In my earlier blog on Impact of Covid-19 on healthcare industry, I mentioned one of the key trends in healthcare is the increasing use of wearables and IoMT devices. The rapid rise of digitization and consumer involvement in almost all industries has led to huge shifts in the mindset of people to use technology in healthcare to reduce cost and increase access to care with less effort.
There has been a surge in use of fitness bands and associated mobile apps for weight management. Most folks use wearables for counting footsteps, activity tracking, sleep monitoring and fitness management. However, these are preliminary use cases. The use of wearables and Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) devices has huge potential in changing the way you take care of your lifestyle, health and well-being. Some of the most common yet powerful use cases are self-care at home, chronic condition management and remote patient monitoring.
In this blog, we will take a deep dive into the topic of Remote Patient Monitoring and understand three common use cases, common diseases where RPM technologies are helpful. We also take a look at a brief listing of some of the most common wearables and IoMT devices.
Note: This article uses the term “provider” or “healthcare provider” which includes an individual health professional (doctor, nurse practitioner) or a health facility organization (hospital, clinic) licensed to provide health care diagnosis and treatment services.
Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM)
Remote patient monitoring is a form of delivering healthcare services by gathering patient information outside of a traditional healthcare setting through the use of technology.
Healthcare providers can monitor a patient from afar by leveraging connected devices and RPM technology. This reduces the number of visits a patient is required to make to the hospital and it reduces the burden on healthcare providers of tending to more in-person visits. Overall, RPM is a highly effective tool in reducing overall healthcare costs and improving access to quality care.
Use cases of RPM techniques:
Reduce the spread of virus and infections: In the Covid-19 pandemic, RPM has become more important than ever as providers can monitor and treat patients without coming into direct contact, thereby reducing provider-patient contact as well as patient contacting several other patients during an in-patient visit. This holds good not only for Covid-19, but also for other viral diseases such as the common flu.
Chronic condition management: Some chronic conditions need a patient to get regular check-ups — monthly or sometimes even weekly; some conditions need a continuous monitoring system to track a patient’s body statistics. Rather than asking the patient to visit the hospital or clinic for every check-up or diagnosis, RPM leverages connected health devices and IoT to gather the necessary patient data and send it securely to a database managed by the provider.
Reduced 30-day hospitalization rates & frequency of home RN visits: Over a 30-day period following the initial hospital stay, hospitalizations related to heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and diabetes are typically high as the patient is still recovering and is at a risk of having abnormal conditions again. Rehospitalization rates for patients receiving telehealth home care using RPM are significantly lower than those for traditional home care patients. Another related advantage is the reduced frequency of asking a Registered Nurse (RN) to visit the patient’s home for gathering body vital stats information. The RN can monitor the patient remotely 24/7 and make necessary changes to medication and diet using telehealth services.
Common illnesses considered for RPM
- Cardiovascular Diseases — COPD, stroke, Atrial Fibrillation
- Sleep Disorders — obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)
- Weight management and Fitness Monitoring
- Substance abuse
What the wearables and IoMT devices market encapsulates
(1) Wearables: fitness bands, smart watches and Biosensors (self-adhesive patch)
(2) Implant devices: Implantable cardioverter-defibrillator(ICDs) and pacemakers
(3) Medical devices:
- Vital Sign Monitors (Pulse Oximeters, Temperature Monitor, Brain Monitoring (EEG), Blood Pressure Monitors, Heart Rate Monitor (ECG), Respiratory Rate Monitor)
- Special Monitors (Blood Glucose Monitors, Respiratory Monitor, Anesthesia Monitors, Cardiac Rhythm Monitor, Fetal Heart Monitors, Multi-Parameter Monitors (MPM), Prothrombin Monitors)
I hope you found this blog insightful. Please comment below your suggestions on topics you would like to learn more about the healthtech industry.