This month, Honeywell released an update to its FDA-cleared telehealth software to support remote patient monitoring for those with chronic conditions, called LifeStream. Most of the changes revolve around improving the look and feel of it from the user interface to the patient dashboard so clinicians can prioritize patient care and better assess patient trends. It is essentially a complete reconstruction of LifeStream’s backend.
In a phone interview with John Bojanowski, the president of Life Care Solutions, Honeywell Home and Building Technologies, he noted that the update, referred to as LifeStream 5.2, is intended to help clinicians solve the question: How do we improve patient engagement and make sure we are addressing the right patient at the right time?
Bojanowski observed that terms like “telehealth” and “population health management” have become such overused terms that it’s tough to define where they begin and end. It is also easy for healthcare entrepreneurs in these areas to underestimate the challenge of providing useful clinician facing tools that make a difference in improving patient care that fit into clinician workflows. He has a funny way of describing the result: “teleconfusion”.
The biggest challenge with remote monitoring is people think they can create Bluetooth peripherals. A few of the wireless companies got into it and realized it is more complicated to fit into the clinical workflows and clinical decision support than they anticipated.”
Most of the patients who clinicians are monitoring with Honeywell’s LifeStream software are post-acute and in the homes. Its business was built on remote monitoring service was built on home health agencies. A higher percentage of hospitals and health systems own them now, partly so they can control the process with greater efficiency. Although Bojanowski says private insurers are interested in remote monitoring “they are dabbling with it, but have not yet committed to” engaging patients more in their homes.
He boasted that adherence rates for patients using Lifestream to report their vital signs reach into the 80 percent to 90 percent range. Asked about patients and their use of the service, he observed that some patients with dementia respond well to the automated directions to get their health information. The software’s “good morning” greeting to users actually helps tether them, since they can become easily disoriented about the time of day.
Bojanowski said Honeywell is expanding beyond tools for patients and clinicians for after patients get sick and into the wellness space. It is developing a platform built around individuals actively managing their health. It would be aimed at patients with rising cardiac risk who have just had a “wake-up call” — some event or medical appointment that shows them heading towards poor health unless they change how they manage their health. It could just be a recommendation to lose weight and exercise more, Bojanowski said.
“We are working with physicians on what info they need to see to make it easy as possible for them and patients to track [without drowning them in data]… Some of the program is yet to be determined.”