Reimbursement key to adoption of remote monitoring of heart devices

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Appropriate reimbursement systems will be key to wider adoption of remote follow-up and monitoring of patients in Europe with implanted cardiac devices, according to a new study

PwC conducted the research in five countries--Germany, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands and the UK--in conjunction with Eucomed, an organization that represents the medical technology industry in Europe, and the European Heart Rhythm Association.

It finds that appropriate policies, guidelines and reimbursement models can help Cardiac Implant Electronic Device (CIED) therapy gain more traction and support key goals of healthcare systems: better access to care, efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and high-quality clinical outcomes and patient experiences.

All the players have roles in making that happen, though, according to PwC:

  • Industry must limit the investment hurdle for creating appropriate infrastructure, such as connectivity options.

  • Healthcare providers should advocate the benefits of remote follow-up, including better clinical outcome, cost-effectiveness and quality of life.

  • Patients need to accept remote follow-up, where appropriate, rather than face-to-face care.

The paper presents country-specific recommendations on reimbursement. For example, the report recommends the UK Department of Health define appropriate tariffs for both remote follow-up and monitoring, enable direct reimbursement to more stakeholders and develop a program of clinician training and engagement to boost acceptance of telehealth systems, reports the British Journal of Healthcare Computing.

"As there is no 'one size fits all' solution in reimbursement, it was key to suggest realistic recommendations which would be actionable at national level and which would inspire the national debate and policy making," Markus Siebert, Chair of the Eucomed Cardiac Rhythm Management Telemonitoring group, is told Medical News Today.

Home telehealth and extended care eVisit systems are among some of the more promising  technologies for addressing chronic diseases, according to a new report from NEHI, a U.S. health policy research organization that focuses on enabling innovation in healthcare. But researcher Erin Bartolini told FierceHealthIT that reimbursement remains one of the barriers to adoption here as well.

Vijay Govindarajan, professor of International Business at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College, in a Harvard Business Review post urged the United States to embrace telemedicine. He, too, dinged the U.S. reimbursement model as running up the cost of care.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, however, has been at the forefront of telemedicine in the United States, saying it aims to make "the home a preferred place of care," whenever appropriate. It May it dropped patient copays for remote visits, eliminating one barrier to remote care.

To learn more:
- read the study
- here's the British Journal article
- check out the Medical News Today story.

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