Hard to Process: Managing the Lifecycle of RPM Medical Devices
By Jacques Belanger
Remote patient monitoring brings technology and patients together to create a site of care, wherever the patient is. But, managing the lifecycle of these medical devices requires complex processes to leverage capital investment and reuse these technologies, all while maintaining the highest levels of control, compliance, and safety for patients.
Digital Health Logistics providers are taking this challenge out of the equation for providers and solution partners, creating fluid workflows while minimizing the cost of RPM.
The RPM Device Lifecycle
Remote Patient Monitoring is made possible by the delivery of digital health kits, which allow patients to monitor their health from home. Each of these devices, which must meet medical device regulatory requirements for cleanliness, data accuracy, and safety standards, must be managed for each patient they are delivered to.
What’s more, because these medical assets are literally in the hands of the patients themselves, (who are not medical practitioners), patient engagement with these technologies must also be managed. This ensures that meaningful data is generated, helping clinicians care for their patients.
In addition to delivering these technologies, many programs leverage the more economically (and environmentally) sustainable model of reprocessing medical peripherals, or refurbishing them to allow for safe reuse by other patients.
Why not just deliver and leave these devices with patients? Simply put, reprocessing devices for reuse effectively lowers the cost, not to mention environmental footprint, of RPM. But implementing this model is challenging, and is far outside of the scope of health organizations to manage.
To overcome this gap in service, providers are innovatively partnering with RPM device logistics and patient support experts. These partners provide the operational support that allows health organizations and clinicians to focus on care, while enabling seamless, scalable connected-care programs.
What is Reprocessing?
Beyond the supply chain management and comprehensive patient support needed to maintain an effective RPM workflow, reprocessing relates to all processes that a device must undergo after a patient finishes their RPM program, and before the next patient starts.
Once a patient’s program has come to an end and their device has been returned, the next step in the RPM cycle is to make these remote care technologies ready for the next patient. This means managing the cleaning, disinfecting, refurbishment, accuracy testing, and compliance checks needed to meet the strict standards that make these devices capable of safely serving another patient.
In addition to this, full-circle device management requires warranty and repair maintenance for each device, as well as processes to compliantly dispose of parts and products that have been damaged or contaminated by a biohazard. All of this is done to keep the RPM cycle flowing and prepare the care tech for another patient in a program.
But, how do providers and their logistics partners manage all these moving parts, all while ensuring compliance is always achieved?
Quality Management System (QMS)
There are far too many variables within the remote care workflow to account for without highly systematized processes, reporting, and operational capacities. To streamline this workflow, logistics providers such as Medioh design remarkably robust Quality Management Systems (QMS) that are aligned with ISO 13485 (medical device standard). These systems integrate all control points and activities within the RPM workflow, to streamline program operational success.
This capacity allows logistics partners to record, track, and provide actionable insights into every task performed throughout the entire RPM program lifecycle. By supporting and ensuring compliance in every step of the process, logistics providers with an effective quality management system enable care programs to scale, without ever sacrificing quality of care and service for volume of patients.
Coming Full Circle for RPM Success
Reprocessing might not be the most glamorous part of Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM), but with the right approach, support, and quality systems in place, providers can create programs that have far more positive impacts on both ROI and the environment.
Remote care logistics and operational support providers are helping care managers tidy up the complexity of RPM programs, through solutions that effectively streamline the remote care workflow and ensure regulatory compliance every step of the way.
Find out more about what Medioh brings to the Remote Patient Monitoring equation.