News Roundup September 11th, 2020

In the past months we’ve seen how healthcare innovators made quick work in altering the landscape in which care is provided. Utilizing an innate survival instinct to navigate to new modes of operation, Home Health is beginning to see high adoption as patients move from hospital to the home. Silicon Valley and other technological behemoths have started to accelerate into home wellness gadgets and devices. A quick overview of some of the latest developments is documented in the New York Times’ recent feature on Sheltering:

“In 2017, Google Nest bought Senosis, a digital start-up that offers health monitoring. Amazon Alexa is now HIPAA-compliant, and through the smart speaker’s health-care program, you can schedule appointments, receive lab results and check prescriptions. Companies like Withings, Luna and Sleepace offer sleep sensors, for $25 to $200, that sit under your sheets and monitor your sleep. There are numerous air filters on the market that not only clean your air but alert you to its quality. And the Japanese manufacturer Toto sells toilets that measure urine flow, blood glucose and BMI, for around $25,000; on-site stool analysis is expected next.”

The fact that there is a rush to normalize home health care is no understatement and no mere undertaking. Buildings as opposed to homes are resource heavy, requiring regular upkeep and maintenance, some see hospitals today as an “an edifice complex” like Dr. Bruce Leff a “hospital skeptic”. Fast Company documents Leff’s lifelong quest to pass health savings back to patients through an unwavering focus on home based services in lieu of healthcare delivered at larger, fixated institutions. 

Fast Company reports:

“Shifting the finances back toward the patient has been Leff’s goal since the 1990s, when he began pushing for hospitals in the United States to consider a concept known as “hospital at home.” Common in Australia and pretty much what it sounds like, hospital at home enables some healthcare services to be provided to patients directly in their homes, freeing up hospital beds for more serious conditions and bringing down the overall cost of care.” 

“You’re not using the dollar to pay rent. You’re not using the dollar to finance the hospital bonds that went into buying the building,” Leff says. “You’re actually using the dollar to provide patient care.”

In tech startup news, Seattle’s own recently met their funding goal of raising $15.6M to help support the demands of building and operating a remote patient monitoring system. The reach and extent of this kind of technology can give home health providers optimism for increased accessibility.  

Geekwire reports:

“When health providers see that a patient at home needs support because a device such as a blood pressure cuff or a pulse oximeter indicates a potential health issue, the Optimize software provides a variety of communication methods for contacting the patients, including text messages and video calls. The company’s dashboard also provides a way to trigger a bill to the insurer for the clinician monitoring. The system integrates with Electronic Health Record (EHR) software.”