• remote-patient-monitoring-devices

Bluetooth vs. Cellular Devices For Remote Patient Monitoring Programs

Remote patient monitoring (RPM) devices are transforming the way healthcare gets delivered to patients with easier access, reduced costs, and improved outcomes. No matter where a patient is located, healthcare providers and program managers are better equipped to monitor, evaluate and report on acute as well as chronic medical conditions in real-time with RPM technology.

Using these remote patient monitoring devices, patients feel more assured about their quality of care and more connected to their healthcare providers. Moreover, they have the convenience of sharing updates and information on their vital signs from the comfort of home, which after all, is where chronic conditions really play out.

From blood pressure cuffs to glucometers and scales, these non-invasive remote patient monitoring devices can obtain, store, process, and transmit patient data accurately and securely for care teams to reference and act upon when needed.

Types of Connected Remote Patient Monitoring Devices

Remote patient monitoring devices empower medical professionals to observe and analyze vital signs remotely in order to make timely recommendations. Depending on the data, treatment protocols can be adjusted as necessary, whether it involves changing a prescription or requiring the patient to visit the hospital or medical practice.

For patients with high-risk conditions or those belonging to under-served communities, this level of timely and affordable access to medical care can often prove to be a lifesaver. Some of the most widely used connected remote patient monitoring devices may include:

Blood Pressure Cuff

remote patient monitoring blood pressure cuff

 

A blood pressure cuff or blood pressure monitor is a device used to measure vital signs such as the heart rate and blood flow through an evaluation of the arterial motion changes. The difference with a connected RPM blood pressure cuff device is that it has the ability to transmit those measurements in real-time to the medical professional for their observation or assessment.

Remote monitoring of a patient’s blood pressure levels with this RPM device can help improve the clinical management of conditions, such as hypertension AKA the “silent killer”, heart disease, atrial fibrillation, and chronic kidney disease. In many types of illnesses, it becomes important for doctors to assess the symptoms of high blood pressure.

The ability to monitor blood pressure changes or fluctuations between office visits on a daily or hourly basis can provide more useful insights into the patient’s heart condition over time. With a connected device at home, the patient is likely to be more at ease, avoiding the potential of a higher-than-normal reading due to white coat anxiety.

In other words, this can mean more accurate blood pressure readings because the possibility of “medical office hypertension” is minimized (because patients may experience elevated blood pressure when they experience anxiety at the doctor’s office). The converse is also true because in some cases, the blood pressure reading at the office may be normal, while it is higher at home.

For these reasons, virtual monitoring with RPM blood pressure cuffs is an excellent choice for medical practices and hospitals to ensure blood pressure medication is titrated appropriately before a critical health event occurs. The American Heart Association has cited research that shows that patient adherence due to the use of Remote Patient Monitoring can significantly lower the systolic and diastolic blood pressure in patients in comparison to traditional methods of care or self-monitoring. In addition, having documentation of these readings over a longitudinal period allows care teams to gain better insight into data trends over time for patients with high blood pressure.

Glucometer

remote patient moniotoring devices for measuring blood sugar

 

A glucometer or a blood glucose monitor is a device that measures a patient’s blood sugar level through a tiny blood drop sample placed on a testing strip connected to the meter. The device reads the sample on the strip to generate a reading of the patient’s current blood glucose levels. With an RPM glucometer, the measurement is delivered to the doctor for their review in real-time. If the patient’s blood sugar seems to be trending unusually up or down, a care team can use that real time health data to intervene before a catastrophic health event takes place.

For patients with type 2 or type 1 diabetes, periodic or continuous glucose monitoring is vital to helping them manage a safe blood sugar level. With regular monitoring of this physiological data using a connected glucometer device, the clinician, as well as the patient, can better comprehend how extraneous factors, such as food, physical strain, mental stress, disease, or medication may be impacting the blood sugar levels and other symptoms of diabetes.

