Exploring the Benefits of Remote Patient Monitoring Devices in Healthcare

Remote patient monitoring (RPM) solutions allow patients to receive real-time monitoring and care from the comfort of their homes. RPM utilizes software and devices to capture patients’ data and transmit it to their doctors and physicians. Healthcare providers can monitor and alter a patient’s care plan from outside the clinical or hospital setting.

While remote patient monitoring models showed promise before COVID-19, the pandemic accelerated the need for robust RPM programs, software, and devices. This technology helped monitor patients at home to increase much-needed hospital capacity as beds filled with COVID-19 patients. And now, RPM is on the rise to be the new standard in primary care — it’s estimated that 11.2% of the U.S. patient population will use RPM tools by 2024. Studies have shown that remote patient monitoring can help effectively treat chronic diseases at home, reduce expensive acute hospital usage and healthcare providers’ costs, facilitate aging in place, and increase patient compliance.

For RPM programs to succeed, they need high-quality remote patient monitoring devices that work in tandem. These devices are crucial to accurately capturing patients’ vitals and health data at home — all while helping patients engage with their daily health to see more positive health outcomes.

7 Examples of Remote Patient Monitoring Devices

Remote patient monitoring devices collect and transmit patient data either by cellular or Bluetooth connection — though some devices have both forms of connectivity. While there are many options out on the market, here’s a list of seven remote patient monitoring devices commonly used in RPM programs, and how each can help providers.

1. Glucometers

Glucometers, or blood glucose monitors, automatically measure and transmit blood glucose levels to a patient’s physician. These RPM devices are critical for patients with diabetes, allowing for around-the-clock monitoring of their glucose levels to prevent hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia.

Used within RPM programs, glucometers can greatly help reduce hospital congestion. One survey of 25 healthcare organizations deploying RPM programs for a variety of uses, including diabetes care, found that 38% reported reductions in hospital admissions and 25% reported reductions in readmissions and ER visits.

2. Blood Pressure Monitors

Blood pressure cuffs and monitors calculate a patient’s heart rate and blood flow. They are one of the most utilized RPM devices for patients with hypertension, or high blood pressure.

As an extremely common ailment, hypertension treatment using blood pressure monitors can help lower hospital admissions using RPM. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, hypertension affects approximately 116 million people in the United States, which is nearly half of adults in the U.S. Patients with hypertension are very likely to benefit from home monitoring with this type of RPM device.

3. Pulse Oximeters

Pulse oximeters are small devices used to monitor the amount of oxygen in a patient’s body. They clip onto a patient’s finger or earlobe to measure light wavelengths that determine blood oxygen levels in the body. These devices are also frequently used for patients with pneumonia, asthma, and other respiratory conditions.

Through RPM, pulse oximeters can monitor patients from home and help ensure providers’  speedy responses to dangerous changes in conditions. During the recent pandemic, RPM programs utilized pulse oximeters to signal when a patient may have needed to seek treatment for COVID-19.

4. Wearables

Wearable remote patient monitoring devices — like Fitbits and Apple Watches — help healthcare providers track a patient’s heart rate, steps, falls, and sleep. Activity trackers give physicians insight into patients’ daily routines, which can affect their patients’ long-term care plans. Some wearables continuously monitor a patient’s heart rate, blood pressure, glucose, and weight all through a single device.

It’s predicted that demand for wearable technology is going to jump in the next few years as more patients are interested in sharing this data with their healthcare providers. This is great news for providers — instant access to these vitals helps streamline information processing using RPM, and seamlessly integrates such monitoring into the everyday lives of patients.

5. ECGs

ECGs detect heart function and are commonly used for patients with cardiac conditions like congestive heart failure, arrhythmia, and heart attacks.

Many heart-focused health companies are now making remote heart monitoring EKG devices that patients can use at home. These revolutionary RPM devices are giving patients and their physicians a clearer picture of their heart health in real-time, which is necessary for preventive and emergency treatment.

6. Scales

Bluetooth scales for RPM programs allow patients to track their weight daily. Doctors and physicians can closely monitor any weight changes, which could impact medication dosages or chronic conditions.

Obesity is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease, certain cancers, and diabetes, so physicians must have access to this data. RPM scales can also prompt patients to take responsibility and be aware of trends in their lifestyles —  helping ensure providers can identify dangerous risk factors before they become an emergency.

7. Thermometers

RPM thermometers quickly detect a patient’s temperature, which can alert their physician when they may be sick. Bluetooth thermometers are designed to either scan a patient’s forehead or be placed under their tongue for an accurate reading. A fever is a leading indicator of many health conditions like the flu, infections, COVID-19, and other illnesses.

How RPM Solutions & Devices Benefit Healthcare Providers

While there are many different types of remote patient monitoring devices, most RPM programs use a combination of the technologies above and a software platform to successfully care for patients. The patient populations in need of monitoring will help determine the best mix of devices to use.

Here are just a few of the reasons why clinicians and providers benefit from this remote technology:

  • Ease of access to patient data: RPM devices give clinicians access to real-time patient data, allowing them the possibility to provide care without an in-person visit. RPM devices also give physicians a comprehensive view of patient data, so they can better monitor chronic conditions.
  • Ability to help more patients without burnout: RPM helps providers reduce the number of patients in waiting rooms by monitoring and caring for some patients remotely. This helps reduce stress on physicians who are caring for multiple patients at once.
  • Increased practice revenue: RPM solutions help enable providers to increase their billable hours by tracking time spent on phone calls and messaging. Telehealth also helps reduce the number of patient no-shows, which improves productivity. This innovative technology gives practices a competitive edge, allowing them to attract and retain more patients.

Trapollo Can Help You Select the Best Remote Patient Devices for Your RPM Program

Healthcare providers across the United States are realizing the many benefits of remote patient monitoring devices and are beginning to utilize them in the programs they offer their patients. If you’re looking to implement an RPM program or learn what an RPM solution could look like for your organization, Trapollo can help. Our RPM solutions bridge the gap between technology, data, and patient care by using the best remote patient monitoring devices on the market. Contact us to learn how we can help design, implement, and support your RPM program today.

In addition to world-class RPM solutions, we offer medical device selection and management to recommend the right telehealth and remote monitoring devices based on your program’s and patients’ needs. With so many different tools and connectivity options out there, it’s challenging to select the right technology for your programs. We are always testing and evaluating new platforms and technologies to stay up-to-date with the continuous advances in connected health technology.

Reach out to our team to see how we can work closely with you to select the best devices across multiple chronic conditions and diseases.

mia-barb-headshot

For more than twenty years, Mia has focused her career on healthcare innovation to improve the patient experience while increasing quality and decreasing cost of care. She has managed projects and delivered solutions in a variety of consumer-driven healthcare, managed care and specialty medical management organizations. At Cox/Trapollo, Mia is especially passionate equipping consumers with the tools and solutions required to make their homes the new health hub.