Charles Keller, MD, is the former Chief Medical Officer for MercyOne Des Moines Medical Center, primary care practice leader, and healthcare entrepreneur focused on initiatives to improve physician engagement, patient satisfaction, and clinical quality. In an interview with WebCareHealth, Dr. Keller offers his perspective on the value of remote patient monitoring for primary care and its impact on the future of healthcare delivery.
Q: What’s changed in healthcare as a result of the pandemic?
Payers were forced to adopt telehealth and remote patient monitoring. Providers needed a way to stay connected with patients during forced stay-at-home orders. This is now at the forefront and an opportunity to deliver high-value care to patients who really need it where they are.
Q: Why is remote patient monitoring important for primary care?
As a primary care physician, I’m the point of care for a wide range of patients. I started using WebCareHealth to get the data I needed to really help our patients.
We’re using WebCareHealth to manage patients on anticoagulation therapy but am also evaluating WebCareHealth for chronic pain. We’ve seen an increased demand for pain and behavioral health treatment, which are both difficult to manage and need ongoing data to ensure we’re delivering the right treatment to these patients.
Q: How do you measure success with your remote patient monitoring programs?
My goal is to provide the best care that’s possible to my patients and their families. At MercyOne, we adhere to the 80/20 rule with our fragile patients and are always looking for new and innovative ways to engage patients in value-based care. With remote patient monitoring, we can better understand the costs and utilization of high-risk populations, learn to predict which patients can benefit the most from care support interventions, and get the most value from technology investments and treatment.
When we look at the biggest drivers of cost in healthcare, hypertension, heart failure, depression, and pain make up the bulk within our primary care practice. We need a way to chip away at these problems.
WebCareHealth gives us real patient data that are actionable and provides value beyond reimbursement. We get the quality scores, patient satisfaction scores, and patient data so we know how we’re doing.
Q: What are the benefits of remote patient monitoring to the healthcare system?
From a system standpoint, I think the cost-benefit analysis of WebCareHealth is phenomenal. We’re continuing to shift to population-based care with pressure to better manage patient populations and individual patients specific to admission rates, quality, safety, and efficiency. We’re also seeing an increased patient desire to do more outside the walls of the hospital and clinic. Remote patient monitoring helps us stay connected and improve our patient satisfaction scores.
Q: What are your predictions for the future of remote patient monitoring and primary care?
Doctors are slow to adopt innovative approaches to care delivery, but this is changing.
We’re fortunate at MercyOne to have a number of progressive physicians who have a desire to move the needle. We’re taking a several-pronged approach that combines the willingness and interest from physicians to partner with WebCareHealth to take a more patient-centric and cost-effective approach to medicine.