Remote patient monitoring (RPM) involves the use of wearable devices and other connected medical equipment to help patients and doctors engage with one another. This emerging technology can improve health outcomes, and often gives patients more and better access to treatment opportunities.
Using RPM, patients are able to send information about their vitals and other medical information to their doctors through apps, devices, and other related electronic means. Their doctor, on the other hand, can more effectively monitor progress, identify care gaps, and prescribe or adjust care plans.
RPM’s impact on health outcomes and cost savings suggest that physiologic monitoring will play a significant role in the future of healthcare.
Patients Want Remote Monitoring
Many patients today are receptive to the idea of remote patient monitoring. They like the idea of wearable devices that can track important areas of their health and well-being. Many of them already use things like health apps and fitness trackers. They know how well they’re sleeping, what kind of step counts they’re getting each day, and their resting heart rate. With RPM and connected medical devices, more patients can get the information they need.
More patients also want to handle their medical care virtually, since the pandemic is still something they have to consider when they leave their houses for a doctor’s appointment. Between telehealth opportunities and the ability of wearable devices to record and store data, patients can work with their doctors in a lot of important ways without ever needing to leave the comfort of their home.
Plus, wearable devices can provide patients with confidence and peace of mind, knowing that they’re being monitored for problems. As long as patients are aware that the device is just a tool that provides them with a partial picture of their health, they can use it in ways that help them. That can give them hope and support for many different medical conditions.
Physicians Are Often Still Skeptical of RPM
While patients are generally onboard with remote patient monitoring, many physicians remain skeptical of what wearable devices can really do. They worry about the accuracy of these devices when compared to the information that can be learned from an in-office visit to a medical professional. Some physicians also express concerns that patients who have this kind of monitoring will assume that they don’t need visits to their doctor, or will have a false sense of security regarding their health.
A significant concern for medical professionals is that wearable devices aren’t able to replace the hands-on treatment a doctor or nurse can provide. If a patient doesn’t recognize that their device isn’t providing them with the whole picture of their health, they may assume that they’re healthy when they actually have significant issues to treat. A device that monitors heart rate, for example, doesn’t tell the patient anything about their blood sugar levels.
Wearing these devices correctly is key to getting accurate data, and doctors worry that patients may not use the technology the right way, as well. A wearable device needs consistency and fine-tuning to make sure it provides the most accurate data. That relies on a patient being sure they’re using it the right way all the time. While many patients can do this correctly, it may not be realistic for some patients to remember specific placement issues or other small details that could affect the data tracking.
There Are Benefits for Both Sides
When handled the right way, remote patient monitoring has significant, ongoing benefits for both patients and medical professionals. Wearable devices offer a lot of great information that patients can use to let their doctors know what’s going on with their health. Medical professionals can then use that information to make recommendations, adjustments, and corrections to treatments and medications. Lifestyle suggestions can also be tied to the data provided by connected medical equipment.
Patients get more thorough care and support because medical providers get more complete information about that patient’s daily health. It’s a win-win for everyone — but only if it’s used correctly. Devices have to be worn properly and consistently. Medical professionals need to make sure the patient’s device is connected to their EHR (electronic health record) system. Without a tie-in to records their doctor can see the data the device is storing and collecting isn’t providing any extra benefit for medical care.
Choosing the Right RPM Technology Matters
Thanks to remote patient monitoring and medical-grade wearable devices, it’s easier than ever for patients and doctors to be partners in the healthcare journey.
The Joerns and BioIntelliSense™ BioSuite of Remote Physiologic Monitoring allows patients to transmit data about their health directly to their medical professionals. Not only does that help doctors prescribe the best support for their patients, but it also empowers patients to take control of their health, as well.