How digitisation is enabling Bariatric Care Teams to remotely prepare their patients for surgery and assist them through their weight loss journey in the short and long term.
Medtronic’s European Surgical Innovations Vice President Markus Lang and Integrated Health Solutions (IHS) Vice President Frédéric Noël discuss how digitizing the bariatric pathway can help improve efficiency and patient outcomes.
What challenges do you see in bariatric care and how can Medtronic contribute to the solution?
Markus Lang: We know proper candidate selection and personalized preparation are key to achieving good surgical outcomes. Equally important, however, is long-term, post-operative follow up. The challenge for our bariatric hospital partners is keeping track of patients and how they are doing months and years after the procedure. This not only impacts a patient’s long-term success, but also the ability for a hospital to gather long-term data for analyzing results and benchmarking. We aim to reduce these burdens where possible.
That’s why, in addition to the medical technologies (open, laparoscopic & robotic) we offer for the bariatric procedure itself, we also provide groundbreaking solutions such as surgical robotics, digital solutions, artificial intelligence, as well as extensive experience in digitizing pathways and data analytics with our IHS partners.
Remote patient management (RPM) is one possible solution. Can you explain what your RPM solution can do?
Frédéric Noël: Get Ready® is our digital remote patient management solution that connects patients and care teams, enabling care coordination and management. For bariatric patients, it helps hospitals track and support each patient along the entire pathway — before and well after surgery — by remotely monitoring their health status and engaging them in their own care. This includes providing education and communications before and after surgery, capturing their health data and transmitting it for assessment by clinical staff, and sending alerts to the patient based on rules HCPs have set.
What makes Get Ready® a good solution for bariatric care?
Frédéric Noël: We believe Get Ready® could help improve clinical outcomes and lead to greater efficiency and better use of hospital resources. For instance, it can support the screening process by standardizing how data is collected and how surgery eligibility is documented. This eliminates manual input, reducing the workload of hospital staff. Additionally, the data can also reduce short-term surgery cancellations in the event a patient turns out to be ineligible.
In addition, Get Ready® supports robust and timely health data collection and analysis through its remote monitoring. It documents treatment results and patient-reported outcomes and satisfaction, which can lead to greater patient safety and treatment quality.
Markus Lang: Another key feature is its ability to consistently involve patients in their own care. For example, Get Ready® offers targeted patient education that supports them along the full pathway. This can increase their surgical preparedness, manage their expectations, increase compliance, and support them as they make necessary lifestyle changes. It can also help reduce anxiety, which can support the recovery process.
One of the issues of post-surgical care is a lack of patient engagement. How does Get Ready® address this issue?
Markus Lang: We know from experience that patients are very committed during the “honeymoon phase,” just after surgery. However, it’s crucial not to lose track of these patients because the risk of gaining weight increases over time. Postoperatively, this RPM solution can help bariatric care teams manage their patients remotely by monitoring weight, food habits, psychological status, and whether they are keeping their follow-up appointments. In this way, Get Ready® can help patients stay compliant by maintaining contact with their care teams.
How do you ensure that Get Ready® is a suitable solution for the complex field of bariatric care?
Frédéric Noël: Get Ready® has been designed in partnership with digital health experts and opinion leaders from the field of bariatric care in multiple countries. We also asked patients for their feedback. The result is a bariatric care knowledge base informed by clinical expertise that enables us to offer bariatric therapy-specific educational content, questionnaires, diaries, and activity reminders for inpatient preparation and protocol adherence.
This rich knowledge base, coupled with a highly configurable platform, allows us to deploy Get Ready® at speed. This flexible solution can also be easily tailored to specific customer requirements and can evolve to meet future business needs.
What is needed to successfully implement an RPM solution?
Frédéric Noël: Many hospitals believe that the transition to RPM is mainly an IT task, while the emphasis actually needs to be on change management, which drives adoption, on-going usage and meaningful impact. Also, every stakeholder who will work with the RPM solution along the pathway should be involved because these staff know best how the RPM can be effectively integrated into their workflow and daily routine.
This is where our IHS consultants come in. They are change management experts, helping hospitals improve care pathways and accelerate the transition to digitized care. In collaboration with the Bariatric Customized Support team and hospital staff, they ensure that the RPM solution is set up to deliver on its promise of enabling effective care coordination and management along a multiyear bariatric pathway.
How is Get Ready® used today?
Marcus Lang: Get Ready® has been used by more than 15,000 patients in Europe, and it has been deployed in several areas of application, including for Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) protocols, pre- and post-surgery preparation, and for introducing day surgery for procedures that previously required overnight hospital stays.
How do you ensure Get Ready® will fit within the hospital ecosystem and adapt to evolving clients’ needs?
Frédéric Noël: Because Get Ready® has been designed for flexibility and can empower patients across a variety of diseases and use cases, most of the Medtronic business lines are already using this solution in connection to their technologies and therapies. It is built on a standards-based, modular and scalable architecture that enables future integration with hospital systems, BI/advanced analytics, and medical devices or wearables. And the breadth of therapies we cover along with our broad client footprint allows us to continuously invest and drive innovation to support customers’ future needs.
Learn more about how Get Ready® can help you digitize the bariatric pathway in your hospital. Visit the website by scanning the QR code below or visit the Medtronic booth (No.1) in the Exhibition Hall at ECO2022