Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) is a way to monitor a person’s health using technology. Without having to be in a traditional clinical setting, certain information about the patient’s health status is sent electronically to their doctor, who can monitor this data remotely.
Such technologies were developed in the 1960s. The first manned space missions required that data on the astronauts’ blood pressure and breathing could be sent back to Earth.
Today it is no longer necessary to be in orbit to have access to these remote monitoring systems. Let’s take a look at some of them to understand how technology is changing the lives of patients and doctors.
remote monitoring devices for patients
The global RPM market is doing very well according to Trajectory Reports. After a total of 23.2 billion US dollars in 2020, it is expected to reach 117.1 billion US dollars by 2025. This has led to frequent investment in new technology and the simplification of existing equipment. Today these are the most common surveillance devices on the market:
Continuous glucose monitors
Also known simply as blood glucose meters, these devices are used daily by patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. It is able to quickly test blood sugar from a single drop of blood. The glucose reading is sent in real-time to the doctor or healthcare provider, who can quickly and efficiently track the evolution of the condition.
Digital Blood Pressure Monitors
The doctor usually measures your pressure with blood pressure cuffs. But those suffering from high blood pressure (116 million people in the US alone, according to recent data) may benefit from using one of these devices at home.
Easy-to-use blood pressure monitors allow anyone to check them regularly and send the data over Bluetooth. This allows physicians to monitor the patient’s heart status on a daily basis, not just at each appointment.
These devices remain connected to the patient’s body during the day. That is why they are also popularly called viable. Some work through a sticker or patch, but the technology has advanced enough to allow monitoring through smartwatches.
Activity trackers allow the doctor to understand the patient’s daily routine by getting data on heart rate, blood pressure, glucose, stress and even a peaceful night’s sleep.
heart rate monitor
Competitive athletes, who tend to have heavy workout routines, use heart rate monitors to check how fast their heart is beating. While many people rely on their smartwatches for reading, doctors recommend that patients with heart problems wear chest-worn heart rate monitors. They work like an electrocardiogram and measure heart rate more accurately.
An electrocardiogram (ECG) is used by patients with chronic heart disease to measure their heartbeat and detect arrhythmias or other changes. Patients in their own four walls can use modern devices. Daily readings are sent directly for review or stored in a portal for the doctor to later track weekly, bi-weekly or monthly averages.
This is another technology that has become more practical and accessible. It is a clip that is attached to the patient’s finger (sometimes to the earlobe) to measure blood oxygen levels and arterial pulse. People with chronic heart disease often use them, but the device also helps monitor lung changes in patients with pneumonia or asthma.
The benefits of remote patient monitoring systems
Any patient can now use monitoring devices that were previously available only to a few. The advantages that these technologies offer include the following.
The ability to cope with long-term illnesses, as well as urgent medical problems.
RPMs allow setting up hospital-to-home programs.
No commute time
There is no need to travel back and forth to hospitals or clinics just to have a routine measurement.
build up trust
Help build trust and transparency in the doctor-patient relationship.
However, it’s important to note that many people use remote devices (like smartwatches) and track information themselves. RPMs must have EHR integration for the technology to be fully effective.
What is EPA? It stands for “Electronic Health Records”, the digital version of a patient’s medical record. When integrated, these electronic software devices can access your medical records and the monitored data is recorded and kept available for doctors and healthcare providers to review.
A medical clinic at home
Remember when you had to make an appointment with your doctor just to have your blood pressure taken or an EKG? It was a long process of waiting and fear. Advanced remote monitoring devices now allow healthcare professionals to track and understand the full picture of their patients’ symptoms over time, and not just during a face-to-face visit.
In addition, such devices have become so simple that the patient himself can read the data and notice any worrying changes. It allows chronic disease patients to be monitored remotely, frequently and safely to have a more peaceful routine. Knowing that a specialist is keeping an eye on your situation – albeit remotely.