Remote patient monitoring (RPM) use is growing as patients and providers both become aware of its benefits, particularly the ability to produce better results and reduce costs. Initial expectations may have been that RPM would be heavily adopted to deliver care to elderly populations with chronic conditions. In our last post, however, we discussed the impact of RPM across the three large population groups making healthcare decisions today, and why each of them will play a key role in its continued growth.
Across all demographics, remote monitoring capabilities are already enabling more convenient care, resulting in better patient outcomes and allowing physicians to effectively serve more patients. This week, we look at some of the many ways remote patient monitoring can be used to increase the quality of care and comfort. Some are specific to certain demographics, but others are relevant across age groups.
Already, researchers at the University of Iowa reported that telehealth solutions can enable better care for autistic children. Now, a group of Purdue University researchers have launched a study that could prove that RPM can be used to actually diagnose autism in infants.
For patients of all ages with diabetes, monitoring devices are able to provide real-time blood pressure and blood glucose level readings, and send alerts to patients and/or providers when treatment is needed. Some of them are completely non-invasive, such as a small patch the patients wear on their arms. The peak age for Type 1 diabetes diagnosis is about 14 in the United States, so this is truly a remote patient monitoring application that crosses generational divides.
Remote patient monitoring benefits aren’t limited to home use. Hospitals and emergency rooms, for instance, can give patients wearable devices to collect vital signs while they wait, or on an ongoing basis for admitted patients. The remote data collection saves time for patients and doctors, and allows staff to tend to other needs that require in-person intervention. Such devices can also be set with patient-specific alert thresholds to alert medical staff if a patient’ heart rate goes above a certain limit, for instance.
Pacemakers and cardiac resynchronization therapy help treat patients suffering from heart failure. RPM allows their devices to be monitored by doctors while allowing patients to remain in their homes, increasing quality of life and reducing hospital stays.
Dementia and other factors that come with aging carry with them inherent risks of falling, becoming incoherent or confused, or losing sense of direction. Various sensors and tracking devices can help monitor location, as well as positioning of mobility devices (canes, wheelchairs, walkers), and can send alerts to caregivers, family members, or physicians when necessary.
Remote patient monitoring technology provides doctors exponentially more data about patients’ emotional, behavioral, and physical health conditions than conventional treatment, allowing them to more effectively track triggers and administer care programs, while reducing the chances of relapse. Remote monitoring also increases patient engagement, a critical component of mental health treatment.
In addition to using remote monitoring to track statistics in sick children (temperature, weight, heart rate, etc.) physicians and parents can track health and behavioral data on a day-to-day basis. The resulting data then provides previously unavailable insight into both behavioral and health patterns, as well as monitoring response to any medications children may be taking. Thresholds and automated alerts can be customized on a per patient basis, allowing for highly effective monitoring based in individual needs.
Using motion trackers, accelerometers, and other sensors, physical therapists and doctors can remotely monitor progress during recovery from surgeries and sports injuries. With the data, they are able to adjust rehab programs as needed. Virtual visits can be use to complement data analytics and allow patients to receive follow-up consultations leveraging your complete telehealth platform.
RPM solutions can allow monitoring and reporting of vital statistics to physicians at regular intervals during pregnancy, reducing the frequency of office visits, saving time and cost, while providing a convenient mean of identifying any changes. Home CTG testing also allows doctors to monitor at-risk pregnancies between visits. In addition, other telehealth services can be used for remote consultations between expectant mothers and doctors for normal updates when no irregularities are found and no in-clinic procedures are required.
These are only a few uses where remote patient monitoring solutions leverage modern technology to deliver more convenient more effective care for patients. Already, RPM is being used to serve all age groups, and as telehealth platforms and related technologies continue to evolve, new use cases will also emerge. What is clear is that the ability to receive care in a comfortable environment is creating a population that is more engaged in its own health, a key to driving better overall health.
For more information on how remote patient monitoring can deliver quality care and improve outcomes, visit us here.