Telehealth uses digital and one or more communication technologies to deliver or access healthcare services. This can include phone calls, SMS, smartphone applications, or all of them. One of the main subsets of telehealth is remote patient monitoring (RPM), in which doctors can observe patients outside the usual clinical environments. The idea behind remote patient monitoring telehealth gained immense traction during the Covid-19 pandemic.
When people were forced to remain indoors, they needed a means of accessing medical services without risking exposure in hospital waiting rooms. This propelled the popularity of software related to telehealth and telemedicine. It wasn’t long before people and medical professionals recognized the advantages of using this technology. Let’s talk more about how systems for remote patient monitoring telemedicine have impacted the healthcare industry.
Reducing Cost and Democratizing Access
The growing cost is one of the main problems in the American healthcare industry. Going to a hospital or clinic, entering your information, and paying for the consultation add to the costs. Moreover, repeated follow-ups tend to make it expensive to fall sick for people with serious illnesses. In light of this problem, the ability to connect with providers virtually makes it convenient and less expensive to access medical services.
Certain patients might not have any serious illnesses and only minor problems. This situation might not even warrant a physical examination. During such times, telemedicine solutions enable people to schedule appointments and have virtual consultations without even leaving their houses. Such solutions with remote patient monitoring services features enable people to send their vitals to providers, who can assess them and offer relevant services. This saves time and expenses, especially for patients far from any major clinic or hospital.
Additionally, on the physician’s side, having the patient over for an examination and prescribing tests or scans also adds to the costs. So, a platform that minimizes the need for patients to come over in person for consultation also lowers the costs involved.
Depending on the disease, software for telemedicine and remote patient monitoring helps people access specialist care without hassle. People living in rural and underserved locations can connect with specialists at major hospitals without traveling far. This goes a long way in reducing inequity in accessing healthcare services. Research has shown that these inequities extend to semi-urban locations, race, and even zip code.
Minorities and people of color would tend to live in poorer neighborhoods and would lack the means to access the type of care they need. As a result, they are more likely to have a shorter life expectancy than people who don’t face such problems. This is especially true in the case of chronic diseases. Telehealth solutions go a long way in helping such people receive the care they require. Whether it is a minor or serious illness, a single episode of care, or a long-term chronic care management program, remote patient monitoring telehealth reduces inequities and improves access to medical services.
Telemedicine Monitoring For Senior Care
As people grow older, they tend to require more care and observation. Unsurprisingly, injuries from falls or hospitalizations due to otherwise non-serious problems tend to increase in old age. The United States has a rapidly aging population that grows each year. This has resulted in a shortage of caregivers for seniors at assisted living facilities and retirement communities. Moreover, seniors living in their own homes, too, would need easier access to care, and hiring a caregiver would result in high costs.
This is where telemedicine solutions alongside remote patient monitoring systems can bridge the gap between demand and availability. As more people enter retirement age and grow older, fewer caregivers will be available with the training and certification needed. On the other hand, solutions for remote patient monitoring telehealth enable a caregiver to observe a patient’s health remotely and offer any help necessary. In case of fluctuations in vital signs, the provider can then recommend the appropriate medical intervention.
The advantage of using software for remote patient monitoring telemedicine is that a provider can look after multiple sensors simultaneously. Moreover, they can do so remotely without being in the same city. This facilitates effective healthcare management for seniors at assisted living centers, retirement homes, or even their own houses.
IoT-driven gadgets can monitor vital signs like an electrocardiogram, blood pressure, glucose levels, and heart rate for seniors. These can then be shared with caregivers through a telemedicine software solution. The telehealth app can be integrated with existing platforms and EHR systems on the providers’ end. Single-physician practices can also integrate a telehealth app with existing practice management solutions and offer remote care for seniors. Thanks to the integration, electronic data interchange between the software platforms enables physicians to pull up patient histories for better care.
The end of this decade is expected to see a record number of retirees in the United States. This number could be in the tens of millions. Challenges like cost and access pose major hurdles to senior care. But remote patient monitoring telehealth applications have turned out to be promising solutions to both problems. They allow elders living in distant towns to access specialist care without traveling too often to see their doctor in person. The coming years will likely see a growth in the number of RPM telehealth software.
Healthcare Informatics and Analysis For RPM
While telehealth monitoring devices can generate plenty of medical data on patients’ vitals over time, assessing this data reveals important insights about the patient’s physiology and medical condition. Software for medical informatics coupled with remote patient monitoring telehealth platforms can establish an ecosystem of health data analysis.
This will pave the way for large-scale remote health monitoring where physicians can determine who is at greater disease risk. This insight will enable them to take a preventive approach to care before the disease becomes full-blown. Although still in its nascent stages, the idea of personal care will reach new heights with the help of telehealth monitoring devices. Additionally, advanced solutions for healthcare analytics will be able to sift through all this information quickly and efficiently.
Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) algorithms will help providers know if certain patients’ vitals have crossed a safety threshold. This will enable them to stage appropriate interventions to prevent the worsening of health. All of this would be built upon the foundations laid by remote patient monitoring solutions and the broader adoption of telehealth.
The Covid-19 pandemic transformed remote patient monitoring telehealth from a concept to the hottest buzzword. Hospitals and clinics across the United States and the world have begun rolling out remote care programs for patients. From increasing access to care, lowering costs, and reducing inequities, telehealth, and remote patient monitoring technology might become game-changers for healthcare by the end of this decade.
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Written by Riken Shah linkedin
Riken's work motto is to help healthcare providers use technological advancements to make healthcare easily accessible to all stakeholders, from providers to patients. Under his leadership and guidance, OSP Labs has successfully developed over 600 customized software solutions for 200+ healthcare clients across continents.