How can Remote Patient Monitoring Software transform the Healthcare Sector?
Technology is transforming the face of the healthcare sector. Overburdened with challenges to reduce hospital readmissions and healthcare costs, healthcare organizations consider remote patient monitoring an effective way to improve treatment at affordable prices.
According to the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), 68% of healthcare organizations have planned to use remote patient monitoring solutions to help providers maintain high-risk patients’ health, while 88% of hospitals are thinking to invest in remote patient monitoring.
The existing healthcare system requires patients to visit a hospital or clinic if they need to consult a doctor. It consumes both the patient’s and doctor’s time and is quite expensive for patients as they have to travel to the hospital or clinic and pay for the appointment.
Another drawback of the traditional healthcare system is that the patient might not consider it essential to contact a healthcare system until the issue intensifies. There is no other way currently than an appointment to detect problems faced by a patient.
Remote Patient Monitoring promises to resolve the above issues with the internet of medical things. It is transforming the healthcare model and turning the “hospital-centered” model into a “homecentered” model.
In this article, we shall discuss various aspects of Remote Patient Monitoring technology, including:
- What is Remote Patient Monitoring?
- Examples of Remote Patient Monitoring
- How does Remote Patient Monitoring Work?
- Benefits of Remote Patient Monitoring
- Future Trends of Remote Patient Monitoring
What is Remote Patient Monitoring?
Remote patient monitoring (RPM) is the process of leveraging technology to monitor patients in nonclinical environments, for example, home. It improves access to care and reduces healthcare costs.
RPM technology includes monitoring devices such as blood pressure or heart rate trackers for patients getting care in the hospital. The captured data is sent to a physician via a cloud-connected system with an application on the doctor’s phone.
Remote patient monitoring can enhance the quality of life for patients significantly when incorporated into the management of chronic diseases.
RPM can be helpful for the following groups of users:
- Old age patients
- Patients with chronic illnesses
- Patients from rural areas
- Patients with restricted mobility
- Post-surgical patients
- Patients from remote areas with limited access to healthcare facilities
How does Remote Patient Monitoring work?
Remote Patient Monitoring uses a wide array of technologies that may differ based on tracked metrics and specific conditions. Despite the different types of technologies, it has a common architecture for each solution that contains the following elements:
Sensors are embedded in portable and wearable devices to evaluate a patient’s vitals (weight, temperature, heart rate, blood pressure, blood oxygen levels, ECG, and more). They can also be placed on invasive medical devices such as implantable cardiac defibrillators.
- Local Data Storage
Local Data Storage to store the data acquired from sensors on the patient’s side and interacts with the centralized repository on the healthcare provider’s side.
- Centralized Repository
Centralized Repository to aggregate and store data from various sources, including EHR, analytics system, and patient devices.
- Data Analysis Software
Data Analysis Software to produce insights from a centralized repository and push alerts to caregivers, patients, and providers as required.
Examples of Remote Patient Monitoring
Following are some of the examples of remote patient monitoring that can help you understand how it works:
- Managing Diabetes
Diabetes is a chronic disease that may lead to severe complications if not controlled well. Diabetic patients continuously experience troughs and peaks in their blood glucose levels that should be balanced to avoid hypo and hyperglycemia. Also, diabetic patients should be aware of their temperature, weight, and blood pressure regularly.
That is why the Department of Veterans Affairs implemented a wireless RMP technology to detect diabetic foot ulcers among veterans at the origin. If not diagnosed at the right time, it can lead to limb loss. One out of four veterans has diabetes, and the Health Data Management Journal reveals that 80% of non-traumatic amputations among veterans are caused due to diabetic foot ulcers.
Podimetrics SmartMat leverages clinical decision support tools and thermal imaging to capture foot temperature scans. Veterans keep their feet on the mat for 20 seconds per day and the collected data is sent to a diagnostic expert for analysis. If feet temperature is more than the allowed threshold, doctors interact with the veteran prescribing appropriate care.
When experimented, SmartMat was able to identify 97% of diabetic foot ulcer risks five weeks before the symptoms appeared.
- Preventing heart failure
Remote patient monitoring software applications can reduce the risk of heart failure in patients with smart pacemakers and cardiac resynchronization devices that can send patient health information to a central repository. The information can be analyzed to obtain patterns and help providers keep patients stable, enhancing their life quality and reducing the overall mortality rate.
