Healthcare providers need to routinely monitor patients in order to improve engagement, identify gaps in care, and enhance experience. However, this isn’t always easy, especially if the patient has a chronic illness and requires long-term care.The same goes for patients who may be at serious risk for a particular event, or who may be on a new medication or treatment regimen.
Fortunately, medical-grade wearable devices are making this possible, and remote patient monitoring (RPM) is becoming a reliable and welcome way for medical professionals to access deep insights into their patients’ care.
The Importance of Good Patient Outcomes
The most important thing about remote patient monitoring, including wearable technology and other connected medical equipment, is that it can provide a better outcome for the patient. A recent Canadian medical study recently determined that RPM prevented and resolved 24% more medication errors during patient care transitions than the standard care cohort. Likewise, patients reported 10-14% less pain.
The goal of connected medical devices is to make sure patients know what’s going on with their bodies, so they can work together with their doctor to develop a treatment plan. Similarly, RPM helps providers identify care gaps — even if a patient is only in the office every few months — so they can intervene more quickly.
When patients have good outcomes from wearable devices, that adds to the continued development of RPM technology. The more we use them, the better and more advanced they become.
Remote Patient Monitoring Isn’t Just Telehealth
Many people think of remote patient monitoring as telehealth visits and phone calls, but that’s not actually the case. Instead, this type of monitoring is more “dialed in” in the sense that it’s an ongoing process.
It’s not just something that involves occasional meetings to talk about symptoms and medications. Wearable devices are frequently used for monitoring because they can automatically track vital signs like heart rate or glucose levels. That information can then be sent to healthcare providers for analysis.
Patients that are already involved in telehealth interactions with their providers may be more likely to consider wearable options. Some patients may already have fitness trackers and related types of devices that give them some valuable information. Most of these devices, however, are only consumer grade.
Medical-grade wearable devices administered by a healthcare provider can help patients feel more confident that they’re getting accurate information that informs their care.
Cost Savings Add to the Value
While patient value and the development of better care options are very important, cost savings also comes into play with wearable devices. Patients who have chronic conditions may end up in the emergency room frequently, especially if their condition isn’t well-managed or they don’t get much warning when issues are showing up. But remote patient monitoring through connected medical devices can reduce hospital readmissions.
We’ve already touched on how RPM can help providers identify care gaps and intervene more quickly. Studies have shown that early intervention is much less costly for the patient and the healthcare system as a whole across a variety of conditions.
Wearable Technology Is Revolutionizing Healthcare
By using RPM and medical-grade devices, doctors can stay connected to how well their patients are doing, even over long distances. The pandemic may have increased the usage of such devices, but they were already gaining popularity before COVID became a household term.
Patients who need to frequently check vital information such as their blood sugar or heart rhythms are now able to do that much more efficiently than ever before, allowing them to get on with living their lives and having the confidence they need to feel safe and secure while doing so.
Undoubtedly, there will be much more effort in the future in order to help wearable devices become even more mainstream. That will provide patients and their doctors with more of the information they need for better ongoing care.