Remote patient monitoring: keeping the patient in sight

Remote patient monitoring devices tap into digital technology to communicate between patients and providers

Covid-19 has pushed the adoptance of telehealth solutions in healthcare to new heights. Last year, clinicians saw their patient visits obstructed by lockdowns and widespread hospital avoidance by patients due to fear of covid infection, thus requiring digital technologies to keep their clinics up and running. More than 80% of healthcare providers saw their patients through digital solutions during the pandemic and the use of telehealth increased with 4,000% from March 2019 to March 2020¹. 

One important subset of telehealth is remote patient monitoring (RPM) which includes the use of home-based devices for interaction between healthcare providers and patients. RPM usually requires platforms offered by third parties to enable collection and transfer of data as well as direct connection to the patient through cloud and video conferencing technologies.

RPM is used primarily for physiologic monitoring of the patient to keep track of the patient's health status. With RPM a wide range of clinical variables can be measured such as blood pressure, weight, heart rate and blood sugar levels using dedicated devices like blood pressure monitors, smart watches and spirometers but also more complex equipment such as ECG machines². These devices send the captured health data to the clinician, who is alerted in case values are out of range. The secure transfer of data and data privacy are of key importance for sustainable usage of RPM and maintained trust of the patients³, which is achieved by the use of different NFC tags, malware prevention and asymmetric keys to establish data encryption⁴. 

RPM is here to stay, according to recent reports that documented the experiences of patients and healthcare professionals⁵. Patient benefits include more detailed information on their health status, enhanced ownership of healthdata, faster access to health services with fewer visits to the clinic, improved health literacy and personalized treatment schemes. In addition, 52% of patients would use a connected medical device if prescribed by their physician and 25% of patients indicated they would switch to a different clinician to gain access to RPM⁶.

In addition, clinicians reported significant benefits as well, including improved clinical outcomes and compliance rates. Patients were seen to take responsibility and participate more actively in their own care, thus improving the collaboration between patient and healthcare providers. Furthermore, in the long term RPM may play a major role in the shift towards prevention-oriented healthcare with reduced numbers of hospitalizations, re-admissions and reduced length of hospital stay. This is not only beneficial for the patient's health but simultaneously reduces health care costs. In addition, RPM may greatly improve the treatment of common diseases by measurement of hypertension in cardiac patients, prevention of hypo- or hyperglycemia in diabetic patients and weight monitoring in obese patients⁷. 

RPM forms an important tool for decentralized clinical trials (DCTs), which are defined as trials executed using telemedicine, local and mobile healthcare providers and digital technologies, which allows to conduct trials more remotely and virtually compared to traditional clinical trials. PatchAi facilitates the integration of RPM into DCTs by connecting data collected by home-based devices to our clinical trial platform. Want to learn how? Click here.

 

1. “A comprehensive guide to remote patient monitoring.” https://www.prevounce.com/a-comprehensive-guide-to-remote-patient-monitoring.

2. Criscuoli de Farias, Frederico Arriaga, et al. “Remote Patient Monitoring: A Systematic Review.” Telemedicine and e-Health, vol. 26, 2020, pp. 576-583.

3.Vegesna, Ashok, et al. “Remote Patient Monitoring via Non-Invasive Digital Technologies: A Systematic Review.” Telemedicine and e-Health, vol. 23, 2017, pp. 1-21.

4. Ondiege, Brian, et al. “Exploring a New Security Framework for Remote Patient Monitoring Devices.” Computers, vol. 6, 2017, p. 6010011.

5. Cassagnol, Danielle. “Connected Health and Remote Patient Monitoring: Consumer and Industry Use.” Consumer Technology Association, 2019.

6. Tashnek, Daniel. “16 Remote patient monitoring statistics every practice should know.” https://blog.prevounce.com/16-remote-patient-monitoring-statistics-every-practice-should-know.

7. Malasinghe, Lakmini P., et al. “Remote patient monitoring: a comprehensive study.” J Ambient Intell Human Comput, vol. 10, 2019, pp. 57-76.