The pandemic fast-tracked healthcare’s adoption of remote patient monitoring. Some believe it is here to stay. Here are some critical success factors that pioneering healthcare organizations need to consider when implementing RPM.
Where are we now?
Remote patient monitoring (RPM) is looking to move into the mainstream of healthcare as organizations look to build on the advances in digital health seen during the pandemic.
Several studies have set out the benefits. One Dutch study evaluated the use of an eHealth platform and a self-management outpatient clinic in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). This found that real-world implementation of remote monitoring can reduce the number of hospital visits, while maintaining disease control. Another study (conducted before Covid) showed that RPM can reduce acute care use for cardio and COPD patients.
The benefits have long been known. In 2007 a study in Ontario showed the potential positive impact of such an approach on controlling blood pressure. Another study showed that heart failure patients would benefit from RPM following discharge.
Positive examples abound. At the height of the pandemic, an asthmatic patient was selected for remote monitoring. Her clinical team were alerted to worsening oxygen saturation levels and brought her in for care. As a result, her condition didn’t worsen, and a critical care intervention was avoided.
Now public acceptance is stronger than ever. Infoway research into projects across Canada showed that 91% of people feel better able to manage their condition as a result of RPM. Elsewhere, 49% of people believe that being able to track symptoms or use monitoring devices to assess health concerns has been important and helpful during the pandemic.
We know where we want to go, so how do we get there?
Three factors can help move RPM into the mainstream of healthcare. These are recognising the value of the innovation, addressing the challenges, and working together around the needs of the patient.
Recognise the value: First, healthcare providers need to recognise the value of RPM. Before Covid, the clinical evidence base for RPM was in its infancy. It still is. However the pandemic has provided a wealth of opportunity for active implementation and study. Staff at Hertfordshire Partnership Trust are sharing data between systems at home and hospital using Enovacom technology. This provides the platform to identify the real-world benefits that can come through RPM.
Address the challenges: Second, address the challenges that come with RPM. Take data integration, for example. RPM can unlock a stream of novel data that has the potential to dramatically increase insight into patient health. However the absence of interoperability between electronic health records and the various devices that often vary within and between primary and secondary or tertiary care settings can be a major barrier.
Work together: Third, to overcome these challenges, health and care providers need to collaborate, internally and externally. A multidisciplinary care team needs to come together to refine care workflows across organizations. Technical teams must work together to build the digital framework that will identify the supporting data access, storage and interoperability needs. Partners can help unlock the data that is held in the multiplicity of systems and devices. Such collaboration can empower care teams to integrate data into redefined, patient-centric workflows that can transform clinical outcomes.
Interoperability is crucial to realizing the benefits of RPM
Organizations across the globe are seeing how interoperability helps healthcare staff monitor patients’ conditions. Good interoperability gives medical teams the time and capacity to focus on what their jobs are all about – taking care of patients. It also means that patient data can be shared securely and reliably by all those authorized to use this precious resource to provide care.
Interoperability is not just a technical term. It is the foundation for a multidisciplinary, collaborative approach to health and care that can provide immense clinical benefit to patients and staff. Making the most of RPM means working with people, processes and technology to provide the real-world evidence that will show the impact of RPM on every individual’s health and wellbeing.
RPM is moving at speed across the healthcare world. It could be a lasting legacy of a troubled time, providing the much-needed resilience for healthcare services facing massively growing demand.
Contact Enovacom and we can share how we are working with world’s leading healthcare providers to solve RPM challenges. Let us help you fulfil the long-held aspiration of providing care closer to home.