With the COVID-19 pandemic filling up hospitals, the medical industry has innovated in various ways to try and ensure everyone’s safety. One of the popular innovations of the pandemic was remote patient monitoring (RPM).
Now that the world is slowly returning to normal, more professionals are convinced about adapting remote patient monitoring to their normal operations.
Small groups of providers that are particularly passionate about perpetuating the use of remote patient monitoring technology have been successful in enrolling patients in various RPM programs.
Billing for remote patient monitoring tools increased fourfold in the wake of the pandemic. And that’s with only a handful of providers leading the charge.
As remote patient monitoring gains popularity, there’s a strong chance the technology will become a healthcare mainstay.
What is remote patient monitoring?
Remote patient monitoring (RPM) is a growing field in healthcare in which patients’ health data is collected and monitored remotely, typically using digital technologies.
RPM can track various health metrics, including vital signs, weight, blood sugar levels, and medications.
RPM can be useful for a variety of patient populations, particularly those with chronic conditions.
Patients struggling with high blood pressure, diabetes, heart conditions, asthma, mental illness, and long COVID can see a reduction in hospital readmissions and an improvement in health outcomes through RPM.
How does RPM work?
RPM systems typically consist of two parts: a device the patient uses to collect data about their health, and a secure online portal where providers can view and analyze that data.
Providers administer remote patient monitoring devices to patients in their office or deliver remote patient monitoring devices directly to their homes. Then, patients begin monitoring their own health at home.
Doctors can view this data and initiate clinical intervention when necessary.
Patients may use various data sources, including wearable sensors, smartphone apps, and home medical devices. The data collected can include vital signs, such as heart rate and blood pressure, as well as self-reported symptoms and medications.
Providers can use RPM to detect early signs of deterioration, track trends over time, and make changes to treatment plans. RPM can also help patients manage their health by providing them with feedback on their progress and goals.
How has RPM helped during the pandemic?
RPM has a number of advantages over traditional in-person care, especially during a pandemic.
First, it reduces the need for patients to come into contact with healthcare providers, reducing the risk of virus exposure. Second, it allows healthcare providers to care for a larger number of patients without being physically present with them.
Third, RPM can monitor patients for early signs of COVID-19, such as fever and respiratory symptoms. This early detection can help ensure patients receive the care they need promptly.
Fourth, RPM can provide care and support to self-isolating patients at home. This can help to reduce the feelings of isolation and anxiety that can come with self-isolation.
Even more compelling: remote patient monitoring helped to reduce hospital readmissions for patients with COVID, according to one study from Applied Clinical Informatics.
“RPM for postdischarge patients with COVID-19 was associated with a decreased risk of readmission to the ED or hospital, and provided a scalable mechanism to monitor patients in their home environment,” wrote authors in the study.
As part of the study, 295 patients were referred for RPM from five participating hospitals. A total of 225 patients enrolled to leverage remote patient monitoring technology.
Ultimately, 66% of patients completed the monitoring period without triggering an abnormal alert.
Using RPM technology was associated with decreased odds of hospital readmission.
RPM has been a valuable tool for healthcare organizations during the COVID-19 pandemic. It has helped to reduce the spread of the virus while also providing care and support to patients who need it.
Should RPM be adapted in regular operations?
RPM has many potential benefits, including improved access to care, increased patient engagement, and reduced costs. Additionally, RPM can be particularly beneficial for patients with chronic conditions who need to be monitored closely.
Despite the potential benefits, there are also some challenges associated with RPM.
One of the biggest challenges is ensuring patients have the necessary technology and bandwidth to participate in RPM. Additionally, patients risk becoming too reliant on technology and not receiving the same level of care they would receive if they were physically present in a healthcare facility.
Despite these concerns, RPM largely seems like a promising addition to existing care management technologies and services.
While most patients now have the option to come into the office to see their providers, some patients in rural areas still struggle to get access to care.
Remote patient monitoring technology could be a pivotal tool in improving care access for these vulnerable populations.
In early 2022, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced a program designed to support rural healthcare providers with broadband costs and other communications services to increase the availability of RPM and telehealth for patients in rural areas.
The potential for remote patient monitoring to increase patient access to care is an area that’s already being explored, and will likely prove to be a compelling use case for the technology.
Ultimately, whether or not RPM should be adapted for regular operations will come down to a cost-benefits analysis. RPM has potential benefits and challenges, and it will be up to healthcare organizations to decide if the benefits outweigh the challenges.
Remote patient management (RPM) is a promising technology that has the potential to improve patient care and outcomes.
By allowing clinicians to monitor and manage their patient’s health remotely, RPM can help to improve communication and provide timely and more efficient care. While some challenges need to be addressed, RPM has the potential to transform the way healthcare is delivered and improve patient care and outcomes.
If you are interested in remote patient monitoring for your patients in the US, then you can contact us at Medistics. Our system is highly organized and efficient so you won’t have to worry about patients at home. Get in touch with us to learn more about our services.