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Remote Patient Monitoring—How It Benefits HCOs & Patients

Technology

Nov 2, 2020 - 4 minutes read

1181 Remote Patient Monitoring 416X300
Melania Sulak Content Marketing Manager

She specialises in writing and overseeing a broad range of content tailored to meet the needs and interests of IT B2B sector readers.

See all Melania's posts
Data Driven Organisation Blog Ebook 416X300

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Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) takes advantage of the latest technologies to collect patient data outside of healthcare institutions, which consequently enables medical professionals to conduct remote diagnostics. In times like these, where COVID-19 has all but completely disrupted the natural process of health management, technology-based and remote tools can help keep both clinicians and patients safe.

Remote health monitoring also ensures that patients get the care they need when they need it, regardless of their physical location. This aspect was especially important when COVID-19 risk factors were at their highest. So far, RPM devices have proven their worth and could very well stick around for the long run.

How Does Remote Patient Monitoring Work?

Remote patient monitoring systems are used as a means of digital healthcare delivery, which uses technology to monitor patients’ health, like the name suggests—remotely. The healthcare ecosystem is broad and varied, and RPM is just one of the technologies being used to facilitate the electronic sharing of patient data with medical staff. Nonetheless, it’s a data delivery method that’s proven immensely useful during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Common examples of remote diagnostics technology include:

  • Glucose meters for diabetics
  • Heart rate and blood pressure monitors
  • Surveillance monitors for the mentally or physically impaired
  • Infertility monitoring and treatment
  • At-home substance abuse tests
  • Nutrition logs

What distinguishes remote monitoring devices from other digital healthcare delivery methods is that RPM isn’t interactive and doesn’t require any audio or visual capabilities. Such devices must simply be capable of reliably collecting and accurately interpreting patients’ physiological data.

In general, software for remote patient monitoring makes use of a multitude of different technologies but each device has certain commonplace components, such as sensors, local data storage, a central repository, and a data analysis functionality.

This type of health data collection offers patients the convenience of having access to continuous professional medical care without having to attend clinics or any other medical facilities.

In fact, Forrester reports that 4 out of 5 of the most valued healthcare technologies focus on digital patient engagement, and that many RPM vendors, in an attempt to reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection, have already introduced solutions that enable patients to recover at home.

As such, the primary user group of remote patient monitoring systems has changed significantly, as it’s been widely expanded to include a varying range of patient profiles. However, until the pandemic hit the globe, remote monitoring technologies were already being leveraged by certain groups of users—most notably by:

  • Patients suffering from chronic diseases
  • Patients with limited mobility
  • Patients recovering from surgery
  • Inhabitants of rural areas
  • The elderly

RPM devices have been gaining significant momentum and have proven to be an important ally due to their capability to improve patient outcomes.

What Are the Benefits of Remote Patient Monitoring?

The benefits of digital healthcare solutions such as RPM are abundant. Both for clinicians and patients.

For healthcare providers, remote health monitoring can be used to monitor and manage patients with acute, chronic, or highly infectious diseases—either instead of or in between clinical visits. Whereas for patients, RPM helps to ensure they are provided with the medical care they need from the safety of their own homes.

Operational Efficiency

When facing emergencies, such as COVID-19, healthcare organisations often deal with certain challenges such as overcrowding, medical equipment shortages, and having to force staff to put in extra hours. Having RPM technologies in place helps to ease these issues, as it leads to a smaller number of in-person health visits.

Lower Costs

Remote patient monitoring systems can help healthcare organisations to take better control of their spending and improve performance. The key to well-managed health processes is transparency and the ability to respond quickly. As RPM enables instantaneous communication, it has the power to prevent certain emergency situations and, thereby, to prevent unnecessary hospitalisations. This type of responsiveness and agility helps to keep things under control, which leads to a decrease in unexpected costs.

Improved Access

The access to medical care is a pressing issue in many countries around the world. Long waiting lists, limited appointment opportunities, and an uneven ratio of caregivers to patients are just some of the factors contributing to this issue. Fortunately, remote diagnostic technologies have the power to significantly increase caregivers’ capacity to treat patients and could optimise caregiving operations across entire healthcare organisations.

Higher Quality

Remote patient monitoring not only increases the amount of actual caregiving opportunities—it can also enhance their quality. RPM devices provide medical professionals with factual, up-to-date patient data, often in real-time, rendering the care provided timely and accurate. Moreover, employing RPM often generates greater patient engagement. Interacting with an RPM device makes patients more autonomous and accountable for their own health, which consequently leads to improved patient outcomes.

Medical Support

Patients, especially ones recovering from surgery, can be apprehensive about leaving the clinical environment to continue their recovery from home, as they will no longer be monitored by medical staff. They often worry that potential alarming symptoms may go unnoticed, leading to complications. Using RMP devices to track their symptoms during recovery provides patients with continued medical support.

Conclusion

Forrester reports that 80% of the most valued healthcare technologies focus on digital patient engagement—these include such solutions as remote patient monitoring, virtual care applications, and patient portals.

With an increasing amount of emerging remote diagnostic technologies and other initiatives aimed at enhancing patient engagement, the trend is clear—care is shifting focus to cater to the patient.

If healthcare organisations are seeking to keep up with market standards, they should take a closer look at their operations to assess where technology innovations could enhance their efforts to provide high quality, timely, and convenient care.

Data Driven Organisation Blog Ebook 416X300
Melania Sulak Content Marketing Manager

She specialises in writing and overseeing a broad range of content tailored to meet the needs and interests of IT B2B sector readers.

See all Melania's posts

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