Aluna representative Lex Flippen sat down with Dr. Travis Miller, from The Allergy Station
to discuss the role of RPM and its benefits as a digital health solution. Dr. Miller is a California native who received his medical doctor degree from UCLA School of Medicine. After working at two high-volume practices he founded The Allergy Station, which is located in Roseville, California. The Allergy Station specializes in respiratory treatments, allergy, immunology, health, and wellness, as well as a few other areas.
This interview helped provide insight as to how remote patient monitoring can be used to improve patient outcomes while potentially cutting down costs for clinics nationwide. In this interview, Lex and Dr. Miller offer keen insight into how you can use RPM to treat and monitor patients.
Q: “What inspired you to become a medical doctor and why do you specialize in allergy and clinical immunology?”
“So there are a couple of reasons why I got into healthcare and became a doctor. First, I had good role models. I had pediatricians and other doctors that I saw and was kind of inspired by them in what they did and how they treated people. And that’s always good to have role models that you can look at and associate with. I was always good at science and math. So that kind of lends itself to the clinical sciences. And then I’m a pretty empathic person. When I was young, I didn’t have a whole lot of health issues. As I’ve aged, certainly stuff has come along, but I think empathy is a big part of it is sort of really trying to understand what patients are going through, and how you’re going to help them navigate the process.
And then the decision to specialize in allergy and clinical immunology. I finished my training at the County Hospital Los Angeles. I did four years of residency, and I realized that I’d seen a lot of sick patients, really sick patients, and I didn’t feel like I quite had the tools yet to help them as much as I wanted. So becoming a specialist allows you to sort of focus on certain parts of healthcare and respiratory disease is a big part of what we do asthma, COPD, chronic respiratory disease, it’s a huge problem in the world. Getting specialized training in allergy and Immunology really allowed me to help a certain segment of patients that have high needs. Whether you practice in a rural environment or urban environment, you’re probably going to have plenty of work to do taking care of patients with those issues. “
Q: “In your opinion, what patient demographics are best suited for RPM?”
“All of them. I’ll say that, and then I’ll clarify it. But I really think any patient is a potential candidate for remote practice management monitoring. The reason being, if you look at health care in our respiratory space, we’re sort of in the infancy or toddlerhood of it. And it’s good because we need these tools. But take diabetes for example. I was sitting at a hotel five years ago, and parents were looking at their child’s blood sugar on the continuous glucose monitor that she was wearing in a different state. That is a perfect example of how parents were using real-time data with their endocrinologist to manage pediatric diabetes or type one diabetes. And so there are other fields that are in front of us and in front of the respiratory segment. As far as endocrine and other things like that, I think there’s a lot of applications that we’re gonna see come along in RPM.
Clearly, this scenario I just mentioned, where parents are trying to help children works very well, partly because of the smartphone, and the linking of smartphones with tremendous amounts of data. And symptoms help when parents separate from kids because the parent goes to work and the kid goes to school or the parents work from home and the kid goes to school or whenever they’re disconnected. I think of it like my parents. My dad had a very significant neurologic issue. And I think we’re gonna see inroads in that segment with neurodegenerative disorders, falls, things like that. So I think there’s a lot of applications that are possible. So we should be open-minded when we think about RPM. And I think patients are really understanding the connected feeling of RPM to and they’re going to come to expect it. So I honestly think there should be a very sort of brisk uptake of this with clinicians.”
Q: “What advice would you offer a physician that wants to start implementing digital health solutions into their practice?”
Start. I don’t want to say start small. So start finite. establish a goal, write out your goals for the project that you’re going to implement, and make sure that they’re attainable, you want to achieve success in the first go around. So don’t take a massive program that’s overwhelming and has too many parts to it and things like that, you really want to stay focused on what your first group of goals is. And then try and check those off. And then go down to the next set of goals because if you bite off too big of a chunk to start with, you may have technical issues. You may have communication issues with patients, or you may have other you may have staff shortages, changes, training, and services that sort of create friction and ways for things to get off track. “
Q: “How do you think RPM will evolve the respiratory healthcare space over the next five years?”
“I think it’s going to continue to grow. And I think it’s going to continue to grow at a pace that we maybe wouldn’t want. But certainly, more than I think the market could predict. And the reason being, if you look, and I’ve been preparing some lectures and talks, that consumerism that I talked about, is exploding. The thirst and the appetite for digital Health Solutions are probably on the order of trillions of dollars. When you look at the Amazons of the world, the Berkshire Hathaway’s, JP Morgan’s, the other huge firms that are getting deeply invested in health care solutions that involve technology. That’s what this is, and we call it RPM. These are healthcare systems and solutions that are driven based on technology and the technology exists. We all have smartphones. So I really think that the growth is going to be high.
Unfortunately, I also read an article by the publishers in the New England Journal of Medicine, which said that clinicians’ willingness to adopt solutions rapidly is low. And that’s unfortunate. And those two universes are going to collide. And clinicians need to be very alert to the fact it’s not a question of if it’s going to happen. It’s a question of when and I advise clinicians, I say, it’s going to happen faster than we think. So be on the leading edge. Don’t be the last person in. Be somewhere in the middle or up at the front. Because it’s happening. It’s here now. Patients are going to start asking for it, they’re going to want it, and systems are going to use it. I think I saw that Medicare is actually getting involved in payment models now. And when Medicare does something, all the payers are going to follow. So there’s a lot of momentum going into this space from a variety of entities. Pay very close attention and get on board.”
Q: “What is the best way to get doctors to realize sooner rather than later that something like Aluna is a great opportunity, rather than sitting on the sidelines and waiting?”
“Unfortunately, with a lot of doctors, I think it’s going to boil down to dollars and cents. It’s all about whether or not they can create a model which is financially feasible and allows them to have an accessory source of income. I wish it was different.
I’m giving a talk on physician wellness, so I’m listening to lots of podcasts and things like that. And one man, his name is Robert, and I want to say he was the last Chief Medical Officer of the Kaiser Permanente of the Permanente Medical Group. He was saying let’s just be honest, let’s stop pretending like dollars and cents don’t matter because they absolutely matter. And he was saying that from a more global perspective, but down to each practice. They need to acknowledge that dollars and cents matter. They need to figure out how the model fits financially with their practice. And I think the appetite for clinicians to do things that are money losers or time drains, that’s the other thing. It’s the intersection of time and money. So if you can make it a less time-demanding process, which you certainly have with the dashboard and other things like that, you’ve essentially given them back time, which is like giving them money.
Although every practice is different, RPM is a great way to help your patients while growing your practice. If you’re interested in RPM or want to know more about Aluna, contact us today.