While Surgical Remote Monitoring technology has been around long before COVID-19, the pandemic has undeniably increased the demand for these platforms. Healthcare providers are now more inclined to embrace this technology to increase access to care, reduce surgical backlogs, and improve patient outcomes.
Surgical Remote Monitoring technology is certainly here to stay, and will continue to evolve even beyond the COVID-19 pandemic in order to meet rising consumer expectations - especially as healthcare continues to shift towards value-based care models.
One of the most important decisions you can make is choosing the right vendor partner for your Surgical Remote Monitoring program. Technology alone does not lead to results - healthcare organizations require both great technology and excellent execution with the technology. The right partner will provide both a proven, effective technology platform and a high-quality professional services team to maximize your success.
Below are key technology & services traits you should expect in an excellent vendor partner:
Multiplatform Accessibility and Caregiver Access
Today, 85% of people in the United States and 87% of people in Canada are using the Internet - however, this is across smartphones, tablets and computers. 1,2
Therefore, your vendor partner should provide:
• A cross-platform solution available across smartphones, tablets and computers - both as Apple/Android apple and via the web browser;
• An additional caregiver user experience for patients who need a loved one to use the platform with them or on their behalf entirely;
This allows patients and families with variable access to technology to utilize the program.
Out-of-the-box, Customizable, Evidence-Based Care Plans
In order to accelerate your implementation and not reinvent the wheel, many hospitals prefer a partner that provides template care plans for different surgical pathways (e.g. knee replacement, open heart surgery, etc.).
A good platform will also allow you to customize the care plans to match any differences in your protocols and workflows. More robust partners will provide care plans that:
• Are evidence-based (i.e. developed by individuals with clinical experience and based on the medical literature);
• Meet guidelines for health literacy (e.g. Grade 6 reading level);
Robust Dashboards and Analytics
Beyond dashboards for monitoring patient health status in real-time, a strong platform will provide robust analytics and data reports to help you measure on-going success and facilitate quality improvement initiatives. This should include aggregate data reports and analytics on:
• Patient engagement & activity;
• Patient-Reported Outcomes (PRO) trends and graphs;
• Survey response rates;
All Patient-Reported Outcomes (PRO) data should also be easily exportable into spreadsheets so your team can perform its own analysis as needed
Strong Clinical Evidence and Customer References
It’s not hard nowadays to create applications that “look slick” - however, many of these applications are poor at actually engaging patients and improving outcomes.
Choose a partner with a large body of clinical evidence and customer success stories. We recommend choosing a partner with at least 10 clinical studies or evaluations showing improvements across a wide range of specialties and outcome metrics (e.g. LOS, readmissions, ER visits, costs).
In particular, choose a partner who has had success with organizations similar to yours - a platform that has worked well for an academic, urban hospital may not be the right fit for a rural, community hospital.
Electronic Health Record (EHR) Integration
While you may choose not to integrate the platform with your EHR until later in the future, it is in your best interest to select a platform that you are confident can fit your EHR integration needs in the future.
Look for platforms which are already listed as validated integration partners for the large EHRs. For example:
• Is the platform listed on Epic's App Orchard?
• Is the platform listed on Cerner's CODE program?
Strong Security & Privacy Infrastructure
Make sure the vendor’s platform is compliant with your local health data privacy laws, such as HIPAA (United States) or PHIPA (Ontario, Canada).
Ask which other healthcare organizations have approved the platform’s security & privacy infrastructure. While your organization will certainly do its own assessment, it de-risks you to know that the platform has already met the requirements of other similar organizations.
Exceptional Implementation & On-Going Advisory Services
Choose a partner that not only provides a high-touch implementation process and traditional technical support, but a program that also provides strategic, on-going services after program launch - such as continuous monthly and quarterly program reviews, best practice sharing from other hospitals, data reporting support, and so on.
Keep in mind that you are doing this for the first time, and any initiative of this type will have its own challenges. Being able to lean on a partner that can provide strategic advisory services will allow your team to troubleshoot issues faster and get maximum value from your Surgical Remote Monitoring sooner.
For more details on how Surgical Remote Monitoring can help you achieve similar results: Check out our podcast episode on “How to Implement Surgical Remote Monitoring” where we discuss the topic in-depth (Timestamp: 8:35-23:12).
1 Clement, J. (2020, August 31). Internet usage in the United States - Statistics & Facts. Statista. https://www.statista.com/topics/2237/internet-usage- in-the-united-states/
2 Statista. (2021, January 27). Canada online usage penetration 2015–2025. https://www.statista.com/statistics/373936/canada-online-penetration/