Monitoring patients health from afar

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Monitoring patients health from afar

Digital technology is revolutionizing the way patients receive healthcare.

Remote patient monitoring (RPM) is a new approach that allows medical providers to monitor patient health outside of conventional clinical settings, such as in the home or in a remote area. Armed with electronically received health data in their offices, providers can review and provide medical instructions to their patients without an in-person appointment.

How RPM works

  • Providers identify patient health conditions to manage remotely. With patient consent, providers order or prescribe RPM.
  • Patients are given a device to collect their health data at home. The most common RPM devices are blood pressure monitors, weight scales, blood glucose meters, and spirometers (measures breathing).
  • The device captures patient health data and transmits it to providers through cellular networking or Bluetooth. Patients do not need internet or cell phone service themselves to participate.
  • Providers analyze the data and give health/wellness guidance based on the results.

Patients who participate in RPM often have a chronic medical condition, such as hypertension, diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), congestive heart failure (CHF), or COVID-19.

Remote patient monitoring was already gaining popularity before the COVID-19 pandemic. When the pandemic hit, the federal government recognized RPM as an efficient way for patients to receive healthcare, while reducing their travel and direct contact with others.

In a 2019 study by the Consumer Technology Association, patients cited the following benefits of RPM:

  • It provides detailed information on personalized health
  • It allows for faster access to healthcare services
  • It gives patients greater influence on their own wellbeing

Though not required, patients who participate in an RPM program can also participate in a Mobile Integrated Healthcare program.