Chronic Care Management With RPM

Summary

The podcast episode features Gregg Forsyth, managing director at Cardiac RMS, discussing chronic care management with remote patient monitoring (RPM) technology. He highlights the challenges clinics face with the influx of data and the importance of overcoming resistance to technological changes in healthcare. Forsyth emphasizes the potential of RPM in transforming chronic care delivery, addressing healthcare disparities, and improving patient outcomes. Successful interventions, like RPM, can proactively manage chronic conditions, reducing hospital visits and enhancing patient well-being.

Key Moments

Overcoming Information Overload

  • Remote patient monitoring inundates clinics with constant data, posing challenges.
  • Need for effective strategies to manage the overwhelming influx of health information.

Bridging Generational Gaps in Healthcare Technology

  • The aging population and tech-savvy younger generation present unique challenges.
  • Addressing fears of technology in the elderly while meeting expectations of younger patients.

Revolutionizing Chronic Care Management with RPM

  • Discussion on RPM technology and its impact on chronic care management.
  • Greg Forsyth shares insights on improving patient experience through remote monitoring.

Navigating Career Challenges in Healthcare

  • Greg Forsyth recounts their career journey and the challenges faced in large corporations and startups.
  • Emphasizes alignment of personal growth with organizational objectives.

Adapting to RPM Technology Challenges

  • Remote monitoring introduces overwhelming data influx to clinics.
  • Creation of third-party solutions like cardiac RMS to assist clinics in managing data effectively.

Addressing Fear of Change in Healthcare

  • Changes in healthcare technology can evoke fear among both patients and providers.
  • Importance of dispelling myths and ensuring a smooth transition to new technologies.

Future Predictions for Digital Health

  • Anticipation of growth in digital health and its impact on patient care.
  • Balancing technological advancements with patient comfort and physician engagement.

Overcoming Healthcare Disparities with RPM

  • Discussion on obstacles hindering chronic care, including healthcare disparities.
  • Importance of reliable internet access and patient buy-in for successful RPM implementation.

Eliminating Healthcare Disparities through RPM

  • RPM technology offers the potential to bridge healthcare disparities.
  • Emphasizes patient benefits and cost-effectiveness of RPM solutions.

Success Stories in Chronic Care Delivery

  • Anecdotal evidence of RPM’s success in transforming patient lives.
  • Example of a patient experiencing improved health and reduced hospital visits through RPM intervention.

Transcript

Bryce

Perfect, all right. All right, let me do this introduction, and then we’ll get going here. Welcome to the Digital Health Transformers, a podcast series.

This podcast explores the dynamic world of healthcare innovation, one conversation at a time. I’m your host, Bryce Barger, and today, we have an all-inspiring guest at the forefront of transforming the healthcare landscape. As our guest today, I’m back with another key leader, Greg Forsyth.

Greg is currently the managing director and partner at Cardiac RMS and has been in the healthcare and CRM space for over two decades. He is passionate about improving the physician and patient experience in remote patient monitoring. His work at Medtronic in St. Jude has helped him understand the challenges the physicians and clinics face in delivering care. At Cardiac RMS, he focuses on delivering unprecedented service to his customers. He oversees service from pre-inflammation to stop those customers. He also works towards improving.

His company is an award-winning software service provider in remote patient monitoring, aiming to cater to chronic care patients. We’re excited to have you on the show, Greg, to discuss the RPM technology. It’s revolutionizing the chronic care managed space.

How are you today, Greg? Thanks for joining us.

Greg

Doing great, Bryce. Thanks for having me. I’m excited to be here with you.

Bryce 

Yes, sir. This is an important area that I don’t think many people know much about. I think everybody might know RPM.

They might understand what that means, but it is not in-depth and detailed. I am super excited to kind of get started here. As we get going with your professional and personal story, could you share your journey as a healthcare professional, what roadblocks you faced, and how you dealt with them?