With an increasing level of awareness among diabetics about the benefits of digital health, it is relatively easy for them to adapt to an RPM glucometer device. In fact, for diabetes disease management, connected RPM glucometers can be a highly effective application and even a lifesaver under some circumstances. With HealthSnap’s cellularly connected glucometer, the patient only needs to take the device out of the box, take a reading as they normally do, and the data will automatically be transmitted to their provider. No app download required!

The challenge many diabetics face is that their symptoms of low blood glucose levels (hypoglycemia) or high blood glucose levels (hyperglycemia) often do not always manifest obviously, and may create an emergency for the patient’s health. This is where a remote patient monitoring device such as a connected glucometer can practically save lives.

Delay in treatment for hypoglycemia may cause conditions, such as drowsiness, slurred speech, confusion, and blurred vision, which can quickly become complicated and turn into coma or seizures. Similarly, delays in hyperglycemia treatment can cause complications of the heart, kidneys, eyes, and nerves, or lead to a life-threatening condition called a diabetic coma.

When medical practitioners have access to real-time patient data in these situations, it can save lives. A research study has shown that telehealth services combined with Remote Patient Monitoring resulted in reduced complications and significant improvements in hemoglobin A1C levels. The study also found that remote patient monitoring devices can empower diabetics to perform better self-care, and feel more in control of their health status.

Pulse Oximeter

connected device to read patient's vital signs

 

The pulse oximeter or Pulse Ox is a non-invasive clip-like medical device that can be attached to a patient’s finger to measure the saturation level of oxygen in the red blood cells. This indicates the amount of oxygen that is circulating in the blood. In addition, the device also measures the patient’s pulse rate.

Pulse oximeters have become a commonly used device for monitoring and screening of patients with Covid-19, but it is equally useful for patients with chronic medical conditions, such as COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), heart disease, asthma, and pneumonia. Medical professionals can use the readings of the pulse oximeter to monitor lung function changes in a patient.

The use of a pulse oximeter is simple and does not involve any needle pricks or discomfort. When it is used as a connected Remote Patient Monitoring device, the pulse oximeter gives an opportunity to the clinician to track any inconsistent or abnormal readings in real-time. Once the doctor is alerted to the blood oxygen level changes, they can act immediately to help prevent serious or permanent pulmonary damage.

With non-RPM pulse oximeters, the limitation is that the patient may have to manually maintain a physical record of their readings and show the record to the doctor during an appointment. But the time lag between the physical visit and the abnormal readings can sometimes be long enough to allow patient deterioration before the care team is aware that medical intervention is necessary.

Moreover, without an RPM pulse oximeter, the medical professional has no way to determine whether the patient diligently complied with the required periodic measurements. In the case of an RPM connected device, the care team may even be able to send a reminder once they are alerted that the patient has missed a scheduled reading.

Thermometer

A fever is considered to be one of the primary symptoms of various medical conditions, including the flu, and other viral or bacterial infections, including Covid-19. In many other cases, a fever may be an indicator of a worsening of symptoms. A thermometer is a reliable device to monitor body temperature and detect fever.

However, as a stand-alone device, thermometers are relatively less effective for healthcare professionals, especially in hospitals, because the care providers may only visit at their scheduled time to check a patient’s body temperature. But the patient’s condition can suddenly deteriorate, and the treatment could get delayed because of late detection of the fever.

This is where an RPM thermometer can serve the purpose of a connected device that will help the medical team monitor each patient’s body temperature in real-time. As part of the RPM program, the device can help ensure the doctor or nurse is notified immediately once the body temperature of the patient rises beyond an acceptable limit.

When dealing with infectious diseases such as Covid-19 or other viral infections, the RPM thermometer enables a medical professional to proactively check the vital data point of body temperature while the infected patient remains safely at home. Even before the pandemic, healthcare systems and intensive care units are often overwhelmed with the growing need for patient care associated with hospital admissions.

Scale

cellular scale for your remote patient monitoring program

 

According to data from the CDC, more than two out of five American adults struggle with obesity. Obesity is a major risk factor for life-threatening diseases, such as stroke, coronary heart disease, certain types of cancer, end-stage kidney disease, and type 2 diabetes.

