July 16, 2020 - Parul Saini, Webmedy Team
Updated Version - July 22, 2023
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).
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 and physiological data, and sleep and 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.
What is remote patient monitoring in healthcare?
Remote patient monitoring (RPM) is a technology that allows patient health data to be collected outside of traditional healthcare settings, typically at home. The data is then transmitted to healthcare providers to monitor and assess the patient's health remotely.
What types of health data can remote patient monitoring track?
Remote patient monitoring can track a wide range of health data, including vital signs like heart rate and blood pressure, blood glucose levels, body temperature, respiratory rate, and even oxygen levels in the blood.
How does remote patient monitoring benefit patients?
Remote patient monitoring benefits patients by providing them with more personalized and convenient care. It allows for continuous monitoring of health conditions, early detection of potential issues, and immediate response to health crises, all from the comfort of the patient's home.
How does remote patient monitoring benefit healthcare providers?
For healthcare providers, remote patient monitoring can increase efficiency, improve patient outcomes, and reduce healthcare costs. It provides real-time patient data, which allows for timely interventions, better management of chronic conditions, and improved patient engagement.
How does remote patient monitoring work?
Remote patient monitoring involves the use of digital technologies, such as wearable devices or home health monitors, to collect health data from a patient. This data is then transmitted to healthcare providers through a secure digital platform for monitoring and analysis.
Is remote patient monitoring effective for managing chronic conditions?
Yes, remote patient monitoring is particularly effective for managing chronic conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and asthma. By providing continuous monitoring and real-time feedback, RPM can help patients manage their conditions and prevent health crises.
What is the role of remote patient monitoring in telemedicine?
In telemedicine, remote patient monitoring plays a crucial role in providing healthcare providers with real-time patient data. This allows them to assess, diagnose, and treat patients remotely, enhancing access to care and enabling more personalized treatment.
How reliable is the data from remote patient monitoring?
The reliability of data from remote patient monitoring depends on the quality of the devices used and the consistency of data collection. Most medical-grade devices used for RPM are designed to provide accurate and reliable data.
Does remote patient monitoring reduce hospital readmissions?
By enabling early intervention when a patient's condition starts to deteriorate, remote patient monitoring can help reduce hospital readmissions. It also helps patients manage their conditions better at home, reducing the need for hospitalization.
Can remote patient monitoring improve patient adherence to treatment?
Yes, remote patient monitoring can improve patient adherence to treatment by providing continuous feedback and reminders. It also allows healthcare providers to track whether patients are following their treatment plans and to adjust those plans if needed.
Is patient health data secure in remote patient monitoring?
Patient health data in remote patient monitoring is typically protected with encryption and other security measures to prevent unauthorized access. However, like all digital data, it's important to ensure the devices and platforms used for RPM follow stringent security protocols.
Can remote patient monitoring be used for mental health?
Yes, remote patient monitoring can be used for mental health. Some devices can track physiological indicators related to stress or mood, and digital platforms can enable remote therapy sessions and mental health assessments.
What types of devices are used in remote patient monitoring?
Devices used in remote patient monitoring can include wearable fitness trackers, heart rate monitors, smart health scales, blood pressure monitors, glucose meters, and more specialized medical devices, depending on the patient's specific health needs.
How is remote patient monitoring improving healthcare outcomes?
Remote patient monitoring is improving healthcare outcomes by enabling early detection of health issues, providing real-time feedback for treatment adjustments, and facilitating more active patient involvement in health management, all of which can lead to better health outcomes.
Can remote patient monitoring be used in elderly care?
Yes, remote patient monitoring is particularly useful in elderly care. It can monitor vital signs, detect falls, remind seniors to take medication, and alert caregivers or healthcare providers in case of emergencies, thereby supporting independent living and ensuring the wellbeing of seniors.
What is the future of remote patient monitoring?
The future of remote patient monitoring looks promising, with advancements in technology leading to more accurate devices, more varied health metrics being monitored, and more integrated care models. It's expected to become a standard part of healthcare, enhancing the delivery of personalized, preventive, and patient-centric care.
How does remote patient monitoring help in managing diabetes?
Remote patient monitoring can help in managing diabetes by continuously monitoring blood glucose levels and providing real-time feedback to patients and healthcare providers. This allows for timely adjustments in diet, physical activity, or medication to maintain optimal glucose levels.
What challenges does remote patient monitoring face?
Challenges of remote patient monitoring include ensuring data accuracy and security, addressing technical difficulties or connectivity issues, ensuring patient adherence to using the devices, and dealing with legal and regulatory issues related to remote care.
Can remote patient monitoring help in managing heart disease?
Yes, remote patient monitoring can help in managing heart disease by continuously tracking heart rate, blood pressure, and other relevant metrics. This data can help healthcare providers monitor the patient's condition, adjust treatments, and intervene promptly if the patient's condition worsens.
How does remote patient monitoring aid in post-surgical care?
In post-surgical care, remote patient monitoring allows for continuous monitoring of the patient's recovery, immediate detection of potential complications, and adjustment of care plans without requiring the patient to return to the hospital. This can lead to faster recovery, improved patient comfort, and reduced healthcare costs.