Remote Patient Monitoring Explained

RPM or remote patient monitoring has gained a lot of prominence during the last few years. Although in use for over 50 years, almost half a century, the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic really supercharged the trend.

During that era, RPM became the MVP of medicine. It is extensively used throughout the world and allows physicians to continue caring for their patients – particularly in the field of psychology and cardiology – through virtual care.

It is estimated that by the year 2025, the Remote Patient Monitoring industry will double in net worth and size. Why? Technologies are now readily available for consumers, at a smidgen of their cost, healthcare specialists can leverage RPM methods to give better quality care at a fraction of operating costs, and ultimately the field of medicine can hand out better patient compliance and improve overall products. In this article, we’re going to talk about RPM, what it is, a bit about its history, and where it is headed.

What is remote patient monitoring?

Remote patient monitoring is a process where medical information is collected and analyzed by a remote health care provider. The RPM methodology uses different tools for collecting and analyzing medical information from a patient to provide care remotely. This technology often enables the continuous monitoring of patients outside of the traditional clinical setting.

A pilot program for RPM was created in the mid-1970s, as a solution for monitoring health issues – particularly chronic diseases – in rural communities. It was spearheaded by the Kaiser Permanente corporation – a massive healthcare consortium from Oklahoma – to visualize the advantages of RPM in the field.

Today, thanks in part to COVID, the industry has really skyrocketed. Most tech companies, including Apple, Fitbit, Facebook, Samsung, and Google, have started to manufacture wearable health devices. That along with software, not only that inherent to these devices, but platforms such as Zoom, Skype, and Snapchat, have taken this industry to a whole new level.

Remote Patient Monitoring can be done by using different methods such as:

  • Telemedicine: The use of telecommunications to deliver healthcare services.
  • Telemonitoring: The use of telecommunications to monitor a patient’s health status without requiring an in-person visit.
  • EHR (Electronic Health Records): Electronic records that are kept on patients that are accessible by physicians and other healthcare professionals.

How does remote patient monitoring work?

Remote patient monitoring is a medical practice in which medical professionals remotely monitor the health of patients who are unable to come to the hospital. Remote patient monitoring can be done through video conferencing, email and phone calls, or even through wearable devices.

The benefits of remote patient monitoring include an increased ability for doctors to monitor and treat their patients, as well as a reduction in hospital visits and costs. There are also ethical benefits, such as an increased sense of privacy for patients.

They work by levering today’s tech to provide monitoring of patients and individuals outside of a hospital or medical facility. In many cases, RPM involves constant remote monitoring by either a physician or an AI — these track physical conditions and bio-data to create a unique medical profile, chronic conditions, or post-op rehab. They are useful not only to spot diseases or issues before they become too complicated but for managing self-care processes – such as hemodialysis – that might be too complex to handle.

At its core, all Remote patient monitoring tech has these 4 functions — all of which are governed by state-of-art and constantly-updated algorithms.

Patient Health Data Collection by an RPM Device

Data is collected by the device and stored. In many cases, this includes blood oxygen televise, temperature, cardiac rhythm, sleep cycles, etc. This data is collected automatically and constantly without the person wearing the device being aware of it.

Health Data Transmission to the Healthcare Provider

Data is transmitted to a healthcare provider. In many cases, through the use of API software – Application Programing Interface – healthcare providers can piggyback off tech. They can ask your tech to give them access to the data it has collected.

Health Data Evaluation and Notification

Data is then analyzed not only against the patient’s unique baseline – a profile made of that person’s control metrics and standards – but against a massive collected pool of other profiles. To correlate measures, and try to pinpoint any red flags or trends healthcare providers have to be aware.

Immediate Assistance or Changing Treatment If Needed

If the system, thanks to not only human supervision but AI and algorithm auditing, sees a troubling pattern it will notify a physician — this one will then either call for immediate assistance or change treatment if needed.

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Automation in RPM

Remote patient monitoring can be done through video conferencing, email and phone calls, or even through wearable devices such as Fitbit or Apple Watch.

The benefits of remote patient monitoring include an increased ability for doctors to monitor and treat their patients, as well as a reduction in hospital visits and costs. There are also ethical benefits, such as an increased sense of privacy for patients.

And all of this is based on automation processes. Algorithms are constantly being updated so one action inevitably devolves or mutates to another without a human needing to get involved. This makes it far more efficient, error-proof, and less expensive.

Why use remote patient monitoring?

Remote patient monitoring is a low-cost and efficient way to provide care for patients. It can be used for chronic diseases, as well as acute ones.

Some of the benefits of remote patient monitoring are:

-It provides a cost-effective solution that is better than in-person care.

-It improves the quality of life by providing more independence to patients.

-It can reduce hospital readmissions and increase compliance with treatment plans.

Today, thanks to tech and the upgraded levels of Big Data Analysis, RPM is a game-changer. It is being applied in the field of cancer, COPD, diabetes, dementia, congestive heart failure, infertility, telemedicine, health administration, COVID-19, and nutrition, just to name a few.

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