RPM scales or connected weight monitors enable patients and care teams to track and monitor changes in body weight over a period of time, look at the weight loss or weight gain patterns to associate them with factors such as diet, exercise, illness, and medications, and make appropriate medical interventions.

In some cases, such as patients with congestive heart failure (CHF) condition, weight fluctuations may result from body water retention. Close weight monitoring becomes vital in these cases because even a relatively minor weight gain in this condition could indicate an exacerbated CHF condition. The physician will be able to alter their prescription, prescribe a diuretic or another medication as needed, or set up a telehealth appointment or an in-person visit.

Similarly, weight monitoring by a practitioner can lead to effective weight management for the patient to mitigate their risk or symptoms of type 2 diabetes, stroke, heart disease, or even cancer. Many patients can benefit from RPM scales following bariatric surgery in order to achieve their weight loss goals safely under the care and monitoring of their bariatric team.

Even when an individual is seeking weight loss to restore general good health and fitness, remote patient monitoring scales can help keep track of their weight-loss trends and quantify their success. In a reverse situation, if the patient is losing too much weight too fast, the RPM scale device will help identify the problem before it becomes serious. Therefore, the risks associated with extreme or rapid weight loss, such as fatigue, osteoporosis (loss of bone mineral density), dehydration, and a weakened immune system can be lowered with the use of RPM scales.

Different Configurations of Remote Patient Monitoring Devices on the Market

remote patient monitoring tools

 

While healthcare organizations and practitioners increasingly recognize the power of digital healthcare and embrace Remote Patient Monitoring solutions, they should be aware of the different configurations in which remote patient monitoring devices are available today. Once they understand the advantages and limitations of each configuration, they can make more informed decisions about their choice of technology. Three primary configurations for remote patient monitoring devices include:

  • Wi-Fi
  • Bluetooth
  • Cellular

Wi-Fi vs. Cellular Technology for Remote Patient Monitoring

Wi-Fi for RPM Devices

Wi-Fi connectivity has been around for decades and is widely used not just in homes, but in many commercial and public spaces as well.

However, when it comes to Remote Patient Monitoring, it is vital to have dependable connectivity, no matter where the patient or the care team is located. In this use case, Wi-Fi often presents two key limitations for remote patient monitoring programs, which include:

Non-ubiquitous

While it may appear that Wi-Fi is available everywhere, in reality, many homes and offices are without Wi-Fi connectivity. In particular, patients located in remote areas, rural regions, or underserved communities are less likely to have a Wi-Fi connection.

A Pew research study showed that only 3 in 10 people above the age of 65 had a Wi-Fi broadband connection at home in 2019. Clearly, this presents a significant challenge in the delivery of reliable RPM technology solutions, which require 24/7 connectivity to be completely effective.

Usage Limitations

Ease of use can be a concern when Wi-Fi connectivity is used for remote patient monitoring devices. The use of Wi-Fi typically involves secure passwords and multiple configuration steps. For many elderly patients, this can create friction, and in turn, limitations. Some patients may be less likely to use equipment that they find hard to set up or understand, which is a recipe for lower patient adherence.

Moreover, in many locations, a weak Wi-Fi signal, service disruptions, power issues, and unreliable equipment may reduce the ability to deliver consistent and reliable RPM solutions using Wi-Fi. In at-home care environments, where Wi-Fi is the only available option for RPM connectivity, these issues can create real challenges.

Cellular Technology for RPM Devices

cellular technology for remote monitoring

 

When it comes to Remote Patient Monitoring, cellular technology has proven to be a far superior option. Although some ultra-rural regions in the US continue to face issues of poor cellular coverage or still use old technologies (like 3G), service providers are making advanced cellular connectivity (4G and 5G) available almost everywhere.

