(RPM) involves the use of technology to monitor patients’ health and vital signs outside clinical settings. It has shown enormous potential to improve accessibility to care and address many inequities. Although the idea behind RPM was conceived over a decade ago, the Covid-19 pandemic pushed many providers as well as patients to re-think their stance on RPM.
Innovations in health information gathering form the cornerstone of remote patient monitoring platforms. Gadgets like Apple’s smartwatches, Fitbits, and other smart wearables capture important vital signs like heart rate, electrocardiogram, blood pressure, body temperature, and so on. Such devices are an excellent way for providers to track a person’s vitals in real-time.
RPM For Preventive Care
As the old saying goes, “Prevention is better than cure.”
Remote patient monitoring services often involve IoT-powered smart gadgets or devices that help monitor patient vitals. This is immensely beneficial for seniors in retirement communities or patients living in assisted living institutions. Such people would have difficulty traveling to clinics for consultations. But with RPM-enabled devices, doctors can collect their health information remotely and assess it to find out any medical risks around the corner.
Healthcare analytics form the backbone of preventive medicine. While remote patient monitoring systems collect health data, advanced algorithms assess the same to detect early signs of disease. Such ability enables doctors to prescribe appropriate medication and recommend changes to lifestyles that would be conducive to wellbeing. Such a preventive approach has led many experts to rethink healthcare and advocate for a more proactive approach, rather than a reactive one that only jumps in during hospitalizations.
Role of RPM in Chronic Care
Almost 50% of Americans suffer from at least one chronic disease. Studies have shown that chronic diseases cost the country about $3.7 trillion in lost productivity. Public health experts have even declared this to be a national health crisis. In light of this, providers using a
have hinted at its vast potential for chronic care.
Efficient management of chronic diseases begins after the patient leaves the clinic. It depends on how well he adheres to medication, his diet, his lifestyle, and his abstinence from drugs or alcohol. All of this is possible through a rigorous tracking of patient vitals on a regular basis. That is possible if there is widespread adoption of a real-time health monitoring system that keeps functioning after the patients leave the clinic.
If doctors can observe fluctuations in patients’ health vitals efficiently, they would be able to discern the overall health situation better and prescribe medication and diets. Such regular doctor-patient engagement across months would help stabilize factors like blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure. Consequently, the patients are bound to experience better medical outcomes.
Telehealth and RPM
Telehealth is nothing but the delivery of care without the doctor and patient having to be in the same room. It is only possible if doctors can have an accurate reading of patients’ health data. That is where remote patient monitoring systems can have the biggest impact. If doctors can connect with patients virtually, and have real-time updates about their health information, it would go a long way in reaping the rewards of telehealth.
Remote patient monitoring is touted as one of the biggest game-changers in healthcare. It has the potential to improve doctor-patient engagement, address challenges in chronic care, reduce inequities in access to care, and improve overall public health.