monitoring technology to collect data on all aspects of their health.
The trade group said the poll was a nationally representative online sample of 2,004 U.S. adults. CTA also surveyed 100 primary care physicians, 60 endocrinologists and 40 nurses, as well as health insurance companies and policymakers.
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