A stitch in time saves nine is true for every aspect of life, specifically health. Hospitals have realized the relevance of preventive care and disease management through health-promotive practices. In short, a healthy person need not wait till lifestyle practices start deteriorating their physical and mental conditions.
If any activity, habit, or surroundings is posing a threat to their overall health, then it is required to take corrective measures to prevent and promote a healthy life. For instance, people working in cement or asbestos factories are prone to lung diseases. It is necessary for every person working in such factories to wear quality air masks.
One such way to remain healthy or help at-risk patients check their health data regularly is through remote patient monitoring programs enabling the review of metrics related to heart rate, blood pressure, glucose, and oxygen levels in the body. It is interchangeably referred to as remote physiological monitoring. Using technology to transmit medically viable information from remotely located patients to their designated doctor’s office through an electronic relay of data, RPM devices help healthcare providers to assess a patient’s health condition and recommend changes in treatment if necessary.
Remote Patient Monitoring Systems
The equipment consisting of the wearable device that is the primary source for capturing the physiological metrics of the health condition is enabled through sensors. An RPM system comprises four elements namely:
- Local data storage
- Central data storage
- Integrated diagnostic tool
The connectivity between sensor-based devices to the storage touchpoint can be established through WiFi or Bluetooth. The information that is captured through sensors and absorbed in storage points is graphically represented in mini dashboards in an application that can be run on any device. Doctors and nurses can read this physiological data of patients on a real-time basis with minimal lag in the relay and take necessary steps to prevent any stroke-like situation.
Who can benefit from remote monitoring?
The medical wearable market has increased in size with more people turning to these small devices that can track activity and health-related data through small patches. An RPM device mimics wired telemetry systems in a hospital, albeit in smaller and remote mode. The target patient pool and individuals who can benefit from these devices and sign up for remote patient monitoring are:
- Heart diseases like Chronic Heart Failure or CHF
- Respiratory diseases like Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
- Mental illness
- Fitness enthusiasts
- All people interested in their health metrics
Advantages of remote monitoring
The benefits that remote monitoring offers can be viewed either holistically or in silos. It has advantages for both patients and providers, thus making the system an integral part of the robustness of futuristic healthcare. From the perspective of both patients and care providers following benefits are an integral part of remote monitoring:
- Detailed information on metrics
The wearable device will track the data to the highest accuracy level and is released into the market after testing on a large reliable sample size. The heart rate captured through sensors will determine if it is above or below a normal range. This information will aid the telehealth coordinator in relaying the information to the doctor for the next course of preventive action.
- Engagement tools
Wearable devices come with related apps that work on smartphones that are feature rich with dashboards that display the data. With engagement tools like chatbots for interactive query solving and characters who congratulate when patients display compliance and medication adherence, the related outcomes increase
- Quick access to healthcare services
An at-risk patient who is in an RPM program may constantly wear their wearable patch. In case their data is showing a red flag, an alert is sent out and the hospital responds immediately by first connecting with the patient’s family or sending an ambulance aid immediately.
- Fewer readmissions
When prevention and disease management are possible, patient outcomes increase, and the recurrence of episodes decreases. This relates to fewer readmissions to a hospital, and the related healthcare costs are maintained to a minimum.
Remote monitoring helps patients battle non-clinical barriers such as lack of transportation or inability to move around in seeking safe care. The ease and comfort offered by these devices are a practical solution to a multitude of hurdles that were part of healthcare from a clinical and socio-economic perspective. Hence, its use is widely increasing in all hospitals and even wellness centers.