Everything You Need to Know About Remote Patient Monitoring

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Can your practice benefit from using Remote Patient Monitoring?

The whirlwind of changes since the beginning of the Covid-19 outbreak can be difficult to keep up with. One change you might not know about is the vast improvements and new developments of Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM). To catch up and fully understand how RPM can improve your workflow and client satisfaction, read on.

The blog post will answer the following:

  • What is Remote Patient Monitoring?
  • What’s the difference between RPM and Telehealth?
  • How does Remote Patient Monitoring work?
  • What are the benefits of RPM to providers and their patients?
  • What are the types of remote patient monitoring devices?
  • Why is Remote Patient Monitoring important?
  • How to choose an RPM vendor.

What is Remote Patient Monitoring?

Patient blood pressure monitoring
Man read measurement result from digital blood pressure monitor

Remote Patient Monitoring refers to technology and practices that help practitioners track their patients’ health data remotely to design a treatment plan. 

What’s the Difference between RPM and Telehealth?

Remote Patient Monitoring is an integral component of the broader telehealth industry and e-health domain. It’s the process of combining remote patient monitoring technology with devices, and it enables the doctor to monitor vitals and other critical data remotely.

How does Remote Patient Monitoring work?

Wearables, transmit patient information, usually through a mobile app, which then sends the data to the provider. The most popular option for transporting data from the Remote Patient Monitoring device to the patient’s phone is Bluetooth Low Energy communication.

The mobile application transmits the information from patients’ wearables and smart sensors to the healthcare staff. 

Below are the requirements of a Remote Patient Monitoring system mobile application for patients

  • Exchanging information with devices requires BLE support. 
  • HIPAA compliance
  • Secure API built according to FHIR standards ensures the connection between the devices is solid and functional.
  • The system must have a safeguard for connectivity issues.
  • Your device must meet IEC 62304 safety standard requirements of developing software and medical software devices.
  • The hospital-side app is also regulated. 

Below are the requirements for a hospital-side application:

  • HIPAA compliance
  • The Remote Patient Monitoring system should integrate via an FHIR-based API with a hospital’s EMR system to exchange information and avoid creating data silos.
  • You must follow Interoperability rules.

Some components of the hospital-side application are:

  • Analytics module

Patient measurements are presented with the various known trends and patterns, allowing physicians to assess risk for unwanted events and decide upon the patient’s best option for treatment.

  • Notification module

If the patient’s vital signs show signs of danger, the doctor is immediately notified- through the app, email, or text.

  • Decision support module

Using the decision support module, you can set threshold values for vital signs and compare the patient’s data to your set values.

  • Report module

The system organizes data into reports daily for the practitioner to evaluate.

What are the benefits of RPM to providers and their patients?

Benefits
  • Social distancing

Social distancing is a benefit for patients and providers. Maintaining a safe distance is essential for cardiac patients, who must take precautions since the virus is still prevalent. 

  • Remote monitoring

You can monitor patients remotely, from anywhere. The ability to monitor your patients remotely is vital during the Covid-19 pandemic, but it is also beneficial to your practice under normal circumstances. Monitoring your patients from anywhere is convenient.

  • Automated reports

According to InfoBionic, data devices compile data reports you can use to determine your next steps and verify that treatment is working. Additionally, EHR Intelligence says the information you gather from devices can be used to study the virus and even predict potential hot spots. Other capabilities include organizing health data, filtering COVID-19 patients, infection identification, and contact tracing. 

  • HIPAA-compliant portals

HIPAA-compliant portals allow the practitioner to view data and events from anywhere. With HIPAA compliance being more important now than ever, this is a necessary feature. After all, you could risk your practice or even your patient’s life if there were a data breach. 

  • Adjustable notification settings 

With Remote Patient Monitoring devices, you have control over your notification and report settings. For example, you control the types of notifications you want to receive. The monitor will send you only the notifications you wish to or indicate an emergency for your patient. Additionally, the notifications and reports’ access means fewer calls to the service provider. 

  • Data verification

Many devices verify data using an algorithm analysis. Additionally, QA professionals validate the data to ensure you are reviewing relevant, accurate data that helps you care for your patient.

  • Decreased hospital readmissions

According to Long, using Remote Patient Monitoring can decrease the volume of hospital readmissions. As a result, the patient spends less time in the hospital and avoids paying pricey hospital bills. In addition, avoiding hospitals could prevent infection for your patient. 