Greg

Sure, yeah, I’d love to. So you kind of mentioned at the beginning that my background is with Medtronic and St. Jude, which Abbott eventually acquired. Having worked for two large companies, I know there were a lot of roadblocks at the beginning.

There was a lot of. How do you get to the level where you want to be within an organization of that size? Sometimes, we have different career paths that we see ourselves going on, and maybe those corporations don’t have those same roadmaps for you that you do. So, I think that was a major hurdle at the beginning; I was just aligning with the companies I wanted to see from my personal growth.

Sometimes, it aligned, and sometimes, it didn’t, and there needed to be a change from one company to another. I think once I left those companies and started in the startup industry, I saw many issues in getting our name out there. And we were so new in the industry that many people didn’t even know what we did because no one had done it before.

So you mentioned that RPM was new, and remote patient monitoring at the time we started in 2015 was also fairly new. It was just hard breaking into many clinics and helping them understand who we are, what we did, and the value of what we could bring in a partnership with our clinic.

Bryce

Got you. So, I know you have two decades of experience in healthcare and the CRM space. Greg, what do you think are the recurring challenges most providers and clinics face, and where do you see that value?

Greg 

Great question. I’m going back to the last question as well; I left the industry because we kind of started the problem, to be honest with you. When I was with Medtronic and St. Jude, remote monitoring was just getting started in the RPM space and, excuse me, the CRM space. When we did that, many people were overwhelmed with the data, so they were used to seeing their patients. They were used to seeing people come into the clinic and having a programmer sitting there from whom they would download the information and get it as they came into the clinic.

With remote patient monitoring in its infancy, now all that data was coming in all the time, every day. And there wasn’t an on-and-off switch to it. It was a constant flood of information, and they were overwhelmed by it.

So what we saw and when I talked to a lot of the partners I worked with at the time, we said, hey, could you see a need for maybe a third party company like ourselves, helping you digest the information and receive information that’s actionable to you in the clinics? And they said, yeah, that would be phenomenal to do that. That’s where cardiac RMS was born, with those opportunities to help clinicians better digest information and use it to benefit patients.

The other aspect of that, too, is that because it’s healthcare, change is scary. And a lot of times, that change has a lot of different connotations. So you have your HIPAA policies to protect, and you wanna make sure all that data is secure.

So, changing from one method of operation to another has a lot of regulatory effects that can slow down the process. So I think that’s more than anything. Those are the two biggest things. How do you deal with the glut of information that’s coming? And two, how do you help people become unafraid of change that can be overwhelming in the healthcare industry?

And even a good business decision could be catastrophic for a clinic, small or large if the patient’s health information gets out there.

Bryce

Sure, for sure. And it’s an old adage that, for some of us, too much information is not enough, where it seems like you drink from a fire hose.

And you’re right; I think with digital health transformers and with the audience, we’re all focused in this digital health space. And I think everybody has that challenge of how do we get these healthcare providers and these professionals to embrace change and to embrace the technology and how we can truly affect patient outcomes and not just help their efficiency, which in turn could also maybe help affect outcomes, but truly being able to have this data and this information digested in a smart, manageable way to then turn it into true care. I love it so much.

And as I was just speaking, digital health has grown in leaps and bounds over these last ten years, I would say. What is your prediction of the future of digital health? It’s kind of a broad question, but where do you see that next step?

Greg

You know, I think there’s a lot of exciting times ahead. And I think, as you said, we’re really in infancy. I think a lot of the things that we’ve talked about even to this point, and that people are aware of, it’s so young and fresh. It’s so unknown to a lot of people that not only is that change scary, but it’s also, are we just changing for change’s sake, or can this help us better manage and care for our patients?

