Can Remote Patient Monitoring Make Healthcare More Accessible?

Remote patient monitoring enables healthcare providers to monitor patients outside of the traditional clinical setting through the use of ‘exclusive’ technology. This approach is believed to make healthcare more accessible and more importantly, more affordable.

RPM or remote patient monitoring has now become imperative for providers. It utilizes mobile device integration and real-time monitoring solutions to expand the scope of healthcare services and help patients maintain a healthy status. This is particularly beneficial for patients affected by cardiovascular diseases, mainly heart conditions which are the number one cause of death in the United States.

A wide range of health data such as vitals is collected from patients and is transferred to healthcare providers via safe and secure servers. The data is also stored in the cloud for further recommendations and assessment.

These monitoring programs can carry a wide array of data from the point of care like weight, blood sugar, and oxygen levels, heart rate, blood pressure, electrocardiograms, and vitals. The health details are then transferred to professionals in monitoring centers, primary care offices, hospitals, skilled nursing clinics, intensive care units and offsite management programs. After assessment from healthcare providers, patients can act on the information received in response as a part of their plan of treatment.

There is a dramatic increase in the number of insured patients in the United States without the costs dropping much. However, accessibility to healthcare has become troublesome. RPM changes that by opening the doors of easy access to people throughout the country. Clinicians are able to provide high-quality healthcare to patients with a lower risk of burnouts in a much more efficient manner.

The Benefits of RPM are numerous

RPM makes health care accessible to many patients who may be living in suburban or rural localities where specialized care is rare, expensive or far off. Patients can get evaluation and assessment done without waiting for a long time. In fact, they can receive treatment ‘real-time’ while being at home, saving them effort and costs on frontiers like transport and other in-house medical bills.

Real-time evaluation is excellent for elderly or disabled patients as it allows them to stay at home longer and avoid living in nursing facilities which can be depressing and hard to adjust to. Patients can remain healthy and be treated while enjoying the comfort of home and loved ones.

Due to its ease of access, remote patient monitoring reduces the number of hospitalizations, readmissions and the duration of stays in hospitals. All these factors contribute to improving the quality of life for the patients while diminishing certain hefty costs.

Other than ease of access, RPM can also increase the quality of access as it connects clinicians directly to the patient data, often almost instantly, which makes their daily routines efficient and eases the possibility of burnouts which is beneficial for both doctors and patients.

RPM Encourages Better Engagement

RPM technology can be accessed by patients through a familiar design interface – similar to that of cell phones and tablet devices which are relatively common in the U.S.

According to the Pew Research Centre, 92% of Americans own a cell phone while 45% have access to a tablet computing device. Hence this high level of familiarity breeds comfort which ultimately boosts patient engagement. Better-engaged patients are able to take responsibility and control of their health and are more open to receiving and following recommendations from their caregivers instead of resisting it.

Studies done on the reception of different RPM technologies by patients show a high rate of approval, engagement, and ease of usage. Majority of patients were eager to recommend the technology to others.

Patients in 2013 surveyed in the GE Telehealth Study for patients with Diabetes Mellitus were found to have a 100% percent satisfaction rate with quality of care provided by the nurse and a 100% overall satisfaction rate with the RPM service.

Along with improved quality comes assurance that through an RPM program the patient is being evaluated and taken care of on a daily basis just the way he or she is monitored in the hospital.

Photo by IBM Research


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