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What is Remote Patient Monitoring and its Impact on Healthcare?

July 16, 2020 - by Parul Saini, Webmedy team


Remote patient monitoring (RPM) is a promising field that has the potential to improve clinical outcomes and reduce chronic care costs. At present, about 88% of hospitals are spending or thinking to invest in remote patient monitoring. 68% of healthcare organizations fully wish to use remote patient monitoring solutions to support providers maintain the health of high-risk patients, according to the Consumer Technology Association (CTA).

Keep on reading to know how remote patient monitoring works and what are the future trends for remote patient monitoring.

What is Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM)?

Remote patient monitoring is a technology to enable monitoring of patients outside of conventional clinical settings, such as in the home or in a remote area, which may increase access to care and decrease healthcare delivery costs. Remote Patient Monitoring uses digital technologies to collect medical and other forms of health data from individuals in one location and electronically transmit that information securely to health care providers in a different location for assessment and recommendations. It allows care providers to use mobile medical devices to track vitals or/and analyze data in real-time.

How does remote patient monitoring work?

The remote patient monitoring method is a healthcare delivery method that applies technology to observe patient health outside of a traditional clinical setting. It receives biometric data (such as heart rate, blood pressure, oxygen levels, and sleep quality) from a patient's location, then examines and explains that data, and sends it to the caregiver at another place. Monitoring programs can collect a wide range of health data from the point of care, such as vital signs, weight, blood pressure, blood sugar, blood oxygen levels, heart rate, and electrocardiograms. RPM can undertake the same observations of a patient as a nurse at the bedside, so the optional re-admissions and appointments can be limited.

Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) Technology Components

  • Sensors on a device that can measure physiological parameters and transmit it by wireless communication. Some examples include:
    • Wearable Fitness Tracker: The wristbands provided with sensors to keep track of the user's bodily activity and heart rate.
    • Smart Health Watch: Smart-watch once only used to calculate steps and tell time, but now it has changed into an advanced healthcare tool. It now also allows users to show notifications, fitness tracking, and sleep tracking.
    • Wearable ECG Monitor: Wearable ECG monitor includes an electrocardiogram that sends the readings to the healthcare provider. It also traces atrial fibrillation (irregular heartbeat), distance, and height which further aids in preventive care.
    • Wearable Blood Pressure Monitor: The monitor can record blood pressure and daily activity - like steps taken, distance traveled, and calories burned.
    • Continuous Glucose Monitors (CGM) and Continuous Subcutaneous Insulin Infusion (CSII): Smart devices, such as continuous glucose monitors (CGM) and continuous subcutaneous insulin infusion (CSII) pumps can be used by people with type 1 diabetes (T1D), that can communicate wirelessly for monitoring purposes.
  • Local data storage at patient location, that interfaces between sensors and other centralized data repository and/or healthcare providers.
  • Centralized repository to store data sent from sensors.
  • Electronic Health Record (EHR) and diagnostic application software that consumes the data from the centralized repository and develops treatment recommendations and intervention alerts based on the analysis of collected data.

Wearable and Mobile Technology for Remote Patient Monitoring

Wearable and mobile technology devices are intended to assemble a vast array of fitness & physiological data, and sleep & exercise data, doing high-level analytics to control patients at their location. Smart solutions built into wearables technology combines with smartphone applications to send collected health data (such as heart rate, balance, and sleep patterns) direct to the healthcare provider, instead of demanding patients to take their vitals or visit the physicians for the same.

Not only is it simpler than ever for patients to get health data, but it's also simpler for caregivers to see real-time patient's health information and work on it, thereby decreasing readmissions and lessening healthcare expenses.

Remote Patient Monitoring Technology Future Trends

The remote healthcare technology is growing, while the next trend in RPM technology is miniaturization, technology makers are building their solutions more active and less invasive. It will place more wearable technology in the hands of users. This upward trend in wearable RPM technology will train and guide providers and patients. Because, when patients are granted with health data and are attached to their care providers, it will allow the providers as well as caregivers to interrupt patients before minor problems become into major ones. Many RPM Technology providers are supporting caregivers with RPM solutions that can be securely combined within their Electronic Health Records, which helps providers to get a better insight into patient's health information.

Digital health solutions like block chain-powered EHRs, Telehealth, AI, Wearables, Patient Portals, and Analytics are the pillars of the digital healthcare sector. But, Remote patient monitoring technology and devices are digital rebirth for the industry which will serve as an incentive for each futuristic innovation below the healthcare technology umbrella.

Remote Patient Monitoring helps Reduce Costs

Although remote patient monitoring can't take the place of in-person care completely, it can certainly reduce the burden placed on both physicians and patients. Remote Patient Monitoring technology provides patients much greater responsibility in the management of their health, reducing nursing and hospitalization expenses. According to the National Broadband Plan drafted by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the health care industry could save $700 billion in the next 15 to 20 years with the use of remote patient monitoring technology in conjunction with electronic health records (EHR). Hospitals and clinics can save on operational costs by reducing re-admissions, staff engagement, and in-person visits. It enables early detection of deterioration; thereby reducing emergency department visits, hospitalizations, and the duration of hospital stays.

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