Remote Patient Monitoring
Almost every industry in the world has benefited from technological advancements over the years. The healthcare industry has been a major beneficiary of these advancements. In recent years, advances in the Internet and computing power have had a significant impact on how people receive health care.
Remote patient monitoring is one of the most significant opportunities introduced by these technologies in the health sector.
According to Insider Intelligence, approximately 30 million people in the United States will use remote monitoring tools by 2024. These figures could rise even higher if more people switch to 5G Internet by then. The majority of remote patient monitoring devices rely on fast Internet connections to ensure reliable communication between patients and health care providers.
This article is for you if you want to learn more about remote patient monitoring, why it is important, and how it can be implemented in any healthcare facility.
What is Remote Patient Monitoring?
Remote patient monitoring (RPM) is the use of technology to allow remote communication between health workers and patients in order to obtain real-time information about the patient’s health. Even if a patient is unable to travel to the hospital, they can use this technology to receive basic medical care.
Remote patient monitoring programs are typically used for patients suffering from chronic diseases such as diabetes or high blood pressure. Because of technological advancements such as the Internet and the increased power of computers and mobile devices, these patients no longer need to visit the hospital on a regular basis for checkups or medication. All of this is done remotely, while patients are at home or at work.
Why is Remote Patient Monitoring Important?
1.It Reduces the Overall Cost of Medication in the Long Run
When a person does not have to visit the hospital on a regular basis, they do not have to pay for transportation, which saves them money. If you have a chronic disease, you may need to see the doctor several times per month, which can be very expensive in the long run. Surprisingly, the majority of the visits are for routine checkups that do not necessitate the use of sophisticated medical equipment.
In this case, using remote patient monitoring tools is much less expensive than physically visiting the hospital. The only high cost associated with remote patient monitoring is the purchase of the devices required to send the doctors the information they require about your health.
Glucose meters (primarily for diabetes), caloric logging programs, blood pressure monitors, and other remote patient monitoring devices are commonly used today.
2.Less Congestion in Hospitals
A hospital that only admits patients with complications that cannot be remotely monitored will always have less congestion than one that accepts all types of patients. This means that all patients will receive the attention they require because the number of people who need to see a doctor and other health professionals will be reduced.
At the end of the day, this type of program benefits both patients who are being monitored remotely and those who are physically present in hospitals.
Hospitals that monitor a large number of their patients from home put less strain on their health workers and medical facilities, which improves efficiency and productivity in the long run.
3.Patients are Monitored in Real-Time
Doctors can use remote monitoring technology to see how their patients are doing in real time and take appropriate action. For example, if a doctor is remotely monitoring a diabetes patient, they can quickly learn their glucose levels in real-time by using a dependable glucose monitoring device.
If the numbers fall outside of the normal range, the doctors can advise the patient on what to do at that precise moment to return their glucose levels to normal.
Real-time monitoring also aids in the detection of some diseases before they progress to more difficult-to-treat stages. Remote monitoring also allows doctors to identify side effects of a specific medication and make recommendations before the medication causes more serious problems.
4.Improves Healthcare Quality
When patients have devices to monitor some of the most important health parameters, such as glucose levels and blood pressure, the doctor will have a clear picture of how these change over time. This information provides the doctor with more facts on which to base their next course of action.
This eventually leads to better diagnosis and treatment, which benefits both patients and doctors.
Now that we’ve established why remote health monitoring is important, let’s look at how to set up a successful remote patient monitoring program.
Steps for Remote Patient Monitoring
1.Identify the Need for Remote Patient Monitoring
Before deciding whether to implement a remote monitoring program at your medical facility, you must first determine the need. You can begin by evaluating how your facility currently handles clients and then determining whether some of the interactions your medical workers have with patients could be done remotely.
If this is the case, your hospital should implement a relevant remote patient monitoring program.
2.Bring a Team with the Right Skills and Expertise on Board
Now that you’ve determined that remote patient monitoring is necessary, the next step is to find people with the necessary expertise and skills to get the project started. You’ll need to find doctors who have prior experience working with patients remotely. Any doctor can learn to remotely monitor patients, but having those who have done it before on board is an added benefit.
Biomedical engineers and technicians may also be required to maintain and repair remote monitoring devices used by doctors and patients to communicate.
It is easier to lay the right strategies for implementing a remote patient monitoring program that meets the needs of your facility when you have the right team.
3.Set Your Remote Patient Monitoring Goals
The goals of implementing remote patient monitoring programs vary by medical facility. That means you must first define your objectives for implementing this program before moving forward. Setting the right goals will require you to sit down with your team, assess the current situation, and then consider how remotely monitoring patients will improve it. It is critical to generate as many ideas as possible in order to evaluate and select the best ones later.
Some common objectives you can set include:
- Reducing the costs of monitoring patients that are incurred when patients physically come to the medical.
- Improving the effectiveness and the quality of services doctors and other medical workers provide.
- Improving patients’ satisfaction.
- Reducing congestion in the medical facility.
Your goal selection should be entirely determined by the current state of affairs in your facility. As a result, these objectives should address the difficulties you are currently experiencing while caring for your patients.
