How to develop a remote patient monitoring device
The pandemic served as a major catalyst for the shift toward in-home patient care, but the need was already there. In fact, in-home care is strongly associated with better patient outcomes. According to a 5-year study, emergency room visits, hospitalizations, and short turnaround readmissions are all reduced for patients who receive in-home primary care.
Fortunately, a number of leading organizations are proving that the future of quality in-home care is here. Spire Health is one of the organizations providing innovative remote patient monitoring and tackling the big challenges of in-home care like providing technical solutions for sick and elderly patient populations.
How devices enable the telehealth industry
Spire Health provides patients with a respiratory tracking device that allows for remote patient monitoring for chronic respiratory diseases. They’re on a mission to prevent hospital stays related to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) exacerbations, either by managing doses earlier or by introducing new medications. “Most of this patient population is sick, elderly, and not very tech-savvy,” explains Spire CEO Jonathan Palley. “And the reality is that traditional monitoring and wearable devices have not worked well in this group of patients, for obvious reasons.”
Spire is tackling these common challenges and needed a technology partner to power the underlying infrastructure for their devices to optimize the patient and provider experience. Given the patient population, Spire was looking for a solution with a simple setup process that wouldn’t require IT support in the field. Also, any platform Spire worked on needed to meet HIPAA compliance and healthcare security standards.
Beyond finding a solution to work with the right patient population, Spire faced the following challenges in preparing to launch their devices into the market:
- Track devices after Google removed the ability to fetch device serial numbers on Android 10.
- Overcome connectivity challenges between the BLE-based (BlueTooth Low Energy) wearable sensor and mobile devices.
- Keep support costs low with a nascent in-house IT team.
- Utilize an LTE connection rather than relying on WiFi — in order to better serve the patient population.
“With Esper, our remote patient monitoring service just works. Esper’s seamless deployment ensures that even patients who are not as comfortable with technology can successfully use our service. Device set-up is simple, there is zero configuration needed by the patients, and Esper’s full-service solution detects connectivity and sensor failures ahead of time and alerts the Spire team for proactive outreach to our patients, often before they even notice an issue.” – Neema Moravej, PhD, Co-founder and Chief Scientist, Spire Health
Managing challenges with remote patient monitoring devices
After surveying a number of device management companies, Spire Health decided to move forward with Esper for our internal Android knowledge, API-driven integrations, and simple provisioning for devices.
For Spire, it was essential that their device technology partner offered services beyond what’s available with traditional MDMs — in particular, they wanted a solution that was API driven. After losing the ability to fetch serial numbers on Android 10, working with an API-focused solution was essential for negating extensive work to Spire’s cloud back-end. To send Spire devices into the field, Esper provided the following solutions:
- Cloud API
- Leveraging our Device SDK API Spire’s application can fetch device serial numbers. This solution avoided otherwise necessary extensive work to Spire’s cloud code.
- Device recognition
- Custom SDK provides API privileges, allowing Spire to utilize automated triggers for Mobile Data and Wifi connectivity including exposure to the reboot API, the serial number field, and automated reactions for connectivity issues.
- Six tap provisioning
- Spire Health’s devices are enrolled with Esper and work for patients out of the box.
- Esper’s telemetry allows Spire to closely monitor and react to fluctuations in data usage based on real-time data.
How to scale thousands of remote patient monitoring devices
Working with Esper, Spire gained the foundation they needed to build a digitally-native healthcare monitoring solution and quickly moved from pre-launch to thousands of devices in the field. Esper’s flexible platform is future-proof and flexible enough to fit the needs of a growing healthcare organization. Running on Esper, Spire now enjoys:
- Spire built unique workflows using Esper’s API and Device SDK such as an automatic troubleshooting workflow involving toggling in and out of airplane mode and resetting.
- Robust security
- Esper’s PCI audit proves that Esper’s platform is not exposed to patient data and Esper’s staff undergoes HIPPA business associate training, and we continue to assist as Spire seeks FDA approval.
- Esper’s custom deployments ensure application updates do not cause device downtime.