Connectivity with cellular technology is highly reliable and consistent. Choosing cellular connectivity instead of Wi-Fi for RPM solutions offers the following benefits:

Accessibility

People in the age group of 65 and above are widely connected via cellular technology today. More than 90 percent of seniors today use a cellphone for communication, and over half of these people use a smartphone. This extensive scale of connectivity and accessibility makes remote patient monitoring devices based on cellular technology a much more preferred option for healthcare professionals and patients.

Ease of Use

Some of the latest Remote Patient Monitoring devices do not require any configuration. The patient can simply unpack the device (delivered to their doorstep), and start using it right away without having to configure it in any way.

Out-of-the-box purpose-built RPM solutions from some of the industry-leading innovators are making it extremely easy for patients to use the devices. Compliance rates improve dramatically when patients know they simply need to turn the device on and it will start working on its own.

Better Fit for New Applications

Consistent and reliable connectivity with cellular-based RPM solutions not only ensures that patient data is gathered more effectively in real time, it also serves as a better fit for innovative applications going forward. For instance, the RPM devices in the foreseeable future may be programmed to “learn” from the patterns of patient behavior, and automatically adjust reminders or set up a time for tests when the chances of compliance are the highest.

Cellular technology is much better positioned for these user-friendly applications. The future of cellular technology promises much higher bandwidth connectivity, which will pave the way for more advanced RPM applications. Cellular has the capability to cover a large number of remote patient monitoring devices at the same time, ensuring more comprehensive end-to-end connectivity to keep patients safe.

Bluetooth RPM vs. Cellular RPM

Bluetooth and cellular are currently the two mainstream technologies enabling remote patient monitoring device communication. Healthcare professionals must carefully consider the pros and cons of both technologies in order to determine which RPM solution might serve their remote healthcare delivery or telehealth goals more effectively.

Bluetooth RPM technology is designed to deliver patient health data over short-range radio frequency using a wireless device connected to the internet. Cellular RPM technology, on the other hand, utilizes the same networks that are used for cellphones to gather and transmit patient data. The cellular RPM device company would enter into an arrangement with leading cell phone service providers to access their coverage networks.

Bluetooth Remote Patient Monitoring devices – Pros

  • Bluetooth RPM devices enable the transmission of patient data through the internet. Therefore, if the patient is without access to a cellular network, the device can still work as long as they have internet connectivity.
  • At present, a wider array of Bluetooth devices may be available for healthcare providers and patients to choose from.
  • Bluetooth devices may be a more cost-effective option

Bluetooth RPM Devices – Cons

  • Setting up a Bluetooth device can be harder and the patient may have to establish connectivity multiple times when the device requires updating or reformatting.
  • Bluetooth RPM devices can sometimes frustrate the patient because of pairing issues, and they may have an increased need for tech support, leading to hours of set-up time
  • Having reliable and uninterrupted internet access is a prerequisite because remote patient monitoring requires timely transmission of patient data.
  • Data privacy concerns may be higher, especially in the case of “low energy” Bluetooth connections. Health data may potentially get intercepted, which means greater data security risks.

Cellular RPM Devices – Pros

  • Cellular RPM devices offer a wider coverage because the patient data can be transmitted from wherever the cellular network is available.
  • Patient health data can be recorded and transmitted in real-time, enabling almost immediate medical alerts to the patient’s healthcare team.
  • Cellular RPM devices offer excellent ease of use even for patients who may not be very tech-friendly because the device is ready to use once it is removed from the box – and all the patient needs to do is turn on the power button and take a reading as usual.

Cellular RPM Devices – Cons

  • The use of cellular technology-based remote patient monitoring devices is restricted to the coverage area of the cellular network provider. In some remote or ultra-rural regions, this could pose challenges to connectivity.
  • Data transmission may be disrupted in the event the cellular network suffers a breakdown.   

Bluetooth vs. Cellular RPM Devices: Which is Better?

bluetooth to transmit health data

 

Although both Bluetooth and cellular remote patient monitoring devices present their own advantages and limitations, many healthcare technology experts believe that cellular RPM devices have a distinct edge for both patients and medical service providers. Cellular RPM devices are designed to be user-friendly and offer comprehensive service if no coverage barriers are present.

