November 12, 2019


Wearable technology is making big impacts in the Telehealth field.  Wearable technology collects patient data outside of the hospital and clinic walls and report back to care providers information based on measure data, instead of human memory & recall.  

Departments throughout hospital systems see advantages to wearable technology, specifically chronic disease and geriatric health management. Heart attack and heart failure patients are also a targeted demographic for wearable technology.

With the adoption of Current Procedural Terminology, CPT, codes for Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) and Chronic Care Management (CCM) by CMS, healthcare providers are more able to be reimbursed by Medicare for implementing patient wearables. The reimburse model can not only pay for a wearable, but it can also show an ROI addressing high risk and costly patients within the healthcare system.

Engaged patients are healthier patients and they reduce the cost needed to support a population within an ACO. By combining wearable technology and patient engagement, health systems are able to reduce the risk in a risk adjustment payment model all while collecting important clinical data.

Collecting a patients clinical data outside hospital walls can help increase patient engagement through text messages and secure messaging alerting the patient to their specific health information.  Patient engagement strategies can incorporate displaying personalized care plans on smart phones, remind patient to take medications, perform prescribed activities, measure vitals, etc. The wearable solution should be integrated with the healthcare organizations patient engagement solution.

It’s important to collect the data over a period of time to ensure patients are staying on track with their care plan. The type, time and frequency of messaging with a patient can be automated and crafted for the specific wearable and targeted outcome – allowing patients to receive critical information in real time.

There are many types of wearables on the market, what type and how the wearable is worn can dramatically impact the quality of the data collected by the wearable. Below is an example of the different types of wearables, their functionality and where they are worn. 

Source: Piwek L, Ellis DA, Andrews S, Joinson A. The rise of consumer health wearables: promises and barriers. PLoS Med. 2016;13(2):e1001953.

There are several factors to consider when looking at a wearable solution; quality, usability, comfort, durability and arguably most important – accuracy. Not all wearables require FDA approval, some devices can even report measurements with a significant deviation from the true reading so it’s important to research the options extensively.

There are many things to consider when entering into a patient care model that extends into the patients home. The patient experience can be greatly improved via nursing and informatics’. Nursing can make sure upon discharge that the patient knows how important the data is, how to wear the devices, and who to call with questions, this should be considered the basics. 

Home Health services can provide follow up support ensuring the patient knows how to use the devices and is collecting accurate data, this can be a key part to reducing readmission rates.

At Excite Health Partners we can help you identify areas of opportunity to utilize wearable solutions.  We start with a phased approach to ease your health system into properly using wearable technology and collecting the data.

 We help identify solutions specific to each facility needs. Below is a common phased approach we use:  

  1. Using existing hardware (such as iPhones) and automated reminders  
  2. Addition of one wearable device and integration into one EHR
  3. Secure messaging to improve patient engagement
  4. Adding additional EHR integration and additional Wearables

Through the phased approach, organizations are able to ease into wearable technology and its benefits and a low cost with immediate results. We have the experience and expertise to identify the best fit solution for your organization while increasing patient engagement, quality outcomes, and reducing costs with a healthier patient population.

Todd Klein, CIO VP of EHR Services & Digital Solutions