Remote Patient Monitoring: Benefits and Future

The pandemic has proved to be a catalyst in re-imagining care at home for improving the quality of health delivery and patient outcome while creating value for caregivers, physicians, tech companies, and investors at large. The final benefit of remote patient monitoring (RPM) services shall depend on the advancement of digital technology and stakeholders’ ability to weave it into effective healthcare delivery machinery.

What are the Benefits of Remote Patient Monitoring?

The successful deployment of RPM during the pandemic underlined its efficacy in taking healthcare a notch up in terms of patient-centric delivery.

Better Patient Outcome

In normal times RPM helps the health system to meet quality metrics and prevent unnecessary clinic visits and hospital admissions and re-admissions while ensuring better patient outcomes. It has also led to better monitoring of the health condition of chronic patients. Constant monitoring helps maintain a record of their health data which could have otherwise been lost due to skipped visits.

Lower Medical Cost

Under constant monitoring, the patient gets to benefit from lower medical costs resulting from the reduction in preventable adverse health conditions and lower costs of care at home, besides saving on trips to the hospital and waiting periods to see the physician. Much value could also flow from accurate risk coding because of the data availability.

Healthy Medicare System

It also frees up physicians’ time from routine check-ups and does not overburden the health systems. The revenue loss is generally offset by better patient engagement that lasts for a good duration. Due to improved workflow efficiencies, lower administrative costs, and enhanced staff productivity, the net patient revenue can improve when the hospital adopts RPM.

Data-Driven Decision Making

The physicians have access to real-time data of patients’ vital parameters such as blood pressure and sugar which helps them make an informed decision, something which is not possible during a one-off visit by the patient.  The practitioners are better placed to change the care plan of the patients if needed. Once the AI is built into the system, the critical condition can be predicted much in advance.

Improves Access to Care

One of the most beneficial aspects of RMP is that it has made quality medical care accessible to people living in far-flung rural areas. It connects patients to specialists who otherwise would not be able to reach out to them. There are quite a few third-party remote patient monitoring services that are successfully supporting hospitals in the matter.

The Future of Remote Patient Monitoring

Even though the pandemic has receded, the demand for virtual care is expected to stay and grow. McKinsey and Co say that a good part of the current spending on healthcare at $250 billion can be virtualized to provide quality healthcare to the masses.  Remote monitoring and AI can reduce the chances of errors in diagnosis and treatment, besides solving the communication challenges between the doctor and the patient. There are however few factors at play that shall decide the pace of growth for RPM deployment.

There is still no clarity on reimbursement opportunities and a lack of incentive for providers offering such services. The use cases and benefits are right there in front of us. But for RPM to live up to its potential, the industry needs reimbursement reform. A clear policy on the matter shall also buoy the third-party healthcare BPO services to further streamline and expand their services.

The Conclusion

In the coming years, RPM should see elevated popularity due to innovation in technological devices and monitoring processes, and patients’ willingness to record and share information.  There is expected to be further growth in wearable technologies bringing them closer to medical accuracy. This would lead to the wider acceptance of RPM as a patient-centric solution for improved healthcare services.