The Pros and Cons of Remote Patient Monitoring: Your Guide 

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As a concept, telehealth has already risen in popularity over the last decade. As tech companies continue to innovate and offer new ways to improve our lives and make them more convenient, these advancements tend to get adopted quickly into other fields. Healthcare has historically been chief among them. 

Then came the events of 2020 and the telehealth revolution worldwide had officially begun. Flash forward today, and approximately 54% of all Americans have had at least one telehealth visit. Better yet, about 89% of those people would rate their most recent visit as a satisfying one. 

  • A few years ago, concepts like this went from “fun new fad to experiment with” to “absolute necessity for the medical community” practically overnight. 
  • But just because something is no longer an “absolute necessity” in the technical sense doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t stay around. 
  • The tech advancements that led to the telehealth uprising are at the top of that list, especially when you consider the increased convenience, quality of patient care, and reduced costs it brought with it. 

That’s also one of the many reasons why things like remote patient care are continuing to pick up steam. In many ways, telehealth walked so that remote patient care could run. The benefits of RPM  devices are well documented, but as is true with most things, there are two sides to every story. Only by carefully considering the pros and cons of this new approach to patient care will you be able to determine if it is appropriate to embrace on your own terms. 

What is  Remote Patient Monitoring?

Patient remote monitoring is a type of care that relies heavily on various types of technology to monitor patients even when they’re not in a clinical setting. RPM devices gather and transmit data that is then sent automatically from a patient to their physician, allowing the medical professional to stay up-to-date and make decisions from afar. 

A simple example of this is a wearable device like an Apple Watch. 

  • If you’re wearing such a device and your blood pressure runs high, you’ll get an alert. 
  • Now, imagine that the same alert went to your primary care provider so that they could check in or use that insight to further improve your long-term healthcare plan. 

RPM devices are much like that, only on a much larger and more sophisticated scale. 

The Benefits of EHR Integration for  Remote Patient Monitoring

When you choose EHR software like PrognoCIS that natively supports remote patient monitoring and related technologies, you unlock a number of clear benefits, all at the exact same time. 

For starters, a software like PrognoCIS was always designed to be a “single source of truth” for your practice. You don’t need to use one tool for e-prescriptions, another for patient scheduling, another for clinical notes, etc. 

Everything is consolidated in one easy-to-use view, allowing insight to rise to the top. 

This means that all the data being generated by those RPM devices and other patient remote monitoring tools is readily available. You don’t have to go looking for it. It’s a part of the DNA of your practice – not something to be seen as an afterthought. 

What is a  Remote Patient Monitoring  System?

As the term implies, a remote patient monitoring system (sometimes called an RPMS for short) is a tool used to manage all those RPM devices that are collecting, transmitting, and sharing data between a patient and their provider. 

To draw a comparison to smart home technology, think of it a bit like the “Home” app on your phone. 

  • The “Home” app is a hub that lets you see all smart devices you own – from cameras to door locks to automated windows, HVAC systems, and more, all in one place. 
  • A remote patient monitoring system is a lot like that, only in a healthcare environment. 

Note that these systems also give patients more visibility and control over what data is being transmitted and who can access it. The University of Pittsburgh gave patients tablets that had access to remote patient monitoring systems and when they turned RPM into an active experience instead of a passive one, patient satisfaction scores rose to over 90%. 

Remote Patient Monitoring  Stats You Need to Know

According to another study, about 23 million people were using remote patient monitoring tools as of 2020. 

Thanks in so small part to the rise of telehealth software and the COVID-19 pandemic, that number is anticipated to grow to 30 million by as soon as the end of 2024. 

Not only that, but even among those who have yet to adopt RPM devices, most are in favor of the concept. One survey indicated that approximately 80% of people who live in the United States say they are “in favor” of patient remote monitoring. 

The Pros of  Remote Patient Monitoring

Pros of Remote Patient Monitoring

1. Care Providers Get Health Data in Real-Time

If a primary care provider is monitoring a patient for blood pressure-related concerns and conditions change, they’ll know about it immediately. RPM devices give providers a seemingly endless volume of real-time data to use to make better and more informed decisions as quickly as possible. 

2. Convenience and Improved Quality of Life for Patients

The more you understand about a patient’s quality of life, the more you can meaningfully improve it. The data being generated by these devices is invaluable in terms of managing pain or even chronic illness. 

According to one recent study, 93% of physicians said that they would gladly take full advantage of telehealth software - including RPM devices - for these types of patients.

3. Healthcare Becomes More Accessible

If patients don’t need to physically travel to their doctor’s office for things like check-ups or routine testing, suddenly proactive healthcare becomes far easier and more effective. 

Remote patient monitoring makes care infinitely more accessible to people with mobility issues or disabilities, for example, because they don’t have to wait to travel to their doctor for progress to be made towards their treatment. It happens on a constant and ongoing basis. 

4. Remote Patient Monitoring is Cost-Effective 

According to another recent study, about 38% of providers utilizing RPM devices and other patient remote monitoring tools reported not only a cost reduction, but a reduction of admissions as well. It also reduced the risk of hospital re

The Cons of  Remote Patient Monitoring

1. Accessibility (or Connectivity) Obstacles with Patients

So what is one disadvantage of remote patient monitoring? In a word, “connectivity.” 

By their nature, RPM devices require reliable Internet connections to work. Remote patient monitoring is less effective if that data is only being created, not created and consistently shared with a provider. 

This is less of an issue with cellular RPM devices, but one that operates exclusively using Wi-Fi could pose a challenge to people with poor or even no access to the Internet. 

2. RPM Requires New Practice Software

Unfortunately, embracing RPM devices at the practice level for all patients isn’t quite as simple as using an aforementioned Apple Watch. 

Once the data from these patient remote monitoring tools is created, it needs to be collected, routed, stored, and made easily retrievable so that providers can use it on a daily basis. 

This will likely require healthcare organizations to adopt entirely new software systems to support remote patient monitoring. Thankfully, EHR software like PrognoCIS includes this functionality already, allowing you to use remote patient monitoring to improve the patient experience as quickly as possible. 

3. Data Reliability Can Be Affected by Improper Use

RPM devices are incredibly sophisticated and are powered by state-of-the-art technology. But at the end of the day, they’re still just tools. It’s entirely possible to use a tool incorrectly and not get the results that you’re after. 

Patients need to be educated on not only what these RPM devices can do, but how to use them properly. Without that, you might be collecting poor quality data that could lead to incorrect results. 

4. Reducing Readmission Rates

As mentioned, RPM devices go a long way towards reducing hospital readmission rates among chronic care patients in particular. But they are not a silver bullet, specifically for some of the disadvantages outlined above. 

If patients aren’t using the devices properly and doctors aren’t making decisions based on correct information, it could lead to a delay in readmission where one is desperately needed. 

To get additional insight into the pros and potential cons that come with this type of remote patient care, or to learn about the benefits that a solution like PrognoCIS can bring with it on your quest to empower your own practice, please don’t hesitate to contact us today. 

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