Improving patient care with rich data

September 3, 2020

How cellular technologies and remote patient monitoring are improving patient care.

Many older adults are thriving thanks to advances in healthcare technology. Instead of trips to the doctor or emergency room when they experience a change in their health, seniors are taking advantage of solutions such as remote patient monitoring (RPM). RPM can help healthcare providers monitor patients around the clock while they remain at home. This is transforming senior patient care, ensuring a patient’s safety and wellbeing while allowing them to live independently.

The COVID-19 pandemic has spurred interest by healthcare providers in solutions such as RPM, keeping at-risk patients safely in their homes while still providing continuous, stellar care.

Having access to patients’ current vital statistics (such as blood pressure, oxygen levels, weight, temperature etc.) is important for healthcare providers, but RPM provides more than just daily data points. It also offers context through a set of rich data that allows healthcare providers to:

  • Track patients’ vital statistics in real time or over time
  • Quickly spot trends and determine a course of action because healthcare providers can see data in context
  • Proactively make an assessment—solving small problems before they become big ones
  • Communicate one-on-one with patients via the RPM device to gain additional information about their condition

Rich data using RPM can often give healthcare providers a better overview of the patient’s health than a single encounter in an office or an emergency room. By expanding health data about a patient to include their vital statistics over time as well as in real time, healthcare providers can better understand their patient’s health and spot any trends that cause concern.

RPM in Use

A few examples stand out when it comes to showing the value of rich data in a remote healthcare environment:

  • A patient with high blood pressure. By tracking a patient’s blood pressure both over time and in real time, RPM solutions can spot anomalies such as an unusually high blood pressure reading or a trend upward over the course of a week. The healthcare provider can then use that rich data to contact the patient using the RPM device for immediate follow up, ask questions such as “are you feeling dizzy?” and determine a course of action. Sometimes that may be a trip to the hospital or doctor’s office, and other times a healthcare provider can make a recommendation that keeps the patient in their home.

  • A patient with chronic heart failure (CHF). CHF is one of the highest impact areas for RPM—it’s a disease for which there is no cure and needs constant supervision. Patients must weigh themselves daily, as well as take their blood pressure and oxygen levels frequently. By having this information at their fingertips, healthcare providers can intervene in a preventative or proactive way, helping patients eliminate visits to the emergency room or a doctor’s office. If a doctor has information every day about the patient, they can help keep them at home and allow them to live their lives more independently.

RPM solutions can also “learn” from the patient’s behavior and determine how to make it easier for them to participate fully in their care. An example of this is if a patient fails to consistently take their medicines at the same time every day, the RPM solution can help them find a better time each day. Reminders can be adjusted and sent at different times to establish a more consistent time.

Making the Connection

For RPM solutions to be successful, patient engagement is key, and that means ease of use is critical. By providing solutions with simple functionality and two-way voice communications, patients and doctors can effectively communicate, improving patient care. One recent successful pilot, for example, showed improved outcomes for patients and significant cost savings for providers. Users cited ease of use as one of the main reasons they would participate in future deployments.

One of the biggest challenges with remote healthcare is connectivity. Many solutions are connected by Wi-Fi, which has a steep learning curve for seniors and often can be unreliable. Healthcare solutions need 24/7 connectivity, and that can only be delivered via cellular networks.

By adding the reliability of cellular with the rich data provided by RPM solutions, both healthcare providers and patients can ensure they are providing and receiving the best care possible.

About the Author

Mark Denissen serves as the president and chief executive officer of Anelto