Remote patient monitoring (RPM) is the process of using a device to measure a patient’s health metrics as they go about their day or are in a separate location from their doctor and other medical care professionals.
Through what’s known as RPM equipment, doctors can obtain vital data about their patent’s health without them being in the office.
Biometrics such as blood pressure, glucose levels, heart rate, and more can be monitored and transmitted electronically for real-time readings on health.
The resulting data can then enable health care providers to gain a more accurate and comprehensive evaluation of a patient’s condition, as well as how it may fluctuate based on various factors.
For patients, this can relieve many burdens when it comes to getting accurate diagnoses and optimal treatment. They can also alleviate difficulties in attending appointments, and thereby manage their health more effectively.
Electronic and remote medical monitoring has been used for decades, but many traditional patient monitor devices are expensive, cumbersome, and not always realistic for individuals who are living with certain physical limitations.
Today, medical technology and device makers are continuously looking at ways to make home health monitors sleeker, less expensive, and more comfortable for patients.
What Are Home Health Monitoring Devices?
Home health monitoring devices are similar or the same as many medical motoring devices used in doctors’ offices, clinics, and hospitals.
The main difference between home health monitors and the professional diagnostic and tracking equipment are data transmission capabilities.
Specific types of RPM equipment includes pulse oximeters, echocardiogram monitors, glucometers, and blood pressure cuffs, as well as scales and thermometers.
These devices can be linked through an RPM service that connects to a health care provider’s network and delivers real-time biometrics on demand.
Some RPM tracking is completed periodically, meaning that a patient will take a measurement via a device on a regular basis. For example, a doctor may instruct a patient to take a blood glucose measurement at certain points in the day using a connected glucometer.
The reading is then delivered to the RPM tracking system for a doctor to track and review. Other RPM equipment is meant to be worn to gather and deliver constant data.
This type of in home health monitor is commonly called a wearable. Health monitoring wearables are advancing thanks to the development of sensors that are soft, flexible, and lightweight.
Although most remote monitoring wearables still rely on power supply elements that can make them awkward or uncomfortable to wear, they are extremely useful for comprehensive health monitoring.
This is why researchers have been exploring and modifying these devices with the goal to make them as unobtrusive as possible.
With advances in connected technology, RPM tracking may someday be incorporated into clothing, bandaging, and other materials so that a patient’s biometrics can be tracked and transmitted without inhibiting their movement or causing discomfort.
This means that something as simple as a sock or wrist band could be used to track pulse, temperature, blood pressure, blood oxygen, and electrocardiogram readings without inhibiting the patient in any way.
When Are RPM Services Most Useful?
Remote patient monitoring can offer many benefits to patients seeking care for preventative, diagnostic, and treatment goals.
In general, more thorough and efficient health monitoring can greatly improve provider capabilities and communication for all patients. Apart from broader advantages, RPM services can greatly improve medical care in the case of specific health conditions.
Any individual who deals with mobility challenges or faces obstacles to attending in-person appointments, especially when they are required on a regular basis, can still provide their doctor with useful biometrics through RPM equipment.
Accurate remote health monitoring can be especially beneficial for patients with critical heart conditions, diabetes, dementia, cognitive impairments, high-risk pregnancies, and other conditions that require regular monitoring of vitals.
When combined with other digital health resources, such as telemedicine or telehealth, patients, doctors, and facilities can make more effective use of their time and better focus their care efforts.