What Is Remote Patient Monitoring?
Remote patient monitoring or RPM is a healthcare modality that has existed for a few years. It started gaining traction as the relevance of telehealth services was valued in the prime of the Covid-19 pandemic. When social distancing norms had to be practiced globally to contain the spread of the coronavirus, healthcare industries stretched the use of RPM-enabled technology that uses a set of devices to monitor the health of patients in different locations.
Difference Between RPM And Telehealth
Remote Patient Monitoring is a toolkit of devices that help in tracking the health of patients who are not physically present in front of a nurse or clinician. RPM is a technology that helps in electronically transmitting information between patients and doctors. It is a delivery model within the broader ambit of telehealth services.
Remote Patient Monitoring devices facilitate hospital at home programs of healthcare facilities for patients who cannot or need not be moved from the comfort of their homes. Let us examine the benefits of using RPM devices for patients here:
RPM devices like glucose monitors, wearable heart monitors, and skin patches are easy to use. They don’t need a person to be digitally literate and does not involve video calling which is a tiresome task for considerably old patients.
Data that can be accessed by clinicians
The patient’s data gathered from remote monitoring devices is stored in a cloud-based platform and retrieved by telehealth nurses and clinicians at a later stage for reviewing records.
Elevates staffing issues
Readings like heart rate and blood sugar levels need periodical tracking often within 1-2 hours in some procedures. RPM devices will relieve a nurse from consistent and repetitive but indispensable tasks. A nurse can spend time on qualitative tasks like monitoring treatment plans of patients instead of recording vitals continuously.
Patients who are convalescing after surgery need to monitor their vitals, blood pressure, blood sugar, and weight. RPM devices use digital technology to communicate with devices of a patient’s clinic or hospital.
Remote monitoring platforms send alerts to patients to remind them to monitor their health readings. These touchpoints are connected to patients’ clinics where a technician or telehealth nurse collates the information and passes it to the NLP or a doctor who is providing the care. When patients are actively involved in using RPM devices they are more engaged and will try to practice healthy habits.
RPM ensures the safety of patients in two ways; By using devices that read patients’ health data and electronically transmitting it to the clinic’s computers, RPM platforms help in constant monitoring which is vital during post-surgery recovery or a health maintenance phase. The second benefit is from patients staying in-house without getting exposed to pathogens or asymptomatic carriers of other diseases that may impact their immunity and overall health.
Automated data in emergencies
If the patient’s data is not improving or is becoming worse then an automated alert is sent via remote monitoring devices and platforms administered by a hospital-at-home program. The telehealth nurse who sees the alert connects with the patient over a phone or video call. Help is sent to bring in the patient via ambulance if the conditions of the patient warrant it. Timely intervention can even avoid an unplanned hospital admission for a patient.
Better use of resources for patients
When the footfall of patients decreases, healthcare facilities can focus on elevating the engagement levels of their patients on matters that need their attention like working on an alternative treatment plan as a backup.
Summing it up
Remote patient monitoring is taking the pressure off the overburdened healthcare system that is facing severe nursing and support staff shortages. The remote model helps in active monitoring of health-related data consistently through touchpoints. Even a seemingly stable patient’s health can deteriorate if unchecked within minutes.
At times when hospital occupancy rates are high and available resources are limited, using RPM devices to track patients’ biometric data 24/7 eases the burden on healthcare infrastructure and manpower without compromising the quality of the patient-care. As per studies records, several patients have corresponded positively about their RPM experience and tend to recommend the hospital at-home programs to others.