Digital Salutem
26 January 2022

Remote Patient Monitoring by Wearables in Healthcare for Patients and Clinicians

By João Bocas
Remote Patient Monitoring by Wearables

Many people are traveling, working long hours, and staying at home for extended periods of time. These are some of the reasons why remote patient monitoring by wearable technology is becoming increasingly popular.

Many people are traveling, working long hours, and staying at home for extended periods of time. These are some of the reasons why remote patient monitoring by wearable technology is becoming increasingly popular.

Remote monitoring by wearables can benefit clinicians and patients and explore the existing challenges they encountered in the first-generation wearables products. Numerous studies have shown patient adherence statistics indicate nonadherence is the biggest problem that clinicians face in managing chronic illnesses. While this can be attributed to factors such as discomfort, side effects, expense, and inconvenience, it can also be because patients simply lose motivation to maintain their medication schedules. Remote Monitoring by wearable devices is a relatively new field in healthcare. It offers many advantages, like helping improve patient health outcomes, supporting self-management behaviors, delivering care when and where it’s needed, and reducing costs for both patients and health care systems.

Watch here a video of João Bocas talking about the use of remote patient monitoring by wearables and their benefit for patients, clinicians, and healthcare providers:

Remote monitoring by wearables provides both clinical and patient benefits, these new connected solutions for patients can improve patient outcomes, reduce disease management costs do not require capital investment from the healthcare system, and more.

While patients and clinicians can benefit from the benefits of remote patient monitoring, the clinical practices involved with this technology are still being refined.

Remote patient monitoring can be used in a variety of ways. In practice, it is used to:
1) Track patient progress by monitoring vital signs;
2) Detect health anomalies, such as changes in blood pressure or heart rate;
3) Track lifestyle factors like smoking or exercise; and

4) Diagnose illness before it becomes serious enough to require hospital treatment.

This technology is also used in clinical settings. It can be used to monitor a patient’s symptoms during medical procedures (e.g., an MRI), to calculate a patient’s heart rate based on data from multiple sensors (e.g., an electrocardiogram), or to automatically adjust medications based on their effectiveness over time (e.g., when a pill might not be needed for 24 hours). Remote patient monitoring can also help ensure that patients don’t miss out on important information because they are not able to use it while traveling or during work hours, or because they have physical limitations that prevent them from using it while they travel.

The goal of this post is to give you an overview of remote patient monitoring as well as some practical tips related to its use and limitations – both in terms of how it could potentially improve care and how you could employ it yourself – so you can decide what level of access you want and when you want it available for your patients!

The use of Wearables in Remote Patient Monitoring

There is a lot of literature on the topic, and most of it is about how to do remote patient monitoring for clinical. I’m not going to go into too much detail here, but there are three main points about clinical remote monitoring:

1. This is a big topic and each approach has its pros and cons. You need to choose which you are most comfortable with, and then decide what you are comfortable with in terms of setup and configuration.

2. There is a lot of variation between the approaches, so you have to choose one that works for you — and can also be configured as per your requirements (and take care of any customizations).

3. It’s also very important that you understand that when someone else is monitoring your patients’ health data, it may not always be focused on patient care. It may also monitor demographics, symptoms, medications history or other things depending on your needs.

The last point is very important: while this is a huge topic, it’s important not to get wrapped up in all the details. Start by focusing on the risks (healthcare) side of things — then look at how to mitigate those risks — then look at what workflows would be useful for clinical — then start looking at how to implement those workflows… etc… etc…

I’ll leave it up to your creativity/conscience/wisdom/experience/whatever-you-call-it-to figure out if clinical remote monitoring fits where you are in terms of technology maturity (which I don’t know enough about yet), resources available (which I don’t know enough about either), or time available (which I’m not sure about). The bottom line is that these days it’s very hard to pick one remote patient monitoring system among all the others – especially since there are so many different ways people want to monitor health data – so I’d say just pick one that works for you and go from there.

Wearables for patients

This has been a very popular topic, especially in the last few years. Most of us are pretty familiar with the concept of remote monitoring, either through our jobs or through the use of mobile apps.

One reason is that remote monitoring is an inherently self-care solution: so many people meditate, stay away from alcohol or drugs, and exercise regularly to stay healthy. This makes it an especially powerful way to improve health with minimal effort on the part of patients and clinicians.

Doctors have long used remote monitoring to keep track of patients’ vital signs (and their complaints) when they are not physically present in the office. Both doctors and patients can access recorded information via smartphone apps or via web browsers — just as any patient can access their doctor’s records via their own smartphones.

Remote monitoring is also beneficial for clinicians because it allows them to make more informed decisions about what treatments to offer a patient — a form of data-driven decision-making that has tremendous potential for improving both patient care and doctor productivity. For example, doctors may be able to recommend different treatments based on whether a patient’s blood pressure or heart rate is below a certain threshold, even before he or she arrives at the clinic — which could save time spent waiting for results from laboratory tests and other tests that can take hours to complete (or even days). Also, doctors may be able to recommend different treatments based on whether they found specific patterns in blood samples taken from several patients during one visit (only taking into account patterns that were consistent across visits). Clinicians can use this information as part of their own exploratory investigations or when designing treatment plans for new patients.

