Modern technological advances have accelerated the advancement of technology and services in the healthcare sector. Remote patient monitoring is a recent development in this area that has several advantages as the world’s population grows and health problems become more prevalent. Modern communication and sensor technologies have progressed from quite basic applications to watch over patients inside hospital rooms to the stage where patients are able to conduct their daily lives as usual at home while still being monitored.
Implications of remote monitoring
Non-invasive remote monitoring devices are designed to capture several physiological data from patients. The most common measurements are electrocardiograms (ECG), electroencephalograms (EEG), heartbeats, respiration rate, blood pressure, body and skin temperatures, signals from the nervous system, blood oxygen saturation or pulse oximetry, and blood glucose levels. Remote monitoring tools are also used to collect information on the patient’s weight, activity level, and sleeping habits.
Patients are heavily impacted by the rising expense of healthcare services, but the availability of remote patient monitoring (RPM) gives them a chance to take control of their health and have an active role in their treatment. It provides a complete picture of a patient’s health over time, makes it easier to assess how effectively they are following their therapy, and makes it possible to take quick action before an expensive medical occurrence. Clinicians can develop a personalised treatment plan and engage in joint decision-making to achieve better outcomes and enhance patient care by utilising remote monitoring data.
Technological advancements powering remote monitoring
The term “remote healthcare” encompasses a wide range of subfields, including telehealth and mobile health, which all refer to the use of technology to monitor patients outside of a hospital setting. Post-pandemic, there has been a boost in the telediagnostics industry. The growth of remote monitoring offers a plethora of benefits, such as making use of communication technology for early and real-time illness detection, the ability to continuously monitor patients, preventing illnesses from getting worse and premature deaths, reducing hospital costs, fewer hospitalizations, getting more accurate readings while allowing patients to go about their daily lives, as usual, and improving the efficiency of healthcare services. Furthermore, the evolution of technology in telemonitoring has created the possibility of performing an operation using a robotic arm over a 5G call under the surveillance of a supervised physician.
Non-invasive way to monitor the heart
Patients with suspected cardiac arrhythmias or those who are at risk of developing arrhythmias can now have their ECGs monitored at home thanks to advancements in remote cardiac monitoring technologies. One of the most beneficial developments in remote monitoring devices has been the introduction of Holter devices, which continuously record the heart’s electrical activity for 24 hours or longer as opposed to one-time ECG recordings at healthcare facilities, which might not capture the patient’s heart fluctuations. Thus, a considerably more accurate picture of the patient’s status is provided to clinicians by a holter test, which allows for much longer health monitoring.
Benefits of remote monitoring
The management of chronic illnesses is expected to benefit significantly from remote monitoring solutions. Patients, healthcare systems, medical professionals, and the general public can gain from remote-monitoring solutions in the following ways:
Timely intervention: Through remote monitoring, patients and medical professionals can communicate more easily, allowing for closer monitoring of patients’ conditions and more accurate and speedier clinical and technical treatments. Remote monitoring enhances patient outcomes, including quality of life, by accelerating interventions and preventing the deterioration of patients’ health conditions.
A better tool to monitor chronic conditions: Remote monitoring is essential for preventing the deterioration of health issues or even fatal occurrences by continuously measuring health markers.
Free of inequalities: Particularly for groups of people who face barriers to accessing healthcare facilities due to geographic distance, age, physical conditions, or time constraints, remote monitoring proved to be an effective and frequently convenient substitute for in-person consultations or minor treatments in healthcare facilities.
Reduced healthcare costs: The extensive application of remote monitoring helps cut hospital admission rates and healthcare expenses by limiting hospital visits and saving travelling and consultation fees.
The way forward
As a means of enhancing patient engagement and advancing preventative medicine, digital technologies are being used in healthcare systems more frequently. Remote health monitoring has already started to become more and more widespread before the Covid-19 outbreak. But the pandemic has helped remote monitoring become more widely used in healthcare by boosting its acceptance as an effective strategy for providing care while protecting patients from infection. Since teleconsultation and e-pharmacy are becoming more and more common, it is predicted that 15 to 20 per cent of India’s healthcare ecosystem will move to virtual care through triaging, consultations, remote monitoring, home health, etc. With teleconsultation and e-pharmacy, telemedicine will hold nearly 95 per cent of the market share in the nation by 2025.
Views expressed above are the author’s own.
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