Eko, a startup based in California, built two devices similar to a stethoscope. The CORE device offers sound amplification 40 times larger than a conventional stethoscope. The DUO device merges electrocardiograms and sound recording. DUO is an at-home device that can be used by patients to monitor their heartbeat.
Complicated AI and ML algorithms examine cardiac health with electrocardiograms and the sound of a heartbeat. The sound analysis is based on collecting a particular sound made by the turbulent blood flow. The sound intervenes with the cardiac beat that cannot be detected by the human ear with a regular stethoscope.
- Avoiding falls
Individuals develop risks of dementia with the growing age. Remote patient monitoring solutions can help the elderly stay safe while being independent of their caretakers, walking whenever they feel good, and still under complete surveillance.
Researchers from the University of Malaga have built a cane that can collect a range of essential data about the elder person using that cane. The data captured by a cane includes the elderly’s weight-bearing, for example, walking. The data is produced by the pressure sensors embedded in the cane and collected by a smartphone via Bluetooth.
Benefits of Remote Patient Monitoring
The benefits of remote patient monitoring solutions can be seen from the perspectives of both patients and doctors. Let’s understand the benefits of RPM technology from two different angles.
Benefits of RPM for Patients:
- Makes healthcare accessible
Remote health monitoring allows patients to get a consultation without visiting a medical practitioner. It is beneficial for people suffering from chronic diseases who have to share long-term health data with doctors.
RPM technology ensures quick counseling, timely communication, and time to take preventive measures if considered necessary.
- Makes healthcare patient-centric
Implementing a cloud-based monitoring system in the recovery can enhance the patient experience significantly. Patients under remote health monitoring systems report increased gratitude and patient satisfaction towards the hospital. Remotely captured data helps healthcare providers record, analyze and predict.
The process allows clinicians to prevent complications and treat patients sooner. The captured insights are helpful in patient engagement and condition management.
- Early symptom detection and timely intervention
Remote health monitoring helps patients in maintaining a balanced health status at every step of the care cycle. Continuous remote supervision enables control over the patient’s response to the medication before health deterioration. Because of its proactive nature, RPM gives more time for providers to make informed decisions. It impacts patients’ health outcomes in both the long and short term.
Benefits of RPM for Healthcare Providers:
- Saves Money
Remote patient monitoring saves a vast amount of money. The National Broadband Plan drafted by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) reveals that the healthcare industry is expected to save $700 billion in the coming 15-20 years by using remote patient monitoring in conjunction with electronic health records (EHRs).
It reduces physical meetings with physicians, making them more efficient during consultation hours without visiting the patient physically every hour.
Using RPM, healthcare providers can save on operational costs by reducing re-admissions, in-person visits, and staff engagement.
- Optimized planning and operational efficiency
Medical emergencies put a lot of burden on healthcare organizations, especially emergency departments, forcing clinical staff to overwork and disrupting utilization management plans. Providers can decrease ED workload by implementing an emergency-preventing approach with RPM.
Real-time health monitoring and prevention would help maintain health-related issues in control and clinical settings organized.
- Improved HEDIS Scores
Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS) is a tool used by US health plans to measure performance and service quality. It includes 94 measures across six domains to address multiple chronic conditions. It also enables patients to take surveys and identify how satisfied they are with claims processing, customer service, and care delivery.
Health systems can improve their HEDIS quality score, get incentives from both government payers and health plans and influence their ranking by adopting remote patient monitoring.
Future Trends of Remote Patient Monitoring
Remote Health Monitoring offers many promises and has evolved into an innovative service compared to telehealth. It is going to get better with time in terms of innovation and growth. We believe that RPM will foresee the following trends in the future:
- Increased patient participation in RPM utilization and adoption.
- Enhancements in technologies and devices with increasing information share and utilization.
- Increased implementation of remote patient monitoring in practice management and research.
- Convergence and consolidation of technologies involved in RPM.
- Leveraging analytics to do a better study of patients’ condition information and related assessments.
Remote Patient Monitoring Solutions are a crucial part of the healthcare system as they allow patients to get constant medical attention remotely from their homes. With a wide range of technologies evolving and emerging in healthcare, for example, precision medicine data analytics and blockchain, it has become possible to build a smart RPM system that is both patient-centric and provider friendly.
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