Monday, May 08, 2017

What’s New About Remote Patient Monitoring

Remote patient monitoring has shown promise in the healthcare field for a long time now, being regarded as a viable solution for the increasing number of the aging population and chronic diseases.

This comes as no surprise at all, especially when it brings to the table cheap technology, varying workflow degrees and accessible digital infrastructure that allow healthcare workers a centralized location to monitor patients and to intervene for those at-risk.

The current situation 

While this monitoring system comes as a panacea to healthcare, the reality is that the present healthcare system is still at baby steps when it comes to adopting this technology-influenced healthcare solution. Sure, there have been a number of successful pilots, yet looking at the bigger picture, most healthcare systems continue to operate using the traditional approach when it comes to dealing with patients with chronic disease.

On the upside, the issues that once hindered remote patient monitoring programs in the past—security, usability, implementation, and interoperability—have become less relevant at present because of how today’s technology, guidelines, and standards have matured.

Baby steps 

According to a recent survey appointed by the KPMG LLP, about three-fourths of healthcare workers are currently implementing steps in virtual care, while a third of them are already using remote patient monitoring initiatives to effectively engage patients. This leads to the possibility that more of these programs, as well as access to care, are coming for the healthcare industry.

KPMG principal, Michael Beaty, observes that this is a strategic shift in how healthcare providers perceive the importance of digital health capabilities, such as enhanced web portals, virtual health applications, and referral management tools in providing continuous and accessible patient care.

With this technology, the constraint of geography is removed from the healthcare field, overall improving patient commitment and promoting convenience, all the while delivering higher quality healthcare to far-off areas.

The fate of RPM in 2017 

One of the trending topics on last year’s Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society conference was the normalization of data succeeding the publication of the Health Level 7 standards, which resulted to the establishment of documented protocols to ensure a unified provider experience despite various software systems. This simplifies workflow in the clinical area in the long run.

Likewise, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act has formulated a set of requirements that allowed healthcare chief information officers to spend less time when it comes to their data security tasks. On the other hand, another trend has been the increasing awareness and development of medical sensors and devices that ingeniously collects critical medical biometrics and transmits them in a verifiable approach, as compared to manual input that proves to be more error-prone.

The emergence of these trends may prove that 2017 could be the best year for remote patient monitoring to set sail. Because healthcare systems are gradually moving on from executing electronic health records, they might be able to explore more ways to maximize their digital infrastructure—graduating from a records repository to a universal approach in the form of an electronic solution, which can produce better patient outcomes and generate savings.

RPM and beyond 

Looking at it, the reality may not be too far-fetched as it seems. Currently, remote patient monitoring seems to be gathering momentum, and it won’t be too long to witness its adoption to entire healthcare systems across the globe. Soon, health coaching can be directly done in patients’ homes. Timely alerts and tips for patients can be delivered. Patient engagement will improve like never before.

With the increasing positive trends inclined to remote patient monitoring systems, technology can be easily transformed soon from a remote tele-monitoring instrument utilized for specific chronic diseases into simpler yet more generalizable platforms that improve patient engagement and healthcare access.

This is a guest blog entry.

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