And I think that’s ultimately where that change needs to happen, where we’ll actually effectuate our patients’ better health and care when we do those types of things. So I think a lot of the things that we’re seeing right now, too, is we have an aging population that up to this point in their life may have been afraid of technology, but we also have another generation that’s grown up with technology. They want not only technology to be for their healthcare, but also they want that technology to be seen by their healthcare provider and utilized and almost automatically come back to them with Here’s what’s going on with you, here’s how we can help you, here’s what needs to change.

So it’s a little tricky at this time because you have a large aging population where you have to make sure that they feel comfortable with the new technology and can monitor them. Still, you also have to help the younger generation feel valued and seen and that the things that they want from healthcare are available to them in healthcare. And I think that the exciting time about this is we have Apple watches or Google watches or Fitbits or things like that that are consumables that people can buy on their own that they don’t have to be prescribed by the doctor, and they can show them what their healthcare is. On the patient side, that’s exciting for them because now I have the opportunity to see my healthcare and really take what I wanna see happen into my own hands.

On the healthcare side of things, I think that can be overwhelming and almost daunting because now there’s a fear of going to WebMD or Google search and getting a diagnosis for your healthcare that isn’t accurate. Now, the doctor not only has to dispel that myth but also help them calm down and recognize that the things they’ve seen aren’t what Google or WebMD is prescribing them or telling them is going on. That can be the biggest hurdle with this digital transformation is helping the patients feel secure in what’s coming along, but also not overburdening and overwhelming our physician population with misinformation, to be completely honest, or a glut of information that isn’t helpful to our physicians as well.

So I think it’s exciting, but we’re really in a time of how we direct this and focus all this information in a way that’s beneficial for both patients and the healthcare society.

Bryce 

I love that. That’s very true. It’s a fine line between being able to provide and having the patient be involved in their care. However, you’re right, but still, allow them to seek out the knowledge of the healthcare provider to help analyze that and help tell them what to do and help guide them still, but still have them more involved in the care, which is, I’ve seen that even in my, I’m a type one diabetic. I’ve used the continuous glucose monitor and the insulin pump. I’ve been diabetic since I was ten years old. Still, I just recently started this continuous glucose monitor and being able to track truly, like I can go back a month or two and look at my blood sugars and truly watch them day by day, hour by hour, and see, well, okay, this is what happens at night.

This happens. And then if I have questions, go to my endocrinologist and say, hey, listen, or not even that, they download my, they’re lucky that they’re integrated. They download my information right to it.

And it’s such a well-rounded form to where now when I go into the doctor’s office or my endocrinologist meeting every three months, I’m having true conversations that are helpful. It’s not some; you’re sending out a recap of what’s happened these last couple of months, what you can remember, and what you’ve written down on your paper. So, seeing that and what you guys are, I know it’s truly amazing and is the next step.

And it’s helped me personally a whole lot. So, as you guys are actively working on our, go ahead. Sorry, I was just gonna say that many people also feel that same way.

Greg

The exciting part about this next step in digital healthcare is that people want to be more involved in their health. They want to be able to see, like you did with the continuous glucose monitor, I can see how I’m progressing, or I can see how I’m feeling. And it correlates to the readings that are coming through on that continuous glucose monitor.

So I can make those changes, not having to make an appointment to see the doctor, but I can make those changes the way I’ve discussed with the doctor ahead of time so that I don’t ever decompensate or crash or have these incidents that can’t be handled more quickly. And it never gets to a point where I feel horrible, but I can be well-maintained between those visits. And that’s the exciting part of RPM and virtual care management and care management.

Bryce

Yeah, I didn’t even really think about that, but you’re also kind of like, it’s an education tool, like right where you’re being able to educate the chronic user, the diabetic, in my opinion, of how to read that, how to look at that. So when they have these intelligent conversations with their provider, they’re not only having helpful care on their visits, but also they’re learning to where, like as you just mentioned, when they do see maybe a trend or something that they can identify it or ask for, say, hey, this is happening. I need to go talk to my provider right now.

