Select your localized edition:

Close ×

More Ways to Connect

Discover one of our 28 local entrepreneurial communities »

Be the first to know as we launch in new countries and markets around the globe.

Interested in bringing MIT Technology Review to your local market?

MIT Technology ReviewMIT Technology Review - logo

 

Unsupported browser: Your browser does not meet modern web standards. See how it scores »

A number of pilot studies suggest that remote monitoring can improve patient health and reduce costs. A study published in the Lancet earlier this year found that heart-failure patients with a wireless implant designed to measure pressure had fewer hospital visits. In a second Lancet study, published by researchers in the United Kingdom, patients with hypertension who measured blood pressure at home, in combination with remote monitoring from physicians, were better able to control their hypertension. That’s likely to reduce a patient’s long-term health costs.

With the current system, “there are no incentives for preventive care; no one gets paid for keeping you from needing these services,” says Hansen. “That’s especially true for behavior-related issues, such as obesity, diabetes, congestive heart failure.”

Hansen and others hope that the Affordable Care Act will help to alleviate this problem. Part of the legislation funded the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation, which is testing new payment models. One option is that providers are paid a monthly amount to take care of patients and are able to share in the financial savings that may result. (This approach, often called “bundled payments,” is similar to that of Kaiser Permanente’s.)

Of course, new technologies don’t always save costs. But with a bundled payment system, health-care providers will have more incentive to find the ones that do.

Leslie Saxon, a cardiologist and director of the Center for Body Computing at the University of Southern California, says that the reimbursement structure isn’t the only problem. In cardiology, recent additions to the Medicare billing codes do pay physicians to track heart patients remotely. But she says only about half of them do.

“I think the issue is largely cultural,” she says. “We’re not used to practicing medicine this way. That is why I think patients will need to be the drivers of this change also.”

8 comments. Share your thoughts »

Credit: Technology Review

Tagged: Biomedicine, wireless, healthcare, health 2.0

Reprints and Permissions | Send feedback to the editor

From the Archives

Close

Introducing MIT Technology Review Insider.

Already a Magazine subscriber?

You're automatically an Insider. It's easy to activate or upgrade your account.

Activate Your Account

Become an Insider

It's the new way to subscribe. Get even more of the tech news, research, and discoveries you crave.

Sign Up

Learn More

Find out why MIT Technology Review Insider is for you and explore your options.

Show Me