  • Patient education

Health IT Answers says that the technology used to educate patients can improve cardiac conditions and diabetes. Technology like InfoBionics allows the physician to train the patient on device use briefly. Then, through the combination of telehealth and Remote Patient Monitoring, the patient has access to continued education about their condition. 

  • Heart disease prevention

Using RPM allows the physician to identify and treat heart conditions before they become critical. 

  • Emergency Room visit prevention

Recent studies show that Remote Patient Monitoring can reduce the volume of emergency room visits by 25%. 

  • Patient satisfaction

Patients were 25% more satisfied with RPMs than hospital stays and in-office visits. 

  • Decreased cost of care

As per recent study showed a reduction in the cost of care by 17%. 

  • Medication compliance

Patients’ medication compliance has improved by 13%.

What are the Types of Remote Patient Monitoring Devices? 

glucometer ketometer lancet and strips for self-monitoring of blood glucose or ketones . diabetes
Remote Patient Monitoring Devices

Remote Patient Monitoring devices are sometimes sensors placed under the skin or wearables like a Samsung Watch or other fitness tracker. FDA authorization for the use of RPM by healthcare practitioners is conditional. It must be wireless and noninvasive. 

The FDA has approved devices like the following for remote use, gathered from AltexSoft:

  • Electronic stethoscopes
  • Blood pressure monitors
  • Audiometers
  • Oximeters
  • Spirometers
  • Apnea monitors
  • Breathing frequency monitors
  • Cardiac monitors
  • Electronic thermometers
  • Electroencephalographs (EEGs)
  • Electrocardiographs (ECG)

Why is Remote Patient Monitoring Important?

Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) is important because of the lasting cardiovascular damage some Covid-19 survivors have. Heart patients need a way to be treated safely, without exposure to Covid-19 or other viruses. Remote Patient Monitoring is the way. Stuart Long, CEO of Infobionic, says, “With a cardiovascular injury, a long-term effect for COVID-19 survivors, healthcare needs a proven means of telemetry style remote cardiac monitoring that can facilitate faster interventions that can improve health outcomes.”

Researchers indicate that around 20% of Covid-19 patients could suffer from heart injury triggered by the virus. The infection causes inflammation, and the virus can cause injuries to blood vessels, arrhythmia, heart attacks, strokes, or blood clots. The clotting caused by the Coronavirus is responsible for these conditions.

How to Choose the Best RPM Vendor 

Almost 90% of healthcare providers are using RPM or plan to. So the question is, no longer will physicians use remote patient monitoring; it’s which vendor to choose. 

Authorities also support the use of RPMs. 

The US Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) expanded the list of telehealth services eligible for reimbursement. And the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized the use of noninvasive devices designed for hospitals in home settings.

Remote Patient Monitoring reimbursement is a small portion of the disruption that Covid-19 has caused in the healthcare technology sector. But both actions were (and still are) necessary to control the spread of the virus and keep patients safe. And the approval of telehealth services reimbursement was a crucial factor in getting you paid when performing telehealth services. 

Beyond regulations, one consideration is whether you prefer to buy a pre-designed Remote Patient Monitoring device and system or if you would like to have one custom-designed. Many providers choose the former option to stay within their budget. 

Below is a list of considerations to help you choose the best provider for you:

Who will use the Remote Patient Monitoring device?

RPMs aren’t one-size-fits-all, so consider who will use the device. For example, will the elderly or children be using the RPM? Differences between the two are dramatic.

  • Will patients BYOD?

Will you use RPMs that come with devices for the patients or use their personal wearable? Some physicians avoid allowing the patient to wear their own device, even though it will be connected to the provider’s software because there is no telling how accurate the wearable is.

  • Ease of integration

Hospitals should have an IT professional look at their hospital’s current systems to ensure it integrates well with the Remote Patient Monitoring device. 

  • Simplicity

The device and app must be simple enough that the patient can use them. 

  • Scalability

Before choosing a provider, verify the number of systems the remote system can handle.

Key Takeaways:

Remote Patient Monitoring provides many benefits for you and your patients, and there are several types of devices to choose from. Of course, the best device for your practice is one that aligns with your clientele. But, overall, RPM can change your practice for the better.

Want to learn more about the various way’s technology can serve you and your patients?

Start here.