OMRON - Healthcare in a Crisis

by Parks Associates | May. 15, 2020

Parks Associates’ Connected Health Summit: Independent Living and Wellness is a three-day executive conference focused on the impact of connected devices and IoT healthcare solutions on consumers at home. Ahead of the event, Rob Schneider, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at OMRON and a member of the event's advisory board, shared his thoughts on what healthcare looks like in a crisis with the Parks team:

1. Telehealth and telemedicine solutions have been thrust to the forefront of health care – what are the most important ways COVID-19 is impacting this market?

The pandemic has put health, access to care and new technologies into focus. Working with OMRON, a leader in personal heart health monitoring and remote patient care solutions, I believe that antennae are raised on the tools that can be leveraged when healthcare systems are stressed, and physician resources are stretched thin. Connected health devices and remote patient monitoring technologies are being used more than ever and have become essential patient care tools.

New programs, like OMRON VitalSight, allow healthcare providers to enhance patient care by giving patients the clinically accurate tools they need to monitor their health at home, and the ability to share their data seamlessly into healthcare provider EHR systems.

2. The healthcare economy has been severely disrupted in this crisis – will cash-strapped provider groups and health systems impact investment in remote care solutions?

The healthcare economy has certainly been impacted by this crisis. Hospitals have lost substantial revenue from the loss of elective surgeries and health coverage for millions of Americans is in jeopardy with a historic surge of jobless claims.

We have to think different in this environment. The future is now. How does access to care look? What tools can we use to help people manage their conditions better? How can we plan ahead to avoid strain on our healthcare system with a pandemic that is expected to continue?

Remote patient care tools can be used to streamline the patient care experience, allowing doctors to maintain quality of care while reducing the amount of time needed to work with patients to update treatment plans and can represent new revenue stream.

Interest in remote patient care solutions investment is still high. In November 2019 before the crisis, reports showed that close to 88 percent of healthcare systems planned to invest into remote patient care solutions. With the continued emphasis on remote patient care tools during social distancing, venture capital and corporate funding of new patient care technologies has nearly tripled compared to Q1 of 2019.

3. COVID-19 exposed the vulnerability of our senior population – how do you think the market for independent living and remote caregiving solutions will change coming out of this crisis?

We have over four decades of experience working closely with the senior population to support their heart health and wellness needs. The key to independent living is having the right tools at your home and at your fingertips. Clinically accurate medical technologies for home use are essential for stronger and more active management of health conditions, like hypertension which is often an underlying risk factor for other medical issues.

All of our OMRON connected blood pressure monitors are FDA-cleared for medical accuracy and allow users to pair easily with the OMRON Connect app or HeartAdvisor app so heart health readings can be stored on a HIPAA-compliant cloud, shared with a physician, and tracked over time to provide further insights into the user’s heart health. This ease of use and accessibility allows doctors to improve treatment plans and patient outcomes.

4. What shifts do you expect in the mindset of doctors, nurses, and other care providers towards connected health solutions?

The most important shift we’re seeing is that healthcare providers on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic is the realization that our healthcare system is not as prepared as we need to be to handle a health crisis. PPE, policy, and training are all part of that conversation and so are connected health tools.

Beyond COVID-19, we’re dealing with an ongoing heart health crisis: 103 million American adults have high blood pressure increasing the risk of a heart attack or stroke. 13 million of them are not even aware of their hypertension and the risk they live with every day. Addressing this crisis is our mission: Going for Zero heart attacks and strokes. In evolving our company mission, we determined that we must recognize heart disease as the crisis – as the epidemic – that it is.

Meeting the challenge and addressing the crisis has pushed OMRON to innovate in ways we have never accomplished before. That’s how we created the first wearable blood pressure monitor, the first blood pressure monitor with EKG built-in, and our first heart health coaching apps. OMRON transformed the global heart health marketplace with those innovations.

Now, we are looking to advance remote patient care with tools like VitalSight that streamline how data is shared into EHR systems are helping healthcare providers understand how this technology can benefit their practice beyond the pandemic. Access to data trends from patients using connected health devices help physicians to make more informed treatment decisions that lead to better health outcomes for patients.

5. What consumer behavioral or attitudinal changes coming out of this crisis do you expect to most impact healthcare and health technologies?

One of the most impactful changes from this pandemic crisis is the realization for many that the healthcare system, when stressed, may not be accessible to everyone when needed. Flattening the curve was all about keeping COVID-19 cases from overrunning our healthcare system. In some hotspots, we saw that happen. That was scary and it was a revelation that personal care is important. In situations like this, access to a healthcare provider is severely limited and it’s resulting in consumers grasping the importance of being much more proactive about their health.

Consumers are acknowledging the importance of connecting with their physicians and leveraging connected health tools to maintain proactive health dialogues, and regularly monitoring their health so they can take better care of themselves.

6. Consumer preference for in-person over remote care has suddenly flipped – does this change the role or appeal of direct-to-consumer solutions?

Yes. We are in the midst of an awakening with doctors and consumers to recognize how they can take advantage of remote patient care tools. Health systems are placing emphasis on how they can update their current remote care assets, and doctors are asking themselves if they have the necessary tools to help their patients reach the best outcomes.

7. What new innovations are driving the next stage of connected health solutions?

This is a lesson we’ve grown to understand thoroughly over the last five years. We’ve redefined how consumers monitor their blood pressure at home with the introduction of HeartGuide, the first wearable blood pressure monitor, and Complete, the first blood pressure monitor with EKG capability in a single device. We pushed ourselves to innovate for this category. With remote patient monitoring, we’re pushing the thinking too and looking at how these tools can be improved to help doctors work with their patients.

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