Imagine monitoring your health from the comfort of your home, taking readings such as blood pressure, blood glucose levels, and heart rate using various devices that transmit your data to your healthcare provider. This is now possible thanks to remote patient monitoring (RPM) systems. RPM is a technology-enabled healthcare service that has the potential to revolutionize chronic disease management by empowering patients, reducing hospital admissions, and providing more timely interventions. In this article, we will explore how RPM is changing healthcare and the benefits it offers to patients and healthcare systems alike.
Meet Remote Patient Monitoring Systems!
Chronic diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension, are leading causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide. These conditions require ongoing management and monitoring to prevent complications and maintain optimal health. Remote patient monitoring (RPM) devices are emerging as an effective tool for managing chronic diseases.
RPM is a technology-enabled healthcare service that enables patients to monitor their health remotely using various devices such as wearable sensors, glucometers, blood pressure cuffs, and other medical equipment. The data generated by these devices are transmitted to healthcare professionals who can monitor the patient’s condition and provide timely interventions.
Chronic disease management is a significant challenge for healthcare systems globally, and the RPM has the potential to address many of the barriers to effectively managing these conditions. RPM can improve patient experience, prevent hospital admissions, identify high-risk patients, and lead to cost savings for healthcare systems.
This article explores the benefits of RPM for chronic disease management, disguising what influence RPM has on the healthcare industry in these key areas.
Doc, can I be sick from home? The role of RPM
Chronic disease management can be a burden for patients, requiring frequent visits to healthcare providers and ongoing self-monitoring. RPM can potentially improve the patient experience by reducing the inconvenience of disease management and empowering patients to take an active role in their care.
RPM allows patients to monitor their health from the comfort of their homes. Patients can take readings such as blood pressure, blood glucose levels, and heart rate using various devices, which are then transmitted to their healthcare provider for review. This eliminates the need for frequent visits to healthcare providers, which can be inconvenient and time-consuming for patients.
RPM also allows patients to receive more timely interventions, which can improve health outcomes. Healthcare providers can monitor patients’ health data in real time and provide feedback, advice, or interventions as needed. For example, if a patient’s blood glucose levels are consistently high, a physician can make medication adjustments or recommend changes to the patient’s diet or exercise regimen. To achieve a truly patient-friendly approach, medications can be delivered to patients’ doors like UK’s Striptdrop already provides it. Diet and exercise can be provided either as a smart solution, e.g., as a patient’s engaging journey with a predefined, tailored to the patient’s condition exercise and diet hints
Studies have shown that RPM can improve patient outcomes and satisfaction. In 2020 the Teheran University of Medical Science conducted a study of patients with diabetes; those who used RPM had lower HbA1c levels (a measure of blood glucose control) than those who received usual care. Additionally, RPM users reported higher satisfaction with their care and better communication with their healthcare providers.
RPM has excellent potential to improve the patient experience by reducing the burden of chronic disease management, empowering patients to take an essential role in their care, and providing more timely interventions. By improving the patient experience, RPM can help to improve health outcomes and reduce healthcare costs.
There’s no need to be patient! How RPM saves costs?
Hospital admissions for patients with chronic diseases are common and costly for healthcare systems. RPM can potentially prevent hospital admissions by enabling earlier detection and intervention of health problems.
RPM allows healthcare providers to monitor patient’s health data to enable them to detect and intervene earlier when a patient’s health starts to deteriorate. For example, healthcare providers can monitor a patient’s blood pressure remotely and identify when it reaches dangerous levels. The provider can then intervene by adjusting medication dosages or advising on lifestyle modifications to prevent hospitalization.
Several studies have shown that RPM can reduce hospital admissions for patients with chronic diseases. A study from 2022 of patients with heart failure found that those who used RPM had a 46% reduction in hospital admissions compared to those who received usual care. Similarly, a study of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) found that those who used RPM had a 74% reduction in hospital admissions.
In addition to reducing hospital admissions, RPM can lead to shorter hospital stays for patients requiring hospitalization. By providing earlier intervention, healthcare providers can prevent conditions from worsening and reduce the need for lengthy hospital stays, as well as be able to discharge faster, turning clinical observations into home observations.
RPM systems are absolutely a win-win scenario for patients and clinicians. But deployment can be demanding and needs to be understood by healthcare providers. Moreover, it requires something else, it’s necessary for the whole ecosystem, and it’s the Internet of Things.
The IoT will see you now – transforming the work in healthcare
IoT technology has allowed for the development of various medical devices and sensors that can collect and transmit data about patients’ health to healthcare providers. For example, wearable devices such as fitness trackers and smartwatches can collect data about patients’ activity levels, heart rate (in 24h view, almost like Holter’s exams), and sleep patterns. All of them, by now, were rather underestimated, complicated to tack, or inconvenient for patients. Glucometers and blood pressure cuffs can monitor patients’ vital signs and transmit data to healthcare providers. This data can be used to identify potential health problems before they become severe and to provide timely interventions.
One of the key advantages of IoT-enabled RPM is that it allows for continuous monitoring of patients’ health, even when they are not in the hospital or clinic. This can be particularly valuable for chronic patients requiring ongoing monitoring and management.
IoT it’s not just outpatient benefits, on hospital wards, IoT can empower physicians’ work by automating routine tasks. For example, IoT-enabled devices can automate data collection, allowing physicians to gather patient data without manual entry. This can save significant time and reduce the likelihood of human error. Similarly, IoT-enabled devices can automate routine patient monitoring, allowing doctors to receive alerts and notifications when a patient’s condition changes, reducing the need for manual monitoring.
Prevention is key with RPM
It’s better to prevent than cure; RPM’s proactive approach enables healthcare providers to monitor patients’ health data in function of time and identify trends and patterns in their health status. For example, healthcare providers can identify patients with consistently high blood pressure readings or irregular heartbeats and intervene before these conditions lead to complications.
RPM also enables healthcare providers to monitor patients who may be at risk of hospital admission. By monitoring patients’ health data, healthcare providers can identify when a patient’s condition is worsening and intervene earlier to prevent hospitalization.
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Remote Monitoring is the future of healthcare
Remote patient monitoring devices have the potential to revolutionize chronic disease management by improving patient experience, preventing hospital admissions, reaching suitable patients at the right time, and lowering healthcare costs. RPM allows healthcare providers to monitor patient’s health data in real time and provide timely interventions to prevent complications and hospitalizations. Many studies have shown that RPM can lead to better health outcomes and significant cost savings for healthcare systems.
As RPM technology evolves, we will likely see even more benefits for chronic disease management. For example, advances in wearable technology may enable patients to monitor their health data more efficiently and accurately. Additionally, artificial intelligence and machine learning may allow healthcare providers to analyze patients’ health data more efficiently and identify trends and patterns that may be difficult for human providers to detect.
However, some challenges must be addressed for RPM to reach its full potential. These include data privacy and security issues, as well as concerns about the potential for RPM to exacerbate existing healthcare disparities. Patients in underserved communities may not have access to the technology or internet infrastructure needed for RPM. This means that they may not be able to benefit from the same level of care as those in more affluent areas. Moreover, patients unfamiliar with technology or with low health literacy may find it challenging to use RPM devices or understand the information they receive from them. This can lead to less engagement with the technology and, ultimately, poorer health outcomes.
Overall, RPM has the potential to transform chronic disease management and improve the lives of millions of patients worldwide. As an IT company, we continue to innovate in this space, so you can expect to see even more benefits for patients and healthcare systems in the coming years.