The Real Value of Remote Patient Monitoring

 

Globally, we have an aging population and a rising number of complex health concerns. According to the Centers for Disease Control, chronic diseases alone account for almost 75% of healthcare spending in the US. This works out to an estimated $5,300 per person, per year.

 

As the population ages and health conditions like obesity continue to plague healthcare systems, the need for progressive approaches to healthcare will only increase in the years to come.

 

Fortunately, the way healthcare professionals look after patients is rapidly evolving. We’re seeing a huge rise in remote healthcare services, including telehealth, telemedicine, and Remote Patient/Physiologic Monitoring (RPM). RPM in particular has proven helpful in the care and management of chronic conditions. 

 

In this article, we’re going to take a closer look at some of the ways RPM is transforming the face of healthcare. 

 

What is Remote Patient or Physiologic Monitoring?

 

RPM is the process of monitoring a patient’s health data remotely via any biomonitoring device. Patients can often carry out their normal daily activities while their vital signs are tracked in real-time both for their own information and for remote healthcare providers. 

 

This gives patients more control over their health and wellbeing without the need for constant check-ups and in-person visits, while care managers can use these insights to inform their care team. 

 

The technology ranges from wearables, like watches that capture heart rate and activity, to sensors that can be attached to the body to collect glucose levels.. 

 

The data is first collected, processed, and then sent to the hospital, clinic or a physician’s office. In many cases this is outsourced to organizations like ChronWell. . If there’s a problem or the patient forgets to take their medication, the care team  can contact their caregiver for more information, or the caregiver can take the initiative and intervene. 

Remote patient monitoring devices include phone apps and a range of wearable sensors (Image Source).

 

Who is Remote Patient Monitoring for? 

 

Patients range from the elderly and those living with chronic diseases to people recovering from surgery to premature babies, and those with mobility issues. In short, RPM is useful for anyone who can benefit from close, continual monitoring. 

 

What Are the Benefits of Remote Patient Monitoring?

 

RPM is growing in popularity among patients and healthcare professionals, and for good reason. Let’s take a closer look at the benefits:

 

  1. Real-time updates: Accurate, real-time data means healthcare professionals can track patient stats and intervene if necessary. This lowers the chances of patients letting issues snowball and then needing emergency care. This has the knock-on effect of reducing the strain placed on healthcare systems. 
  2. Stronger patient-provider relationships: Insights gained from real-time data can be especially useful when it comes to engaging with patients. Providers can use accurate information to inform their conversations and provide patients with better, more personalized care. 
  3. Makes healthcare more accessible: Those living in remote areas, as well as patients with mobility issues, and those with busy schedules often find remote patient monitoring a far more convenient option to clinic visits. 
  4. It’s safer: As COVID-19 continues and second waves hit, social distancing is all the more important. Patient waiting rooms simply aren’t safe places, especially for those with compromised immune systems who may be more likely to catch viruses and suffer a more serious course of the virus (or any virus) if they do fall ill. 
  5. It improves patient quality of life: Accurate, real-time data makes it easier for patients to proactively monitor their health and take remedial action if they spot issues. It also means patients can continue their lives without being confined to a hospital room for long periods of time. Meanwhile, physicians can use insights to improve education, medication adherence, and to ensure patients are avoiding negative habits that can worsen their chronic condition. 
  6. It saves money: We live in a world with an aging population and growing health issues. RPM reduces the burden on healthcare systems because it puts more power in the patient’s and provider’s hands. Furthermore, advances in technology mean data acquisition can now be done via cameras, smartphones, and medical sensors. This lowers the need for expensive investments since many people now own a smartphone. 

 

“For chronic conditions like heart failure, atrial fibrillation and diabetes, the ability to monitor the patient’s condition remotely not only enhances the quality of care, it also improves clinical efficiency. And, it can substantially reduce healthcare costs,” says Robert Ford, EVP of Medical Devices at Abbott.

 

The Obstacles to RPM and How to Overcome Them 

 

Despite the many benefits RPM brings, it’s not without issues. It is emerging technology—and like all new tech, it needs to be introduced and managed properly so users can get the most out of it. Here are a few of the challenges with RPM:

 

Accessibility and Engagement

 

RPM relies on technology. If the tech doesn’t work or it’s too complicated, then patients won’t benefit. Providers should invest in intuitive systems, then show patients how to use them correctly. 

 

Patient and Doctor Scepticism 

 

Some doctors have resisted setting up RPM, saying the time and cost involved is prohibitive. This couldn’t be further from the truth: According to the Federal Communications Commission’s National Broadband Plan, the healthcare industry could save $700 billion in the next 15 to 20 years with the use of RPM combined with electronic health records (EHR). 

 

RPM also reduces clinic visits, meaning physicians are more efficient because they don’t have to see as many patients in-person. 

 

To overcome this challenge, education is key: provide facts and figures, as well as case studies to prove the benefits to both doctors and patients. The more informed people are, the more likely they are to reap the many benefits of RPM. 

 

How Can ChronWell Help?

 

RPM unlocks new options for patients with chronic conditions. Through a range of devices, scales and wearables, patients can connect with professionals and manage their health, while care managers can monitor biometric readings, work towards goals, and intervene if needed. 

 

ChronWell can help set up your remote healthcare services, including Remote Physiologic Monitoring for those suffering with chronic conditions that require ongoing management. If you’d like to find out more about digital healthcare solutions for chronic conditions, speak to one of our experts today.

 

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