Building trust in new technology for remote patient care requires powerful device infrastructure

Building trust in new technology for remote patient care requires powerful device infrastructure

  • Technology
  • May 16, 2022
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  • 48
  • 8 minutes read

COVID-19 transformed telemedicine from an optional offering to a critical service. And while the mechanisms through which patient-connected providers changed, patient safety and continuity of care remain critical.

Leveraging smart devices to deliver essential services such as remote patient monitoring, home rehabilitation, and in-room care is the current and future state of health care. But device experiences, especially with a patient population, need to be human-centered. So how do you build trust with patients when you introduce new technologies? It starts with the infrastructure.

Updates are key to device security

Even with the explosion of Android devices entering the healthcare market, protecting devices, and the sensitive information they carry, remains a challenge. To get started, keeping a device safe by standards requires sending new security patches as they become available. However, IT administrators have long felt the pain associated with sending updates to devices: It’s too common to push an update and break a device in the field due to a lack of proper tools. When this scenario happens in business, it is frustrating, but when it happens in healthcare, the repercussions can be detrimental.

The solution to confidently send security patches (along with all other updates) is to launch them in DevOps mode with CI / CD piping. Pipelines allow you to launch staged updates so you can start with a test device, then a small percentage of your fleet, and then a larger group. And most importantly, you can also reverse the updates if the devices don’t behave as you’d expect.

Do not rely on patients for computer support

Relying on your end user to provide technical support for your device will always be a bad customer experience. And with a population of sick or aging patients, it can mean providing suboptimal care, as they neither want nor can solve problems with the device. For this reason, it is essential to incorporate an automated troubleshooting solution into your device infrastructure.

To understand how this applies, let’s look at the Esper client Spire Health. Spire provides remote monitoring of patients with chronic respiratory disease using a small, portable device. These trackers connect to mobile phones via Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) and send status alerts to providers much more efficiently than traditional monitoring. It is essential that these devices remain online, so Spire incorporated automatic troubleshooting. For example, if a device is disconnected, an automatic workflow is activated without the need for human interference.

Another form of automation that benefits both patients and providers is drift detection. Instead of manually monitoring each device to ensure functionality, the device management software that provides drift detection alerts the administrator when a device does not comply with connectivity and / or configuration settings. The results are a safer and more compatible patient experience, and providers can focus on applying their skills where they need them most instead of trying to fix problems.

Enhance the patient experience with bootable devices

Just as patients cannot be expected to troubleshoot a device, neither can they be expected to set up their devices at home. This seems obvious, but how updates are sent can create an awkward setup process if your device isn’t set up to the latest version yet.

I hope it helped ROMtech overcome this same challenge. ROMtech offers advanced home orthopedic rehabilitation by providing home-connected cycling equipment. Device provisioning occurs months before the device is shipped to the patient, which could result in obsolete application versions on the devices. Instead of asking the patient to update the device, in the way they would need it with their smartphone, but with the technology they don’t know, ROMtech worked with Esper to find a different solution. With perfect provisioning (or contactless), Esper detects when a new device starts online and the app version is updated when the device starts. Thus, patients can focus on their recovery without acting as their own computer support or asking for help.

Creating a seamless experience is critical to building trust with patients when it comes to introducing new technology. Do not ask your patients to become experts in the devices they use. Instead, create an infrastructure that supports easy and secure deployment of updates, automate workflow troubleshooting, and devices that work the way they are supposed to do as soon as they are turned on.

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