The ease of use is an important differentiator that puts cellular RPM technology ahead of Bluetooth. Ease of use cuts down the need for healthcare providers to invest their resources in ongoing consumer tech support. At the same time, it improves patient compliance and continued use of the device because the likelihood of patients getting frustrated with the cellular device is low.

When the paramount objective of a healthcare professional or a hospital is to improve patient health, safety, access, and equity through remote patient monitoring, they may want to choose cellular RPM technology over other alternatives. Cellular technology allows the transmission of patient health data faster and more reliably without having to depend on whether the patient can easily navigate the device, or if they have consistent access to the internet or a smartphone.

What Types of Cellular RPM Services Should You Offer to Patients?

Depending on the specialty medical services that a healthcare professional offers, they can select the appropriate cellular RPM devices. For instance, RPM blood pressure cuffs and RPM scales may be particularly beneficial solutions for a cardiologist to address the needs of patients with cardiovascular or hypertension problems.

An endocrinologist treating patients with diabetes may want to be equipped with RPM glucometers to help their patients better manage their blood glucose levels. Similarly, both specialists and general practitioners may wish to offer RPM thermometers to track fever symptoms in a number of infections and illnesses.

Sometimes a medical provider may first want to understand the real benefits of a cellular remote patient monitoring solution before they invest in multiple devices. They may start by offering only one type of remote patient monitoring device to their patients to manage a specific condition, and scale up from there.

Once the healthcare team’s familiarity level with the RPM solution improves, and they see a noticeable improvement in patient outcomes along with favorable patient feedback, they may choose to extend their RPM service program by adding other cellular RPM devices.

How to Set Up and Utilize the Cellular Remote Patient Monitoring System?

A vendor for cellular remote patient monitoring solutions may provide you with the equipment along with user instructions, which makes it easy to set up the system at the practice or at home. Sometimes the vendor may offer additional services and support to set up the complete system at the practice in a more efficient and expeditious manner while removing any barriers or limitations to its full functionality.

The RPM system should be easy to use for the healthcare team, whether or not they are very technology savvy. A reputable RPM solution provider will usually offer ongoing client support and training to help ensure a smooth setup and utilization of the system. It may be possible in some cases to customize the RPM system to deliver alerts and notifications in a specific format, generate reports, and fit into the overall practice workflow.

Healthcare providers considering cellular remote patient monitoring systems may also want to consider whether a particular system will be compatible or integrate well with their existing EHR platform. Another key consideration for health systems should be whether the vendor has the capability to deliver the RPM devices directly to the patient’s home, which simplifies the process and ensures maximum convenience for the patients.

How a Lack of Friction in Device Configuration can Improve Patient Outcomes, Satisfaction, Equity, and Access

chronic care management made simpler with remote patient monitoring

 

The number of healthcare providers that now recognize the value of RPM solutions that minimize friction in device configuration is rapidly increasing. A recent survey of medical practices and hospitals showed that 75% of the industry participants believe that RPM service adoption will either be at par with or exceed in-patient monitoring over the next five years.

Healthcare providers that are already using zero-friction cellular technology-based RPM programs believe that this technology improves patient outcomes and patient satisfaction, increases access to medical care, reduces the costs of managing chronic conditions, and enables healthcare equity. Monitoring of patients with chronic illnesses, such as CHF, COPD, hypertension, diabetes, and asthma is more effective when cellular RPM devices are used.

Better Patient Outcomes

When a remote patient monitoring device is easy to use and has no friction in device configuration, it improves patient compliance leading to better health outcomes. Chronic diseases can be challenging to manage because the clinician and patient may need to keep track of blood glucose, blood pressure, oxygen saturation, or body weight over time – which requires the patient to keep a subjective hand-written log, visit the doctor’s office or hospital, or call them after a self-exam.

