What is Remote Patient Monitoring, and how can it be used to improve patient outcomes and the delivery of healthcare services? Here we talk about RPM, how it works, and how it is revolutionizing the way physicians and care facilities provision healthcare.

Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) involves the use of physical sensors, sometimes attached to the body of a patient, to read and transmit patient data to a central hub or dashboard. It is somewhat different from telehealth, which we discussed in-depth here, in that RPM is more focused on the data collection aspect of healthcare and diagnosis, while telehealth encompasses healthcare delivered virtually. It aims to give caregivers real-time access to essential health indicators of their patients, allowing them to provide better and quicker services and more accurate diagnoses. RPM also helps care facilities and hospitals lower the cost of patient monitoring and data collection while simultaneously lowering the error rates involved with manual approaches to data collection and management.

RPM is comprised of several technologies that run concurrently, including information dashboards that visualize data and smart devices that provide audio and video connections between doctors and their patients. It also involves the use of the IoT devices that collect and then transmit the patient data used in medical decision making.

IoT and Remote Patient Monitoring

IoT can be used to connect remote devices co-located with a patient to, for example, a hospital’s IT system, making it easier for healthcare providers to continually check on their patients and immediately provide medical assistance as and when needed.

With RPM, you can use a smartphone or various types of smart body sensors to perform routine tests at home and send the results to your doctor in real-time. With the rise of chronic illnesses, in rural and urban areas, IoT connectivity has helped deliver quick and cost-effective RPM services irrespective of patient location or doctor availability. This delivery has proven to be especially useful in rural settings where trained medical personnel are often unavailable. During the current COVID-19 pandemic, physical trips to the doctor’s office are no longer possible for routine consultations.

With the right IoT setup in place, the health sector stands to save tens of billions of dollars every year. The National Broadband Plan drafted by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) found that using RPM technologies alongside electronic health records (EHR) could save the healthcare industry $700 billion over the next two decades.

Advantages of RPM

Some of the critical benefits of RPM to hospitals, patients, insurers, and even government agencies include the following:

Convenience  

RPM makes it easier for both healthcare workers as well as their patients to get the care they need when they need it. Better convenience has led to improved efficiency in healthcare delivery as well. RPM has made remote care effortless to illustrate how this happens. With near-instant communication capabilities built into RPM solutions, automated scheduling of virtual meetings has replaced in-person appointments without affecting doctor-patient facetime. Patients are less likely to skip a vital consultation when they may require one, and more people also have access to healthcare all the time, wherever they may be.

Timeliness  

With RPM, healthcare professionals can attend to their patients much more quickly. Earlier intervention is a crucial factor that helps physicians address serious, time-sensitive medical events quicker, all thanks to the continuous monitoring of a patient’s vitals provided by RPM. Quicker response times can help save lives, and prevent delayed diagnoses that can negatively impact recovery times, expedite the initiation of essential treatments.

Accuracy  

RPM devices’ accuracy can improve efficiency and collaboration between patients, doctors, and others such as loved ones, external consultants, and subject-matter experts assisting in a patient’s treatment. By connecting all these individuals on a single platform and building in additional services such as GPS location, emergencies can be addressed more quickly and more effectively. This accuracy is especially important for specific types of patients, such as those with dementia or Alzheimer’s, such as the elderly, children, or patients who tend to wander off. When doctors and caregivers no longer have to guess where a patient is or what issue they are facing, they can deliver the right care more quickly and improve overall health outcomes.

Over time, various features can be built into your RPM system to help insurers and government agencies more quickly process claims and provide services that patients need. These would be based not on lengthy claim forms filled by the patient but on automated reports generated by secure RPM devices that collect patient data, combine that data with doctor recommendations, and transmit it to the relevant insurer or government office.

Safety   

Physical safety and digital security can be built into your RPM system to ensure that access to patient health information is provisioned on an as-needed basis and that electronic medical records and patient data meet HIPAA standards.

Mobility  

Patient satisfaction with care can be improved with mobile solutions to health services. Smart health devices such as the FitBit and other health monitoring equipment have gained mainstream appeal, which is an indication that more people are buying into RPM as an acceptable way to do things. By giving users the option to manage their care remotely, doctors can improve their engagement in the care process and deliver content to patients in a format that they can easily understand. This process ensures greater satisfaction thanks to the real-time resolution of patient issues at little or no cost.

Final Thoughts

Remote patient management brings exciting changes to the realms of health services and care provision. There is a lot of research underway in this field, particularly when it comes to ensuring safety and enforcing standards across the myriad device types and use cases that may be deployed in an RPM setup. Still, it promises to revolutionize the way we approach healthcare and redefine the culture surrounding doctor facetime, the responsibilities and commitments of the medical community to patients, and the challenges involved in giving people the care they need at a cost that makes sense. Whether you operate a nursing home, daycare, hospital, remote clinic, or want to treat mobile patients like those in the armed forces or far-flung areas, the right RPM solution can help you deliver quality medical care where it matters most.

Kajeet’s Solutions Engineers can help you plan and deliver performant RPM services tailored to your business needs. Contact us today for a consultation with one of our experts.