I can see this; something’s not right here. So that’s a great point; I love that. Getting into kind of the next question here, as you guys are kind of actively working with RPM technology, what obstacles do you think would hinder kind of the chronic, kind of staying in this chronic patient care when of diabetes that we’re maybe talking about?

What kind of tech obstacles do you see that might hinder chronic care patients?

Greg

Yeah, I think there are a lot of things with it. Health disparity is obviously a huge part of it. You know, some people have more access readily available to them than others.

It could be as little as a reliable internet connection. So, a lot of these, like continuous glucose monitors or RPM technology, rely on the ability to transmit the data. It seems crazy to talk about it, but some parts of the country just don’t have the ability to do that.

You know, it used to be a dial-up service that you had to do in those areas. And even that’s gone away. So they can’t reliably send the information to the clinicians.

And I think that’s one of the biggest obstacles. How do we overcome that? And I know there are a lot of initiatives in the country to get fast, reliable wifi internet everywhere. And that’s great.

And that’s gonna help with some of that disparity. That’s really what will change chronic care management throughout the country, allowing all patients access for many different reasons. For some of those patients, it’s hard to get to the doctor.

They’ve got to take the whole day off or maybe even a two-day travel, depending on how far they have to go. Then they wait in the office for an extended time and then travel back home. Maybe there’s an overnight stay involved with that, depending on how rural the area is.

But to have that data at the doctor’s fingertips and not have to travel, you know, have equipment they can put on in their car or as they’re traveling on vacation or taking it with them. Hence, it’s easily accessible, and the doctor can have it, which is life-changing. You know, that’s how you have this paradigm shift: going to the physician to care for you when you’re sick to being cared for and treated at home and taken care of. It feels almost like a step back in time, right?

The doctor’s visit is coming to your home and taking care of you, but doing that digitally or in a comfortable and convenient way for the patient also delivers the information that the physician needs.

Bryce

Yeah, reliably and still gets the job done. So that’s the ultimate key is, hey, if I can save you, if I can save my grandfather the two-and-a-half hour trip to Birmingham because he lives, you know, in rural Alabama, and that’s everything, that’s everything. It saves everybody time.

And also, now that we have the technology to provide reliable data, what’s stopping us? You know, what is it? Other than these, as you mentioned, these internet connections are not small hurdles, but they’re hurdles that can be overcome, you know, with the right pieces in place.

Greg

So, I think that with the right buy-in from the right decision-makers involved, it has to be implemented to make it usable to everyone.

Bryce 

Yeah, a hundred percent. So, with RPM tools, can we eventually eliminate those healthcare disparities within the chronically ill population?

Greg 

I do, yeah, I do. I think we can, like we just talked about, address a lot of that in allowing some of these things to happen. However, I also think having the patients see its benefits is beneficial.

I think on both sides of things, when the patients see the benefit of it, they’re going to have more buy-in to it. And maybe it is a little more expensive to get that reliable internet service, but if it saves them the trip to the doctor two hours away, as you talked about in rural Alabama to Birmingham, it makes sense to put forth a little bit of that extra money. So there’s buy-in on both sides, physicians and the infrastructure, and the patients themselves.

Once they see me, I feel so much better when I’m monitored by a clinician who can help me. I can also avoid those day-long trips or half of my day being consumed by going to the physician’s office. And if all those things benefit both the physician and the patient, I think you’ll overcome many of those gaps.

And you’ll see that it makes sense for the infrastructure to be there as well, but also for some of the out-of-pocket costs for the patients because there is a trade-off of, hey, I’m saving gas, I’m saving travel expenses, I’m saving the chance to have to miss work, but now I’m able to be cared for. It makes sense for me to have a slightly faster internet connection or pay for a wireless phone connection or whatever it might be. And I think that’s how we start to bridge that gap and do it more quickly when people can see the benefits on both sides.

Bryce

Yeah, that buy-in effort, as you mentioned. Can you return to cardiac RMS and share an incident of a successful intervention in chronic care delivery by Chronic Care?