Preconfigured cellular RPM devices eliminate this burden while improving the accuracy of data and providing real-time reporting. This level of remote monitoring with high patient compliance can prevent the symptoms from turning into serious complications and reduce the chances of hospitalization. Moreover, the patient health data collected through a reliable RPM system educates, empowers, and encourages patients to modify their lifestyles and behavior in order to achieve more effective outcomes.

Higher Patient Satisfaction

Improved patient outcomes with preconfigured, ready-to-use RPM devices eventually help in lowering long-term healthcare costs associated with disease complications and treatment. Therefore, access to better care, improved health outcomes, and lower long-term costs drive a higher level of patient satisfaction in most cases.

Patients feel more satisfied because they have an increased sense of security when they know their healthcare team is always connected to them and is able to identify symptoms and treat them before they worsen. Increased access to health data also gives more clarity and control to the patient about the need to modify their diet or fitness regimen or make other changes, which becomes a win-win for all the stakeholders.

What Types of Healthcare Systems and Patient Populations Could Benefit from an RPM Program with Cellular Devices

remote patient monitoring for care providers

 

While an RPM program with cellular devices offers universal benefits for all types of patients utilizing different healthcare systems, the underserved patient populations across the US can receive transformative access to healthcare. It is undeniable that the gap in health equity is one of the most glaring disparities that continue to exist in the United States.

Owing to this health equity gap, there are significant differences in the general health, fitness, longevity and quality of life of different patient populations. Cellular technology-based Remote Patient Monitoring programs can be a game-changer in the endeavor to close the wide health equity gap that exists today.

FQHCs and RHCs

FQHCs or federally qualified health centers and RHCs or rural health centers serve as an important health security system for many Americans in need. FQHCs and RHCs provide a number of vital health services, including primary care, preventative care, and chronic disease management – even for uninsured or underinsured patients. This helps improve the health conditions in these patient populations.

Clearly, these essential community-based medical care centers can increase their access, reach and impact with the advanced cellular RPM telehealth technology. Uninsured and underinsured patient populations with the highest need for care can benefit from RPM programs. However, at present, Medicare does not reimburse FQHCs and RHCs for remote patient monitoring services.

Although a few private insurers and some state Medicaid programs do reimburse, the challenge is that FQHCs and RHCs continue to be ineligible to receive reimbursement. Looking at the larger objective of closing the gaps in health equity, this is certainly not a sustainable approach. With the growing relevance of digital health technologies, change is critical for FQHCs and RHCs to be able to maximize the advantages of telehealth, as many of the patients in that population will be eligible for the RPM/RTM CPT codes that were rolled out in 2022.

Underserved Populations

rpm services for underserved populations

 

The rates of chronic illnesses are disproportionately high in some of the underserved populations in the US. The underserved communities have limited access to healthcare for a variety of reasons. The problem gets further compounded that these groups often have a higher likelihood of avoiding professional medical care or delaying treatment.

Studies have shown that certain minority groups are less likely than the national average to have visited a healthcare provider in the last year. People from underserved communities are often located in remote areas that suffer from a dearth of medical professionals. Even where care is accessible, they may have the barriers of inadequate or no insurance coverage or low income, which prevents them from receiving healthcare.

The wider implications of disparities in healthcare include a greater financial burden on the health system and the economy. By some estimates, the excess healthcare costs resulting from these disparities are more than $93 billion, while the loss of annual productivity amounts to $42 billion.

However, as the approach to healthcare delivery undergoes a paradigm shift from a reactive, episodic, and in-clinic model of care to a proactive model that combines in-clinic care with Remote Patient Monitoring, the access to care and quality of care will improve for all patients. Preconfigured and cellular-enabled RPM devices are proving to be an effective solution to deliver continuous and better quality care to the underserved patient populations.

Researchers have also found that following the Covid-19 pandemic, an increasing number of healthcare providers are adopting tools such as Remote Patient Monitoring and telehealth to see patients virtually. This change appears to be lasting and is paving the way for an increased use of telehealth and RPM tools in the post-Covid world. The new virtual care and RPM based models of care will help bridge the gaps in healthcare that underserved patient populations have historically experienced.

