Healthcare expenditure in the US accounts for nearly 18 percent of the GDP. Although this makes healthcare the largest single sector of the US economy, this expenditure does not necessarily translate to better healthcare delivery. The fact is that a large percentage of American adults do not receive the recommended level of healthcare. This is true even globally, as the mounting healthcare costs pose affordability challenges for millions of people. In addition to this, the scarce availability of quality care has been another cause for concern. But the penetration of mobile and wireless technologies combined with technological convergence have opened new avenues to improve access to healthcare, enhance the quality of care delivered, and reduce the costs associated with it.
Remote Patient Monitoring is quickly emerging as a popular means of staying connected with patients, even outside of the hospital/clinic. It effectively addresses healthcare challenges and makes it more accessible and available. More importantly, remote patient monitoring systems are capable of significantly improving the quality of care delivered to patients. According to the Home Care Association of New York State, remote patient monitoring has the potential to reduce hospital admissions by 63%. This is possible because a remote patient monitoring system can:
- Improve patient self-management and enable the delivery of personalized care in the comfort of the home. By providing a system of care wherein patients’ health parameters are constantly monitored and timely treatment is extended to them, this method allows patients to be equally participative in addressing their health concerns.
- Facilitate better collaboration with real-time diagnostic data transfer through convenient wearable monitors that help measure significant parameters and transmit them to physicians, thus enabling them to stay connected with the patient at all times.
- Enable continuous monitoring and timely treatment for chronic conditions, thus facilitating chronic disease management, promoting patient self-dependence, and ensuring a better lifestyle for chronic patients. Some advanced remote patient monitoring systems also come with the ability to send reminders to patients about taking medicines and following a diet or health regime.
In addition to this, remote patient monitoring has the ability to improve healthcare access as it opens up the opportunity to provide care to more people at the same time, and thus helps optimize the use of healthcare services and resources. This is possible because this system of care has the capability to extend the geographic reach of physicians and services beyond clinics or hospitals. According to InMedica, a division of IMS Research, by the year 2017, 1.3 million American patients will be remotely monitored.
Another most awaited change that remote patient monitoring is likely to bring about is the reduction in healthcare delivery costs. Since this system comes with the capability to detect deterioration in patients at a very early stage, they help bring down cases of emergency hospital admissions/visits. Moreover, since patients can continue to receive care from home after treatment at the hospital, the duration of hospital stays can be reduced, thus also lowering the cost of care episodes and the need for frequent patient travel.
Remote patient monitoring systems come with a number of capabilities that effectively address the challenges faced by healthcare today. While hospitals, physicians and patients are yet to tap the complete potential of this system of care, a positive transformation can soon be expected in the sector.