Remote patient monitoring, often known as remote physiologic monitoring, is the use of digital technologies to monitor and collect medical and other health data from patients and wirelessly transmit this information to healthcare providers for evaluation and, if required, recommendations and instructions.
RPM programs “… can also keep individuals healthy, allow older and disabled persons to stay home longer, and avoid entering skilled nursing facilities. RPM may also help lower the number of hospital admissions, readmissions, and lengths of stay in hospitals – all of which contribute to a higher quality of life while reducing costs. “
Before the COVID-19 health crisis, remote patient monitoring was becoming more popular. This may be linked to the 2020 code changes that made RPM one of the most lucrative Medicare care management programs and healthcare organizations embracing technology to support their patients’ health and wellness.
How Remote Patient Monitoring Works
Let’s take a look at some basic facts about RPM:
- A company develops a remote patient monitoring program to provide an RPM service to patients and deploys the software. Providers may use remote patient monitoring to collect a variety of patient health data, including blood pressure, heart rate, vital signs, weight, and blood sugar levels.
- A doctor orders or prescribes RPM if they determine that a patient may benefit from remote physiologic monitoring of one or more types of health data that RPM can collect. The provider obtains the patient’s consent before ordering or prescribing RPM.
- The patient receives a device to collect his or her health data. The most common remote patient monitoring devices are blood pressure monitors, weight scales, blood glucose meters, and spirometers, which must all be connected electronically. Other RPM devices include pulse oximeters and ECG machines, which are becoming increasingly popular.
- When the equipment is configured correctly, it captures health data from the patient and transmits it to the doctor or other care provider, usually electronically.
- The data are then analyzed by the provider, who gives the patient health and wellness recommendations and instructions based on the findings.
Providers must undergo additional procedures to provide remote patient monitoring services, including determining, setting up a patient intake program, developing policies and procedures, and teaching staff. Note: Providers who work with a reputable RPM program vendor will not have to complete some of these actions and will get help from others.
Benefits of Remote Patient Monitoring
According to a study from the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), entitled “Connected Health and Remote Patient Monitoring: Consumer and Industry Use,” consumers and industry use connected health technologies in various ways. CTA’s national poll included more than 2,000 adults, 100 primary care physicians, 60 endocrinologists, and 40 nurses.
According to patients, the top three advantages of remote patient monitoring were:
- Detailed information on individual health
- Quick access to healthcare services
- Ownership of health data allows them to have more say in their health.
Healthcare professionals highlighted:
- Improved patient success
- Increased rates of compliance
- Patients who have greater control over their health.
RPM is also a popular choice for several reasons. For example, RPM is covered by many insurance plans and reimbursed exceptionally well.
Several additional advantages linked to remote patient monitoring usage have propelled it forward. RPM appears to be here to stay between public health worries and difficulties in delivering care to an aging population. This online service is attractive to practitioners nationwide because it provides a secure and effective tool for delivering healthcare to some of their most vulnerable patients.
Remote Patient Monitoring and the Value for Patients
Let’s look at five ways that patients gain from remote patient monitoring:
- Access to the healthcare team is easier. Therapists are updated on their patients’ health status since RPM devices deliver real-time health data. This offers patients and carers greater peace of mind.
- Fewer visits to the doctor’s office. This means that patients are less likely to be exposed to other diseases and need lesser time and money for transportation.
- Improved quality of service. RPM can help practitioners better understand a patient’s health situation, resulting in more accurate drug dosages, fewer emergency department visits, and longer between clinic appointments.
- More personal health control. RPM aims to provide patients with an easy-to-use smartphone or tablet application that allows them to assess their health immediately. This enables patients to make minor adjustments to their daily routine that can help them better recognize abnormal changes and developments.
- Better support and education. More detailed information about a patient’s health status is provided to the healthcare team, allowing practitioners to give more individualized support and education.
Edward James Letko is a medical device entrepreneur spearheading the innovation of remote patient monitoring technology. He has founded and operated two medical device companies, both of which have developed ground-breaking technologies in their respective markets. Please contact us if you are interested in learning more about this technology or using it in your practice. We would be happy to discuss its potential applications with you.