Greg

Yeah, so I love that the foundation of cardiac RMS has always been patient care, patient-driven. Clinicians found us. And one of our models is it’s like having a nurse in the family.

That’s what we always like to say. And I think one thing we’ve discussed is that there have been wonderful studies that talk about all the benefits of RPM or patient care management and all those types. But we love to talk about the one-on-one anecdotal evidence of this working at cardiac RMS. One time, one of our RPM technicians talked to the daughter of one of our patients; the daughter called up and said, my dad loves this service. It’s completely changed his life. He used to have to go to the hospital for extended stays monthly, at least a couple of times a month he was in the hospital. Ever since he started this RPM and care management program with your company in conjunction with his physician’s office, it’s been night and day different.

He hasn’t been to the hospital since then. He feels so much better. This is the anecdotal evidence that this works for individual patients.

This is helping them completely change their life. And it switches from being like we’ve talked about, from being medical care after someone’s decompensated to you caring for patients proactively and helping them take care of things before any of those issues become a problem. And relieving some of that burden on our healthcare system of, if these patients don’t have to come into the office all the time to be taken care of because they’re sick, but you’re getting that data ahead of time and taking care of the problems before they become a problem, that completely changes things.

That’s the paradigm shift we’re looking for.

Bryce

Yeah, let’s be proactive instead of waiting for and being reactive, right? Exactly. Yeah, it’s always so funny to me whenever I have these conversations and hold these podcasts because I talk to a wider range of digital leaders and entrepreneurs who have innovated and are very impressive people.

And it’s so funny how even somebody like myself, who I would consider myself plugged in, if you will, or kind of in the know of many of these available digital technologies. And, incredibly, I’ll, every time I have one of these conversations, I connect it to somebody in my life, like my wife’s grandfather, who is having to make that exact trip that I was talking about from lower Alabama up to Birmingham for his heart condition and being like, wow, do I need to connect him with cardiac RMS? Is this something that he could use?

I need to study this now, and he talked to my father. But it’s just so funny how there are all these technologies out there, and sometimes you just don’t know about them and how much they can greatly impact your or your family’s lives. This is just one that I will be doing more research on when we get off this call, Greg; I’m going to see if this is something that he can use.

My wife’s a pharmacist and is very involved in his medical care. And so I just really love the aspect of having that RPM work and its reliable information that your doctor receives, that you also are proactive in your care. You guys are solving problems before they become problems, or at least attempted to, right? It might not always work out, but it’s at least an attempt at something to do that and trying to better yourself.

So, Greg, those are my questions for you today. Thank you so much for joining us to kind of discuss the RPM technologies and how they can cater to chronic patients. Your views on RPM digital health and effective chronic care management were insightful to me personally and very interesting, I’m sure, to our listeners. It was great learning from you with your deep expertise in this area.

It was. Thank you so much for joining us.

Greg

Rice, I appreciate it. It’s been a pleasure being on this with you. If you want to talk about your family, give me a call.

I’d love to discuss things with you to help answer any of your questions. That’s what I talked about; that’s where this was born, and that’s what brings me the most excitement: helping people change their lives and helping people have the care that they need. And sometimes, that starts with the patient and then talks to the doctor.

Sometimes, it’s the complete opposite. You talk to the physician who needs this help, and they bring it to their patients, but ultimately, we want everyone to have access to that care and have it readily available. So I appreciate it.

It’s been a pleasure talking with you, Bryce.

Bryce 

Yes, sir. We will connect further. Thank you so much for your time, Greg.

Talk to you soon. All right, take care. All right, you got it.

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About the Guest

Author

Greg Forsyth linkedin

Greg Forsyth is the managing partner at Cardiac RMS and has been in the healthcare and CRM space for over 2 decades now. He is passionate about improving the physician and patient experience in the remote monitoring space. His work at Medtronic and St. Jude helped him understand the challenges the physicians and clinics face in delivering care.

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