The above is just one example of how remote monitoring can benefit healthcare providers; there are many others out there too — such as those used by hospitals and clinics who want to monitor patients in real time so they can respond quickly without having to leave the workplace (such as hospital emergency rooms). Remote monitoring has been around since at least 2000 (the first commercial application was developed by Shire Pharmaceuticals in 1998), but its widespread adoption seems only now becoming possible thanks in part to advances made in mobile technology like smartphones

Remote patient monitoring offers significant benefits both for clinicians and patients – particularly if clinicians’ devices allow them to see real-time data about what’s happening inside their bodies – including vital signs such as blood pressure, heart rate and oxygen saturation levels – without having physical contact with them. These data provide physicians with new insights.

Benefits of remote patient monitoring

While the purpose of remote patient monitoring is to help patients manage their health conditions, the benefits for doctors and clinicians are quite extensive. It is useful because it can:

• Monitor a patient’s performance
• Help in early detection of disease
• Help in early management of diseases
• Improve adherence to medication

• Improve compliance with medication regimens

In addition, doctors and clinicians benefit from remote patient monitoring because they can use remote patient monitoring as an additional tool in their clinical practice; heal heartburn, prevent colds and flu, etc. The good news is that doctors now have access to a wide range of diagnostics and more advanced equipment which they can use to remotely monitor patients so that they may be offered early treatment when appropriate. Our company Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) has been providing this service, helping doctors and clinicians improve their quality of life by remotely monitoring patients’ health conditions, diseases and behaviors without the need to travel or consult with a physician.

Challenges of remote patient monitoring by wearables

Remote patient monitoring by wearables is one of the more exciting new trends for medical technology companies.

The idea is this: instead of having an in-person meeting with a physician or nurse, a customer can have a remote doctor talk to them over the phone or via webcam from afar. The doctor can now review documents such as X-rays and weigh results against pre-defined criteria.

Remote patient monitoring has been around for years but has only just become mainstream in recent years due to the rise of telemedicine (the ability to instantly connect health care professionals via a Web browser) and electronic health records (the ability to make hospital records private). These are just two of the many ways in which remote patient monitoring has its roots in digital health.

While it’s true that there is no shortage of digital technologies available — including cameras and telepresence — there are also plenty of challenges that need to be addressed before telemedicine can truly be considered “remote patient monitoring”.

One such challenge is making sure that remote patients have access to their own data, which will be essential for both diagnostic uses as well as safety reasons. Another challenge is ensuring that remote patients are not being given harmful drugs by doctors who don’t know them well enough, or who are simply unable to match their drug profile against their symptoms when they call back (or even during the call). A final challenge involves privacy because anyone recording and sharing your data can take it down at any time.

The definition of remote patient monitoring

The definition of remote patient monitoring is a system that takes patient data and transmits it to another location. This data can be stored on the cloud (i.e. Google Drive, Amazon S3, etc.) or locally on the device. The main feature of this is the presence of interoperability between the remote and local systems. For example, if a clinician gives access to his/her data to a remote patient monitoring system, the second system could then “talk” to the first one and exchange information with it.

There are three main categories of remote patient monitoring systems:

• Desktop-based patient monitoring (DMP): this works on desktop computers or laptops after connecting to a Wi-Fi network.  The main advantage of DMP systems is their convenience—almost no software is needed (just install the software and plugin your monitor).  Some DMP systems also include a camera for better security measures (e.g., diabetic meter).

• Mobile-based patient monitoring (MMB): this is mainly used in emergencies where you don’t have access to computer/laptop/laptop computer at home or office but have to take your phone with you when you are travelling, on vacation, etc., so that you can monitor your patients remotely while providing care by using your phone’s camera and GPS-location capabilities.

• Remotely piloted systems: they provide remote access to clinical settings via Wi-Fi network without having any need for a laptop/computer at home or office. Though not as convenient as PC based systems, they offer a higher quality of life for patients because they are connected at any time anywhere via a mobile phone’s internet connection instead of a computer’s internet connection.

There are also some other types that may be very useful in certain scenarios such as sports physio clinics or medical practices where there is no uniformity across locations like hospitals or clinics.

Would you like to know more about the benefits of remote patient monitoring? CliniTouch Vie is a digital health platform that enables remote management of chronic care patients and supports physicians in coordinating their patients’ care.

Contact us for more relevant details. To find out more about how we can help you with your Digital Healthcare Transformation, Healthcare organizational growth, or Healthcare brand positioning, please get in touch via phone +44 (0) 203 3620421 or via e-mail: info@digitalsalutem.com

 

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