What Is Remote Patient Monitoring?
Remote patient monitoring is a method of healthcare delivery that uses the latest technology to gather and analyze patient’s data outside of traditional healthcare offices. The main goal of RPM is to take healthcare out of the traditional offices and clinic settings so people can stay home and live their lives normally without the constant doctor visits and check-ups. These technologies build the bridge that improves the connectivity and quality of healthcare for the patients and the providers.
RPM can be something as simple as wearing a FitBit or other health monitoring device that sends data and stats to your physician to analyze. Your physician and you can then work collectively to make changes to your lifestyle to improve your overall health and improve any medical conditions you may have. The devices used range depending on the condition that is being treated and the lifestyle of the patient. RPM focuses on fitting the lifestyle and needs of the patient and the devices are chosen accordingly.
This technology helps patients to feel more comfortable with managing their own health and hold them accountable for their choices and habits. RPM can also help doctors maintain a steady measurement of the patient and their condition. Occasional visits only give physicians a snapshot look at your health while RPM gives them consistent measurements for them to analyze and make more consistent inferences about solutions and various treatments. It’s really easy for patients to go tell their doctor what they want to hear and that they have made changes to their health regardless of if they have or not and RPm allows the physician insight as to what is happening on a daily basis.
Benefits of Remote Patient Monitoring
RPM comes with a variety of benefits to help improve the wellbeing of patients who have been discharged from medical institutions and maintain their overall health while living their lives normally.
- Reduced Emergency Situations: This is one of the best benefits for both patients and healthcare providers using RPM. While emergency situations are one of the highest money makers for healthcare providers, the urgency can interfere with their quality of care with their other patients. It can also result in longer wait times for their other patients and cause their patient retention to decrease. For patients, these emergency visits can be very costly and result in very expensive procedures and treatments that could’ve been prevented with remote patient monitoring. RPM can also assist with preventing and predicting life threatening conditions.
- Less Burden on Healthcare Systems: Healthcare facilities can become very full and very fast and cause patients to wait a significant amount of time for them to be seen. Especially after Covid-19, many physicians have noticed an increase with patients in their offices and have reported a decrease in their quality of care because of all of their patients. The data from remote patient monitoring services are gathered remotely and therefore do not require the patient to visit the office every time data needs to be updated about the patient. Overall, RPM helps keep doctors offices and healthcare facilities clear and open enough to offer high quality care to all of their patients.
- Higher Quality of Care: When healthcare facilities are too busy and physicians have to rush through their appointments to see as many of the patients as possible, the quality of the care they are giving is most likely decreasing, leaving patients feeling like they are just a number being passed from one doctor to the next. RPM prevents this by allowing the data to be gathered and sent to the physician directly to be analyzed and a treatment to be decided upon.
- Increased Revenue: From the standpoint of the physicians, RPM is an excellent choice and offers them increased revenue as a benefit. Some providers receive grants or other reimbursement for the time they spend on remote tasks, such as reviewing the data collected from the patients. Physicians that offer RPM have significantly more revenue than those that do not.
What Is Telehealth?
Telehealth has been around for a long time and is essentially electronic technology as a method of providing healthcare virtually. This method is ideal for situations where there is a distance between the provider and the patient, or in situations such as Covid-19 where patients are encouraged to not come into the office for safety reasons. Certain conditions do require a physical examination while others can be diagnosed and treated virtually while being handled professionally and effectively.
One of the downfalls of using telehealth for medical treatment is that id technology fails or the patient does not have knowledge about how to set up the meeting, the provider may have to require the patient to come into the office anyway depending on their condition, and some conditions cannot be diagnosed or treated virtually.
Benefits of Telehealth
Similarly to remote patient monitoring, telehealth comes with its own set of benefits. Such as:
- More Patients: Since telehealth is virtual, it allows physicians to spend less time transitioning between patients and more time with each patient individually. They can also expand their outreach to other areas than they would if the patients had to come into the office. Therefore, physicians can see more patients in less time and reach more people in a number of different ways.
- Improved Efficiency and Workflow: Telehealth can improve the efficiency and workflow of medical institutions and can help everything run smoother and quicker. It also makes it easier for physicians to prioritize their treatment options and various patients. Not only is the performance improved but patients are also much more satisfied with their care than they would be if they had to come into the office.
- Improved Patient Engagement: Over the years, hospitals and other medical institutions have developed new ways of interacting with their patients and encouraging them to practice self-care and take accountability for their own health. Using telehealth allows healthcare providers to provide proactive healthcare and prevent complications or chronic issues among patients. They can improve the outcomes of their patients while cutting costs.
What Makes RPM and Telehealth Different?
In simple terms the biggest difference between remote patient monitoring and telehealth is that RPM uses technologies to interact with patients to interact with them from a distance, while telehealth encompasses the industry as a whole and the technologies used to provide this type of healthcare. Therefore, telehealth can include RPM but also many other things as well. Telehealth includes all types of technologies used to collect data and exchange information for providers to use and provide care to their patients.
Also, telehealth is used more for the patient to be connected to a provider to receive treatment, while RPM can be used just by the patient to monitor their own health and make changes accordingly without a physician.