4.Determine the RPM Solution You Need to Get Started
A remote patient monitoring system can be implemented using one of three methods: a ready-made solution, a complex of individual components from ready-made systems, or the development of custom software. The decision you make should be heavily influenced by your budget and the goals you have for implementing the RPM program.
The decision to create customized software entails significant upfront costs. Nonetheless, it is less expensive in the long run, especially if the hospital requires an RPM solution to integrate with other hospital software, particularly the EHR system.
5.Start Recruiting Patients
Now that you have the human resources and the devices in place, you can begin recruiting patients. Begin with your current patients, particularly those with chronic diseases that necessitate regular monitoring. The simplest way to persuade them is to demonstrate the benefits of participating in your RPM program.
When pitching the idea to your patients, explain how the program will help them save money in the long run and improve the overall quality of their health. Because patients must pay a high upfront cost, it is necessary to demonstrate to them that their investment is worthwhile.
Following your explanation, you should allow the decision-making process to be voluntary; your job is to explain and allow the patients to decide for themselves.
For better results, you may need to first categories your patients based on disease/condition and the length of time it takes to treat the disease. This method makes it easier to package your message while explaining the concept to a specific group of patients.
6.Training Patients and Health Workers
Because any new technology necessitates training, both your health care workers and patients must be trained to use the RPM devices. Of course, you should begin with the health workers because they will be the ones to instruct the patients later on. Health care workers must be taught how to use RPM devices, configure them, and interpret the real-time data they send from patients.
When the health workers understand how these devices work, they will be able to train them to pilot the program. Patients will need to be taught how to use the devices and when to use them. Most RPM devices are simple to use, so learning how to use them will be quick.
They can also be given a simplified user manual to which they can always refer if they forget how to perform a specific procedure.
7.Select the Technical Support Services for Your System
Consider the issue of technical support as one of the critical points. Technical assistance is available from your system vendor, the hospital’s IT department, or third-party IT professionals. It is critical that your technical support is simple and easy to use.
8.Establish Cooperation with a Reliable Technical Partner
A long-term partnership with an IT consulting firm that specialises in providing development services for the healthcare industry is the most effective option.
Nile Bits has extensive experience developing software solutions that connect doctors, patients, pharmaceutical companies, laboratories, and others. Our team proposes disruptive technologies that will improve patient care and increase patient engagement.
9.Evaluating the Impact of the Program
After piloting the program, you should evaluate its impact on both patients and health workers on a regular basis. The best way to assess the program’s effectiveness is to compare it to the objectives you set at the outset.
For example, if one of your goals was to reduce the costs of patient monitoring, you must calculate how much money you saved after implementing the remote patient monitoring program in comparison to your previous monitoring programs.
The RPM platform database contains all of the details for Remote Patient Monitoring, which you can use to assess the impact of your program. This data can later be used to guide you on the next steps to take in order to improve the effectiveness of your RPM program in the short and long term.
Using Multiple Devices Simultaneously
When implementing a remote monitoring program, you will frequently encounter patients who require the use of multiple devices at the same time in order to record all of the relevant health parameters that the doctor may need to monitor continuously.
A diabetes patient with high blood pressure, for example, requires both a glucose monitoring device and a blood pressure monitor. In this case, remote patient monitoring software is used to record information from all devices for each patient.
Challenges of Implementing a Remote Patient Monitoring Program
1.High implementation costs
The initial investment in implementing an RPM program in any medical facility is quite high. In the beginning of the program, you may have to subsidies the service for patients in order to gain more clients. There is also a cost associated with training medical personnel and patients on how to use the RPM devices.
2.The steep learning curve for some patients
Non-technical patients usually need some time to learn how to use RPM devices. Finally, this slows the rate at which new patients enroll in remote patient monitoring programs. It is also more expensive and time-consuming to train patients who require more time to learn how to use these devices.
3.It is hard to retain patients
The cost for patients to participate in the remote monitoring program is high, which discourages them from using this type of service in the long run. Unless a person has a chronic disease, they are less likely to enroll in RPM programs.
4.Smaller target market
This patient monitoring methodology is best suited for those suffering from chronic diseases. People without chronic diseases are unlikely to join RPM programs, no matter how inexpensive they are. As a result, the number of potential patients you can have on your RPM program in the long run is limited.
5.Data security issues
One of the reasons some patients may refuse to participate in an RPM program is concern about the security of their data. You will need to use a strong cloud RPM platform to store and manage your clients’ health data. In some cases, third-party companies may handle part or all of your patient’s data, which may not respect your patients’ privacy.
However, keep in mind that any minor error you make with your patients’ data can lead to lawsuits that could potentially ruin your brand’s image.
Most remote monitoring devices are simplified because they must be user-friendly for patients. Unfortunately, sometimes simplicity comes at the expense of accuracy and dependability. This erroneous data may lead to a poor decision, which could jeopardies the patients’ health.
Remote patient monitoring implementation, like any other innovative process, is complicated. However, if you choose a trustworthy partner, all of your difficulties will be minimized, and you will be able to focus on your primary objectives.