Withings Health Solutions has announced its remote patient monitoring tech will be put into play by Athenahealth, a company offering electronic health record (EHR) solutions. As part of the arrangement, Athenahealth Marketplace users will be able to place standard orders for RPM services from the Athenahealth HER solution; Withings also will ship its cellular devices (such as the Body Pro scale and BPM Connect Pro blood pressure monitor) right to patient homes.
To learn more about the arrangement and how the technology can benefit clinical projects, Outsourcing-Pharma connected with Antoine Robilard, vice president of health solutions at Withings.
OSP: Could you please talk about some of the challenges associated with patient monitoring, in the age of surging popularity for DCTs?
AR: The pandemic was a catalyst for the growing adoption of remote patient monitoring and telehealth and while it has surged in popularity, challenges remain that can prevent its deployment at scale. It is true for DCTs just as much as it is for all use cases of remote patient monitoring.
There are a few challenges that we have identified throughout our work with various actors in the DCT and RPM industries: adoption, engagement, and retention. Mainly, how do you motivate the patient to take its first measurement and then to continue taking measurements regularly and for the long term? For this data to exist in the first place, patients need access to medical-grade health devices in the comfort of their homes that are easy for them to use and provide motivation for them to use every day.
While technology has driven remote patient monitoring, it can also be a barrier to non-tech-savvy patients. We believe that the missing ingredients here are a dose of simplicity and a focus on patient experience.
Another challenge would be the ability for clinical teams to have access to this patient-generated data and, more importantly, to channel and analyze it efficiently and in intuitive ways. Here again, simplicity is key, as well as a robust integration into existing clinical workflows.
OSP: How does Withings’ RPM improve upon other solutions currently out there?
AR: Withings RPM simplifies the process for both care teams and patients. To date, RPM solutions have typically concentrated on provider integration capabilities without optimizing the experience for patients that ultimately power the program. You can build the best monitoring program out there, at the end of the day if your patient doesn't use their devices and generate data then the whole thing is useless.
Withings RPM improves upon other solutions by addressing both sides of the equation. It allows patients to:
- Receive beautiful cellular-enabled devices that require no set-up, are extremely easy to use and autonomously transmit private, secure data.
- Gain access to the Withings HealthMate app and to an AI-powered digital assistant, that guides them through all aspects of a program including device tutorials and guides, access to their health data and measurement plans, as well as educational content about their chronic disease.
- Improve compliance through automated alerts to encourage measurements and gamification messages and rewards for making progress.
- Improve outcomes through an increased frequency of data that allows healthcare professionals to provide better care.
- Conveniently manage their health conditions and relationships with the extended health care team.
Withings RPM allows providers to:
- Dramatically simplify the onboarding process – With a few simple clicks, patient devices can be ordered and sent to recipients in moments. Physicians can also design care plans and set goals for individual patients in seconds.
- Easily manage data from multiple patients with automated alerts and reminders covering both patient health data and program compliance indicators. These include alerts on device usage (both initial set up and ongoing use) as well as alerts when patient vitals require action.
- Improve patient engagement with the ability to send regular communications to patients via their preferred channel of communication (SMS, phone, and in-app video calls) that act as a reminder, provide additional advice, and encourage engagement.
- Optimize their billing process – Withings RPM automatically tracks activity against CPT reimbursement codes and produces monthly reports with the data required to bill insurers through Withings RPM or thanks to an improved EHR billing integration.
- Keep their clinical workflow unchanged with a solution that works with virtually any EHR solution, provides a single sign-in option, directly displays the captured data in the patient’s chart, and allows to review alerts directly in the EHR system.
- Spend the majority of their time assessing clinical data without having to dedicate time educating patients on the use of devices or completing billing paperwork.
- Incorporate sleep tracking and glucose measurements into RPM programs as Withings RPM becomes compatible with the Withings Sleep Mat and preferred partner glucometer in addition to weight and blood pressure tracking.
OSP: Can you please share how Athenahealth came to partner with Withings?
AR: We are on a mission to remove complexity and friction for all stakeholders of an RPM program. It means making it easy for the patient, of course, but also making it easy for the provider and the care team to monitor this patient. Part of making it easy for the care team is to integrate the solution directly into their existing clinical workflow - and that means bringing the solution where the care teams spend a lot of their time: their EHR. We are very proud of this integration, because now providers can deploy our RPM solution in a few clicks and onboard patients right away, directly from their EHR.
OSP: You mention that the technology offers an emphasis on simplicity—could you please elaborate?
AR: In the logistic world we talk a lot about the “last mile” challenge. In the healthcare industry, and specifically, when it comes to remotely monitoring patients, we believe that the challenge is actually the first step. The first step for the patient towards taking care of their health and their chronic condition. That first step can be a complicated journey as technology can be a barrier to some of them.
Not everybody knows how to set up a connected health device, or what to do with it. But when onboarding a patient into an RPM program, it is critical to ensure that his journey towards the first measurement is as frictionless as possible, so that you reduce the risk of the patient losing motivation for this program. This is why simplicity is a key ingredient of success.
Withings RPM has been designed to take the complexities out of remote patient monitoring programs and make their deployment effortless for physicians and convenient as well as comfortable, simple, and enjoyable for patients. The devices themselves are elegantly designed and clinically validated devices and, thanks to cellular connectivity, they work straight out of the box with no need for setup or configuration. They also automatically transmit data directly to providers and physicians.
The RPM solution is designed to naturally fit within existing clinical workflows. It can integrate with almost any EHR solution and uses a single log-in system which means providers do not need additional log-in credentials
OSP: How do you balance ease of use (for patients and site staff) with the tech being robust enough to collect the necessary data?
AR: I don’t think that ease of use and robustness are mutually exclusive, it’s all about designing the right user experience. Withings has more than 13 years of experience creating elegantly designed medical-grade devices that fit seamlessly into consumer lifestyles. Our portfolio of devices includes connected scales, hybrid watches, smart thermometers, blood pressure monitors, and sleep trackers that can capture up to 35 vital health parameters such as blood pressure, weight, heart rate, activity levels, and sleep patterns as well as provide an ECG for heart health. With features designed to encourage ongoing use, it boasts some of the best user retention rates on the market and is the number one smart scale manufacturer in the US.
With many RPM solutions relying on clunky devices reminiscent of hospital equipment, the aesthetics, and convenience of connected devices are largely overlooked despite their importance in the success of programs. Withings RPM leverages the company’s decades of experience in engaging tens of millions of users to take continuous health measurements with compliance strategies built directly into the solution.