The COVID-19 pandemic has set a new tone for how healthcare is delivered and received on both the patient and doctor’s end. Policies surrounding telemedicine, how it is billed, and insurance reimbursement have constantly been changing, as the healthcare industry is booming with new innovations and care delivery systems. One such innovation that is on a clear trajectory to being the new norm is utilizing remote patient monitoring (RPM) with telemedicine.
What is RPM?
By definition, RPM means to,
Utilize digital technology, often through wearable devices, to capture a patient’s health data, which can be viewed by a provider in a separate location.
Data points captured using RPM
Some examples of this data are temperature, blood pressure, oxygen levels, weight, and tremor frequencies. Using advancements such as artificial intelligence within platforms, providers can get alerts if a patient’s vitals go out of a suitable range, and the patient will then need to be directed for further care.
RPM in Cardiology & Neurology
Let’s take a look specifically at the cardiology and neurology specialties. Recent innovations in this specialty have led to successful integrations with patients’ wearable cardiac/brain devices and telemedicine platforms. COVID-19 has been linked to many cardiac issues in patients, such as heart injury, arrhythmia, blood clots, and strokes. It is very serious because these symptoms have lingered beyond the infection period for millions of patients, making health progress very unpredictable.
When it comes to neurology, patients are receiving these wearable devices, being educated on how to use them, and then providers are monitoring this data. When a concern arises, a tele-neurology exam is requested by the doctor, and further tests can be administered over this exam. It will be of utmost importance for physicians in specialties like these to be able to use non-invasive monitoring devices that will provide full data to maintain a balance of effective monitoring while not disrupting patients’ lives too much. As the pandemic progresses, physicians and software developers are learning how to better integrate RPM and telemedicine, so that patients can receive the best treatment possible.
How did COVID-19 trigger the race for Telemedicine & RPM?
RPM was starting to be an upcoming technology before the pandemic, but now is being seen as essential as the lockdown continues.
Within a month of the pandemic starting off, health systems and clinics were essentially forced to fundamentally switch over to having telemedicine in place. After a few months of adjusting to the new norm, it has become evident that RPM and telemedicine, when blended into patient’s care, are proven to lead to a positive patient experience, and better long-term health outcomes.