Remote monitoring systems
Remote monitoring systems permit electronic monitoring of patients within their homes.
Patient vitals, e.g., BP, weight, glucose levels, can be collected using remote monitoring systems and fed to clinical practices via direct link to physician practice systems through IT solutions such as wireless technology. These electronic tools can play a critical role in assisting patients to remain in their homes and permit providers to monitor their patients in between office visits. For patients for whom making office visits is difficult, this solution enables the physician to stay connected and continue monitoring their patients remotely. This in combination with periodic home visits by provider, care manager, or home visit nurse can be effective to monitor patients within their homes. More effective and timely management of patients with chronic conditions, multiple co-morbid conditions in the elderly, will be a powerful driver in reducing re-hospitalization rates in the elderly. For the patient, this has the advantage of reducing transportation costs, requiring assistance from caregiver to transport them ( if needed), and in those significantly disabled, relieve the physical strain getting to the doctor's office. Remote monitoring systems are part of a powerful health IT tools that can be deployed to support chronic disease management. In a systematic review conducted by N.Parthiban et al Remote Monitoring (RM) of implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICD) was compared with with In-office (IO) follow-up, to verify if Remote monitoring can be used as an alternative strategy to reduce the need for routine device follow-up visits. Remote monitoring showed potential advantages for reduction in hospitalisations, due to early identification of problems by continous surveillance and thereby minimizing adverse outcomes including shocks.
Cost and usability will be key factors in broad distribution and adoption of remote monitoring systems. In an already resource-strained health care system, the cost of deploying and maintaining a remote monitoring system will be an issue. It will be important to assess the return on investment for deploying and maintaining such systems. In terms of usability, these tools will need to be user friendly and easy to maintain. If the process for a patient to do a home BP check and get that information reported to the provider's office becomes overly cumbersome, then tool adoption and use will be minimal. Hence, a system supported by wireless technology to automatically feed the information to the doctor's EMR system will help patient use of such tools.
Submitted by (Min Kim)