Rural Populations

Remote Patient Monitoring using solutions that lack friction in device configuration, such as cellular RPM devices, can drive the volume of healthcare as well as improve the quality of care in rural populations. RPM cellular technology can also help lower the costs of care by reducing avoidable ER visits for rural communities and cutting down the incidence of complications and hospital readmissions.

The need for rural patients to travel long distances for advanced care can be reduced with telehealth solutions, such as RPM programs. With virtual monitoring of disease symptoms and timely treatment recommendations, the burden of small hospitals and clinics in rural areas is reduced. It also enables tertiary care centers in these regions to keep their beds free for patients who may require critical care.

Remote patient monitoring technologies also help engage rural patients at home in-between their scheduled medical visits, thus enabling more effective disease management. Telehealth RPM programs can also assist rural patients with making data-based adjustments to lifestyle and behavioral patterns more effectively. Seniors living in long-term care facilities and nursing homes in rural regions can also receive improved care with the implementation of cellular-based RPM programs.

Low Tech Literacy Populations

One of the key advantages of cellular RPM devices is that they can be easily used by patients who are not comfortable using hi-tech gadgets. This can include the elderly, or even younger patient populations who haven’t had access to tech throughout their life. A cellular RPM device does not have to be configured to a particular setting prior to use. The patient or their caregivers can simply remove the device from the box, load the batteries, and switch the power on to take a reading.

In regions where digital health education is limited and in all low tech literacy populations, cellular technology-based Remote Patient Monitoring programs can be highly successful with an excellent rate of patient compliance. The RPM program by design also encourages the patient to stay committed to their care plan because they can see actual data about their vital signs and symptoms, and feel motivated to manage their condition better.

With cellular RPM solutions, low health literacy patient populations are in a position to make better-informed decisions about their treatment. RPM allows the patient to acquire a better understanding of their symptoms over time and gives them more confidence to self-manage their condition. Medical providers can also proactively support and guide patients in a better way through the RPM platform when they have access to real time data.

The risk of worsening symptoms going undetected is significantly reduced with a successful cellular RPM program for low tech literacy populations. The RPM solution enables clinicians to monitor vital signs and changes in symptoms, and reach out to the patient with a professional recommendation immediately if something appears to be amiss.

Research Studies Show How Remote Patient Monitoring Helped During the Covid-19 Pandemic

Cellular-based remote patient monitoring system emerged as one of the key tools of value-based healthcare during the Covid-19 crisis to manage patients with chronic conditions. A number of healthcare providers have scaled their cellular RPM programs to deliver enhanced care to patients with different medical conditions.

Extensive research studies to evaluate the impact of remote patient monitoring services during the pandemic have shown how RPM programs helped improve patient recovery and mitigated hospital readmissions after they were infected with the Covid-19 virus.

Mayo Clinic Research Study

This study analyzed health data from over 7,000 patients, which showed that the RPM program along with nursing support helped improve patient outcomes and prevented avoidable readmissions to the hospital. The RPM program proved to be safe, effective and resulted in favorable outcomes, such as:

  • Increased levels of patient engagement
  • Reduced rates of hospitalization
  • Lower mortality rates (30 days)

Covid-19 patients with chronic and complex conditions, such as COPD and CHD benefited from the targeted two-tier RPM program. Two distinct RPM care models were devised with varying monitoring intensities to support Covid-19 patients at high or low risk of severe illness. The monitoring included patient-reported, twice daily assessments of symptoms and vital signs through RPM devices, such as blood pressure cuffs, thermometers and pulse oximeters.

Healthcare teams responded to the RPM device-generated alerts, delivering improved patient care. Results of the RPM program were remarkable:

  • Care plan compliance among high intensity patients was 72.5%, while low intensity patients had a compliance rate of 61.6%.
  • Merely 9.4% of the patients enrolled in the RPM program were hospitalized within 30 days following their enrollment or hospital discharge.
  • Mortality rate (30 days) stood at a low 0.4% (total 27 deaths). All of these were high-risk patients.

