Health Tech

Standard RPM programs end up creating more work for physicians, Cadence CEO says

Remote patient monitoring technology has been around for more than a decade, but health systems have had a difficult time scaling their programs. This is because the huge amount of data collected by RPM technology often creates more work for physicians, said Cadence CEO Chris Altchek.

“Technology is only as good as the impact it has on both patients and clinicians,” said Chris Altchek, founder and CEO of remote patient monitoring company Cadence.

Cadence built its platform based on this idea. The startup, headquartered in New York, seeks to eliminate the burden physicians face due to the huge volume of data collected by remote patient monitoring (RPM) technology. Since its founding in 2020, the company has begun caring for patients in five states, raised $141 million, reached unicorn status and inked deals with four large health systems.

RPM technology has been around for more than a decade, but health systems have had a difficult time scaling their programs. This is because most RPM programs create too much work for physicians who are already overburdened, Altchek said.

“Hospitals deployed RPM programs and physicians said, ‘Hey, I’m seeing 20 to 30 patients in person every day. I don’t have the time or resources to absorb data on hundreds or thousands of my patients coming in through my EMR in an unstructured format on a daily basis,’” he said.

Another problem legacy RPM companies have is that they usually sell point solutions for separate diseases, such as a heart failure solution or a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease solution. However, many patients need to manage multiple comorbidities. That’s why RPM companies should focus on building a comprehensive remote care management platform rather than a collection of point solutions, Altchek said.

The most important element of Cadence’s remote care management platform is its clinical team, which includes nurse practitioners, registered nurses, behavioral health workers and nutritionists. Altchek said the team embodies “responsive virtual care” by monitoring patients and quickly intervening when necessary using clinical guidelines that have been developed with a patient’s physician.

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Because the team is adequately staffed with licensed clinicians who quickly handle alerts and patient messages, just 1% of patient interactions with Cadence’s platform escalate to their physician. This allows physicians to enroll patients in an RPM program without the fear that it will create excess work. Altchek said the physicians he’s spoken with tell him they end their work days with 200 patient messages in the inbox. If a physician enrolls 25% of their patients in a Cadence RPM program, the vast majority of these patients’ messages will get handled externally, meaning a 25% reduction in inbox volume.

In addition to resolving patient messages, Cadence’s clinical team works to ensure that patients are sticking to the treatment guidelines that have been co-developed with their physicians.

“Instead of remote patient monitoring, physicians need remote patient intervention. We want to use the RPM data to do something,” Altchek said. “We’re focused on getting more patients with these chronic conditions to [follow treatment] guidelines, because we know that if we can do that, we’re gonna have much better patient outcomes.”

Altchek said Cadence has been able to grow so quickly because physicians appreciate how responsive the platform’s clinicians are. The platform manages heart failure, hypertension and diabetes, and it has launched in North Carolina, Arkansas, Alabama, Michigan and Washington. The startup plans to add a new condition to its platform every 90 days.

The company does not sell its devices or software at a flat rate, but rather a rate that is tied to outcomes. This, along with its clinical team’s responsiveness, helps set Cadence apart from its competitors, such as Current Health and Spire Health

“We take financial risks alongside our partners to make sure these programs are successful, and we really only get paid if they are successful,” Altchek said. “So it’s much more dynamic than a typical vendor-vendee relationship.”

Cadence currently has four customers, all of which are large health systems. The startup has announced its partnerships with LifePoint Health and Community Health Systems, and the other two health systems will be announced later this summer, according to Altchek.

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