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

COVID-19 transforms telemedicine from an optional offering to a critical service. And even if the mechanisms by which providers are connected to patients have changed, patient safety and continuity of care remain critical.

The use of intelligent devices to provide 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 the patient population, need to be human -centered. So how do you build patient trust when introducing new technology? It starts with the infrastructure.

Updates are the key for device security

Despite the explosion of Android devices entering the healthcare market, securing the devices – and the sensitive information they carry – remains a challenge. For starters, maintaining a device’s security up to standards requires sending out new security patches as they apply. However, IT managers have long felt the pain associated with sending updates to devices – it’s very common to push an update and destroy a device in the field due to a lack of adequate tooling. If this happens in a business scenario, it can be frustrating, but if it happens in health care, the effects can be devastating.

The solution for reliably delivering security patches (along with all other updates) is to release them in a DevOps manner with CI / CD pipelines. Pipelines allow you to roll out updates in stages so you can start with a test device, then a small percentage of your fleet, and then a larger group. And just as important, you can also restore updates if devices don’t work as you expected.

Don’t rely on patients for IT support

Relying on your end-user to provide technical device support is always a bad customer experience. And in a sick or elderly patient population, it can mean providing poor care because they don’t want or can’t resolve device issues. For this reason, it is important to perform automatic troubleshooting of your device’s infrastructure.

To understand how this applies, let’s look at Esper’s client Spire Health. Spire provides remote patient monitoring for patients with respiratory illness through a small, handy device. These trackers are connected to mobile phones via Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) and send status alerts to providers more efficiently than traditional monitoring. It’s important that these devices stay on the internet, so Spire has built in automatic troubleshooting. For example when a device goes offline, an automatic workflow will be triggered without the need for human intervention.

Another form of automation that benefits patients and providers is drift detection. Instead of manually monitoring each device to ensure functionality, device management software that provides drift detections alerts the administrator if a device does not comply with connection and or configuration settings. The results are a safer, follow-up patient experience and providers can focus on using their skills where most needed rather than trying to troubleshoot.

Improve the patient experience with devices that work at boot

Just as you can’t expect patients to troubleshoot a device, they also can’t be expected to set up devices at home. This seems obvious, but how to send updates can make for a messy setup process if the device isn’t already configured with the latest version.

Esper helped ROMtech overcome this challenge. ROMtech provides advanced in-home orthopedic rehabilitation by providing in-home connected cycling equipment. Disposal of the device occurs months before the equipment is shipped to the patient, which can result in older versions of the device application. Instead of asking the patient to update the device, the way they need their smartphone, but with technology they’re not familiar with, ROMtech worked with Esper to find a different solution. With seamless-or touchless-provisioning, Esper detects when a new device comes online and the application version is updated when the device boots. So patients can focus on their recovery without acting as their own IT support or reaching out for help.

Creating a seamless experience is a critical element in building patient trust when introducing a new technology. Don’t ask your patients to be experts on the devices they use. Instead, create an infrastructure that is secure and simple that supports updates, automates workflow troubleshooting and devices that only work the way they need to when they are turned on.

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