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Using Remote Patient Monitoring data to improve health outcomes

Healthcare organisations are increasingly using remote patient monitoring (RPM), utilising wearable devices and apps, to track a patient’s health post-procedure. Typically, this occurs in acute situations or for chronic disease management. The data collected can keep clinicians informed about a variety of metrics, such as weight, blood sugar, blood oxygen, heart rate and more.

The benefits of RPM for patients include improved health outcomes and a better patient experience. RPM allows clinicians to connect with patients from the comfort of the patient’s home, eliminating logistical challenges or the need to take time off from work to make appointments. It also helps healthcare providers to reach people in areas with limited healthcare access.

To create a successful RPM program, data must be collected securely and properly integrated into an organisation’s existing data management system. This lets clinicians dive deeper into the data using analytics or artificial intelligence, both of which can prevent serious health issues from arising.

Current state of Remote Patient Monitoring

In most RPM programs today, typically, a healthcare provider will send the patient a kit with specific devices, may be a glucometer, blood pressure monitor or other Bluetooth-enabled device that connects to a smartphone or tablet to send patient data to the clinician. If the device has mobile connectivity then it might be able to send data to the provider directly, without a wireless connection.

If patients are not comfortable using a device throughout the entire care cycle, the device could go unused or be used improperly, which may negatively impact the patient outcome or experience. Integrating the data from these devices into the EHR or data management solution used by clinicians is also a key aspect to RPM. Being able to review and analyse the data inline with the clinician workflow is important, so that they can reach out to the patient to address any possible issues. 

The role of consumer wearable devices in RPM

Healthcare is becoming more consumer-centric, and many patients now use monitoring devices such as the Fitbit, Withings, Oura Ring, Apple Watch and others. The COVID-19 pandemic is highlighting what can be done with existing sensor technology. Wearables measuring heart rate, heart rate variability, respiration rate, and SpO2 have been around for many years, decades in some cases. More recently clinical studies are beginning to show efficacy of the data being produced from these devices.

Heart rate variability (HRV) can provide an even better leading indicator of health. HRV measures the variability in time between beats of the heart and has been extensively proven in numerous studies to be an indicator of the autonomic nervous system and individuals’ stress levels, whether physical stress (including your body fighting off infection) or psychosocial stress. Once an individual’s baseline is established, HRV can provide insights in acute monitoring of fatigue, sleep quality, and physical fitness, as well as insights into serious health conditions such as atrial fibrillation or cardiovascular deterioration.

Platforms like healthR can help integrate data from across a range of wearable devices into EHRs and data management systems used by clinicians. Clinicians can also use our out of the box solution for RPM to get started with little or no hassle. Further analysis of the data using machine learning can provide additional preventive medicine by analyzing data trends, alerting clinicians so that they can make a faster diagnosis and treatment decisions.

Now that many patients are comfortable using telehealth due to COVID-19, they are likely to expect — or demand — RPM services when appropriate. Health systems that do not provide RPM that is flexible, patient centric and works with devices patients may already have, are more likely to fall behind the curve.



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