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Remote Patient Monitoring: What Is It and How to Do It Effectively?

Remote Patient Monitoring

The healthcare industry has also undergone radical changes with the advent of technology. In fact, even today, the industry is in a constant state of flux as innovative devices are making the lives of healthcare professionals easier. These technologies are also leading toward newer methods of conducting health care. 

One such method is remote patient monitoring which allows healthcare professionals to care for their patients from the comfort of their own homes. By keeping track of their patient’s progress, physicians can provide them with better and timely treatment, which is imperative in the case of sensitive and critical patients.

What is Remote Patient Monitoring?

A remote patient monitoring program is one that monitors, periodically or continuously, a patient’s vital signs, such as their weight, oxygen saturation, blood pressure, glucose levels, or rate of heart contractions. 

Remote patient monitoring is part of telehealth. A health information exchange refers to the transfer of medical information from one location to another through electronic means.

In simplest terms, remote patient monitoring refers to the collection of patient health data outside of the traditional medical setting. In other words, it allows physicians to provide care in the home setting, rather than in the hospital. The remote monitoring of patients follows an asynchronous pattern, meaning the provider receives the data and then stores it until they get the time to review it.

The ongoing pandemic significantly contributed to the rise in RPM. In fact, many healthcare professionals, such as nurses, are gaining skills to hone their RPM skills. Similarly, some online RN to BSN programs also offer training in RPM and other such innovative modalities, so that the newer crop of nurses joining the workforce knows how to handle such cases.

There are many benefits to remote patient monitoring. By tracking symptoms over time, clinicians can better understand their patients’ health. By having access to more comprehensive data sets, doctors are able to deliver care more effectively and proactively. Monitoring a patient’s condition remotely enables the provider to determine whether the patient’s condition is stable, deteriorating, or improving.

However, managing the patients’ progress remotely isn’t easy, and to do it effectively, doctors need to formulate a proper layout. And to help you in this regard, we’re going to talk about some of the essential things you need to consider when implementing remote patient monitoring.

Consider Your Plan Before You Start

In RPM planning, healthcare institutions should consult with two groups. As a first step, the clinical team must identify the patients to be monitored, along with the problem it hopes to solve using RPM. 

This group must decide how the evaluation will take place, for instance, through heart monitors or glucose monitors or through questionnaires sent via e-mail or patient portals.

The IT team is the other group. Often, clinicians are unaware of the technical limitations of RPM. Moreover, some of them lack expertise in technology implementation, especially when it comes to devices that are installed at a patient’s home, like health monitors and wearable devices. Therefore, to make RPM a success from the very beginning, there must be a collaboration between clinical and IT stakeholders.

Start Simple

Keeping RPM systems simple is important. Keeping the monitoring system simple is key to building on a step-by-step success. Remote monitoring via phone calls is proven to be effective. Medical professionals or automated phone systems can be extremely effective in delivering preventive care.

It is possible to monitor certain diseases remotely. One of these is heart failure since you need to monitor patients directly in order to observe their conditions. Therefore, heart patients are encouraged to weigh themselves regularly. It is possible to manage the situation quickly if weight starts to increase. The same is true for diabetes. As long as you monitor the patient’s blood sugar, you can easily intervene.

Choosing Devices That Fit Your Needs

The next step is to choose the devices that will help you monitor your patients. In hospitals, a variety of devices can be used to monitor vital signs. In some health systems, the devices are configured in such a way so as to directly feed data into an electronic health record. 

Others employ third-party services and products to manage the RPM process as a whole, including case management. Patients and staff should be able to choose the approach that is most effective for their hospital.

Clarify Your Objectives and Procedures

Communicating why you’re performing RPM is crucial. You need to convince both the staff and the patients of what you are doing; otherwise, it will quickly lose its effectiveness.

Communicate with each group in a personalized manner. During training, both doctors and patients need to know how to proceed: Patients must be able to weigh themselves electronically; if not, further instruction is needed. Clinical staff should be able to figure out which patients have issues.

It’s also important to make sure the technology is functioning as well when you run an RPM program. For instance, if your patient doesn’t have internet access at home, and you send him or her back with a digital scale, you should figure out how to deliver the readings via a cellular service.

Last but not least, ensure you have an emergency plan in place. When a patient reports a sudden, dramatic weight gain or unusual behavioral symptoms, immediate response protocols should be explained to all stakeholders.

Measure success by looking at patient outcomes

Lastly, determine how you want to evaluate your success. Patients may participate in RPM programs more often if the outcomes are process-based. For example, a patient can better understand his or her condition if they can track their health at home. 

With remote patient monitoring tools, patients can self-manage their conditions, reducing costs (both to themselves and to the health system), and preventing ER visits, lengthy hospital stays, and readmissions. This thing mainly attracts patients to opt for RMP as it can help them in cost reduction.

For example, if the hospitalization rate of a group of 500 patients decreased from 7% to 4%, that was a positive result for the patients. That way it’s more a patient-centered mode of treatment.

Final Words

Remote patient monitoring programs are an effective way of maintaining public healthcare without overburdening the hospital settings. These steps will hopefully help healthcare providers create effective programs to monitor patients remotely.

More on this topic:

How To Connect Virtually With Your Healthcare Provider

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