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“Hospitals and Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) are currently under extreme resource and fi nancial pressures as they face up to the challenges of an ageing population.” Chris Brooking


 


change,” explains Brooking. “All of our hospital clients in the US are very much focusing on enhancing and expanding the steps that they can take to improve the overall health of the populations that they serve.  opening up gyms for patients.


“It would seem to be a natural progression that such healthcare


providers would also look to incorporate wearable technology as part of this process, capitalizing on tools such as health bands to help maintain health levels and identify potential health issues much earlier on in the patient monitoring process.”


  outcomes has also formed part of a recent legislative proposal. A new bill, The ACO Improvement Act (HR 5558), has been introduced by        seeks to improve the ACO reimbursement model by providing additional incentives for focusing on healthcare outcomes and increasing doctor/ patient collaboration. One part of the proposal calls for qualifying ACOs to be permitted to provide telehealth and remote patient monitoring services.


Medicaid Services) forecasting health spending growth for 2014 of 5.6 percent, and an average 6 percent growth rate for the period 2015–2023, “largely as a result of the continued implementation of the ACA coverage expansions, faster projected economic growth, and the ageing of the population.”


A TECHNOLOGY DRIVER           contributing to an increase in healthcare expenditure in the coming years, it is also being seen as another key potential driver for the use of wearable technology in the sector. This is particularly the case given the fundamental shift in the reimbursement of healthcare providers which the act has introduced. Moving healthcare providers away from the longstanding ‘fee for service’ approach, the new procedures are based on a ‘fee for outcome’ approach, under which the reimbursement structure is based around how you improve healthcare outcomes, rather than how 


REDUCING READMISSIONS            in reducing readmission rates through better patient monitoring, with   for example, is in improving the ability of hospitals to monitor whether recently discharged patients are taking their medication as instructed.    fail to take their medicine properly, with adverse drug-related events ranking among the top 10 causes of death in the US and estimated to cost the country in the region of $30 to $130 billion each year.


“This could be in the form of using wearable tech to make patients


aware of when they should take their medication, while also requiring    leave the hospital environment.”


One recent development on this front was the launch by Proteus Digital Health of a digital health feedback system, which involves the patient taking an ingestible sensor at the same time they take their medication. A wearable sensor records the time the medication is taken and also


Annual 2014 | HEALTHCARE RISK MANAGEMENT REVIEW | 23


SEBASTIAN KAULITZKI / SHUTTERSTOCK.COM


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