Advancements in technology integration and an increasing pace of innovation due to COVID-19 are transforming the way care is delivered to patients.

The COVID-19 pandemic placed enormous pressure on emergency departments and intensive care units, which were already understaffed and overworked, highlighting the immense role of nurses, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants.

It is estimated that U.S. hospitals are predicted to lose more than $200 billion in revenue by June 30, 2020. COVID-19 has exacerbated problems within hospital systems such as revenue gaps, personnel shortages, and capacity issues. In some cases, these problems have escalated to unmanageable levels for providers. 

COVID-19 introduced a new world for health systems in which they see virtual care solutions such as remote patient monitoring and telehealth as a requirement for stability, longevity, and a must-have for future connections with patients – especially as capacity and staffing shortages continue to be a challenge for providers.

The Value of Remote Patient Monitoring

Through remote patient monitoring (RPM), patients can remain in the comfort of their own home while still receiving optimal healthcare services to treat their conditions, monitor for new symptoms, and intervene when issues arise. Physicians can manage patients’ diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, cancer, weight gain/loss, substance abuse, and more with remote care programs. 

Unlike other telemedicine delivery methods, RPM services do not require an interactive video to communicate with a provider, nor are there specific geographic restrictions. All RPM requires is a mode of technology that collects patient information, such as a connected blood pressure cuffs, glucometers, pulse oximetry devices or activity trackers, and a system that can transmit and visualize the physiological patient data. These devices allow data to be delivered continually to providers – who receive automatic alerts when there is a change in their patient’s health that requires intervention, follow up, or a treatment adjustment. 

Remote Patient Monitoring is for Your Population

RPM’s growth can be attributed to an increase in individuals with chronic conditions, a rise in the geriatric population, and a rise in consumerism in healthcare. Remote patient monitoring is a way to drive down healthcare costs and reduce healthcare utilization among chronic or co-morbid populations or patients. 

According to the CDC, chronic conditions account for 86% of our nation’s healthcare costs. Advances in RPM are creating a new generation of population health solutions that can aid chronic disease prevention and management. 

Healthcare providers face multiple barriers when treating patients with chronic diseases such as infrequent follow-up with patients and limited access to patient health data. These data are essential because they provide precise, relevant insight into a patient’s life. RPM helps providers overcome these barriers by combining analytics with real-time data and alerts to create faster interventions. 

A survey found the most significant benefits of using RPM to manage health were: improved patient outcomes (49 percent), improved compliance rates (44 percent), and patients taking more ownership of their health (42 percent). 

For patients, the top three benefits are detailed information on personalized health (43 percent), faster access to health care services (42 percent), and more influence on their well-being through ownership of health data (37 percent).

Historically, RPM was used to treat the most high-need and complex populations. Providers utilized RPM to monitor their patients who had two or more complex chronic conditions. Today, healthcare providers are shifting to a population health approach to care management. Instead of a program that focuses on 50 patients with diabetes and hypertension, health systems will deploy RPM programs across thousands of patients who have one or more chronic conditions. 

This new style of care focuses on lifestyle management and interventions across an entire population, rather than a few hundred patients. Taking a population-level approach extends the benefits of RPM and the improved clinical outcomes of condition management across the system. 

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