What is remote patient monitoring, and why are people so interested in this aspect of telehealth? We take a quick look at what you need to know about remote monitoring in healthcare.
If you’ve been following COVID at all, you’ve probably heard about telehealth and remote patient monitoring. You may have also heard about remote patient monitoring as one of the main areas of telehealth. What is remote patient monitoring, and why does it have so much potential?
What is remote patient monitoring?
Remote patient monitoring is pretty much what it sounds like: a way to monitor patients while not physically with them. The patient in question could be recovering from surgery, dealing with a chronic health condition, or aging in place. The monitoring can take a variety of forms, from the fairly basic (e.g. having the patient track their own vital signs and checking in via phone, text, or videoconference; using a wearable device to detect falls and get help) to the fairly advanced (using motion sensors to monitor activity, bathroom usage, sleep patterns, etc.).
Why is interest in remote health monitoring growing?
As the population continues to age, there’s an increasing strain being put on healthcare facilities. At the same time, older/infirm patients and their families may prefer to use remote monitoring to keep their loved ones in their homes as opposed to sending them off to nursing homes. Remote monitoring allows busy non-medical caregivers to keep an eye on the patient while still living their own life.
Recently, the COVID pandemic has introduced another reason for remote monitoring: limiting the spread of the virus. Infected persons who do not require hospital treatment can remain quarantined at home, with regular virtual check-ins from their medical provider. This reduces the burden on the healthcare system, enables patients to get adequate medical care, and lessens healthcare workers’ exposure to the virus.
What benefits are associated with remote patient monitoring?
There are many. We don’t have space to go into detail here – or indeed to list them all – but here are the main benefits of remote patient monitoring:
- Better patient compliance.
- Better patient outcomes.
- Fewer return trips to the hospital.
- Better post-hospital care.
- More efficiency for medical staff.
Many of these benefits are self-evident; for example, providers who do virtual visits can accommodate far more interactions than they would if they had to drive from patient to patient. And because providers can check in and answer questions on medication, physical therapy exercises, etc., they can ensure patients understand and carry out care instructions.
And, as mentioned before, there’s the very real and very personal benefit of allowing people to care for friends and family in the setting of their choice – without having to completely overhaul their daily lives.
Where does remote patient monitoring fit into telehealth?
Remote patient monitoring is a pillar of telehealth and has been a vital part of the war against COVID. Without it, delivering quality healthcare to homebound and quarantined individuals would be much more costly, time-consuming, and labor-intensive. That’s why, after COVID ends, we can still expect to see remote patient monitoring continue to gain popularity.
To learn more about using remote patient monitoring and other forms of telehealth in modern healthcare, read Delivering quality care with telehealth. You can also read up on the subject in the Health and Wellness section of Star’s blog.
This post has been sponsored by Star
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