Kaiser Permanente Research Study

A research study (https://www.thepermanentejournal.org/issues/2021/summer/7664-description-and-early-results-of-the-kaiser-permanente-southern-california-covid-19-home-monitoring-program.html) by Kaiser Permanente concluded that the deployment of a remote patient monitoring program to treat patients with Covid-19 symptoms effectively improved patient recovery and prevented avoidable readmissions.

Researchers found that out of the 13,055 patients who participated in the RPM program, only about 10% were admitted to the hospital. Patient mortality rate among the participants was as low as 0.2%. The typical age group of these patients was 60 or above and they had a higher likelihood of comorbidities, such as hypertension or obesity.

The study found that 95.5% of the patients successfully recovered from Covid-19 disease. Their RPM program lasted for nine days on average. Researchers also reported higher satisfaction rates among the program participants. Over 94% of the respondents said the quality of care was satisfactory and they would recommend the RPM program to others.

Another research study conducted by the Office of Connected Care, Department of Veterans Affairs, credited its experience with remote patient monitoring for its high success rate in at-home treatment of veterans during the pandemic. During periods of Covid-19 surges, the VA managed to maintain and improve the RPM program satisfaction rates, which are usually in the range of 90%.

Four out of Five US Adults are Embracing RPM Technology

A survey conducted by MSI International in May 2021 showed that four out of five Americans favor remote patient monitoring technology for their health and about 50% of the people support that RPM should be incorporated into medical care. The survey called “Americans’ Perceptions of Remote Monitoring in Health” provided insights into the health areas where patients are more receptive to using RPM technology. These include:

  • 70% of patients favor blood pressure monitoring
  • 68% favor heart rate monitoring
  • 66% favor blood sugar monitoring
  • 65% favor blood oxygen monitoring

About 43% of the participants in the survey said that greater convenience was a key benefit of RPM programs, 39% cited efficiency as a key benefit, 38% identified better control over their own health as a key benefit, 36% found the accuracy of results to be beneficial, while 36% said they preferred RPM for the peace of mind it provides them.

Why Partnering with a Full-Service RPM Vendor for Device Shipping and Logistics is the Best Choice for Long-Term Sustainability

HealthSnap's proprietary remote patient monitoring system

 

According to an American Medical Association survey, the number of doctors who used RPM devices in 2020 has already doubled from the number in 2018. Clearly, remote patient monitoring is not the future, but the present. Healthcare companies that are focused on putting patients at the center of care are increasingly choosing full-service RPM providers for long-term program sustainability.

Cellular-enabled, pre-configured, ready to use right out of the box RPM devices from HealthSnap are removing barriers for patients that seek improved outcomes through home monitoring. From the perspective of healthcare providers looking for a suitable RPM solution, HealthSnap’s full-service shipping and logistics offer an added advantage.

The healthcare company does not have to use its internal resources to track, manage and ship the RPM devices to patients. They can simply utilize HealthSnap’s turnkey shipping logistics to implement an efficient and scalable RPM program.

Moreover, HealthSnap provides automated drop-shipping (at-home patient enrollment) to make it more convenient for the patients. The ready-to-use devices arrive right at the patient’s doorstep, requiring no setup and the patient can start taking measurements right away.

HealthSnap also offers the option of on-site enrollment for bulk orders, where the care teams can receive the RPM devices at the office, ready to use. Patient enrollment takes 30 seconds or less, and the patient can simply walk away with the device along with a clear understanding of their care plan.

Change Your Virtual Care Management Game with HealthSnap’s Remote Patient Monitoring Platform

If you are ready to drive proactive patient care and take your healthcare services for chronic disease management to the next level, HealthSnap’s integrated Remote Patient Monitoring platform is the right choice for you. To learn more, contact us at 888-780-1872 or click here to schedule a personalized consultation with our team.

By |2022-04-13T14:22:18+00:00March 30th, 2022|Healthcare Technology, Remote Patient Monitoring|0 Comments

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