Remote Patient Monitoring - An Insightful Overview

Oct 22, 2021
7 min read

Be it a hands-on healthcare provider or an IT whiz, Remote Patient Monitoring devices (RPM) are there to ease the jobs. It can entitle the patients to be more informed and engaged about their well-being and treatment procedures. A statistical survey reveals that around 88% of medical practitioners have adopted the RPM technology and evaluating the advantages. It is like how we keep in touch with our friends and family miles away, with smartphones and other devices. Yes, the RPM technologies aids in exchanging medical data between the healthcare provider and patient. This article guides you through an overview of what these devices are and how beneficial they are.

Remote Patient Monitoring Devices

A remote patient monitoring system is often referred to as RPM (also as remote patient management). It is a way of collecting patient data beyond the traditional healthcare environment using information technology.

It is about liberating healthcare from established settings and bringing it to the place where people live.  The goal is to bridge the gap and provide more authentic and holistic care to the patients with constant connectivity.

While saying that, let not the emphasis on technology deceive you. Modern management tools are not the alienating, cold, wire-laden medical devices of the old but are simple, intuitive personal tech devices.

Similar to the smartphones and tablets so popular today with people of all ages, including seniors.  RPM employs technology to let patients feel at ease with managing their health.

Remote patient monitoring can be more efficient and effective by increasing engagement; this increases the quality of care while reducing costs. With quality RPM models, not only are patients more engaged with their health, but clinicians are armoured to recognize and handle it early. Patients can receive a more constant and better overall view of their well-being.

RPM allows clinicians to see what is happening, to their patients, on the front line of their health daily as it occurs.

How Does It Work?

A remote health monitoring system requires a variety of technologies for data collection, storage, and accessibility, as well as medical data interpretation and visualization.  An accurate diagnosis of a patient's medical status shows an analysis of medical documents that contain various physiological features over a long period. Although data mining and visualization were in use, they have become increasingly popular for remote monitoring devices in recent years.

The emergence of digital remote health monitoring systems offers a challenge to traditional healthcare practices. Incorporating the IoT model into RPM can improve intelligence, agility, and interoperability even further.

Through the internet, a device using the IoT system is individually recognized and detectable from any location. Remote health monitoring systems based on IoT devices can share the data along with performing traditional sensing functions. It can also share data. It can instantly link to and exchange data with medical institutions over the Online, and so on.

Hence, significantly reducing the time it takes to set up and administer the system. Such solutions can provide functions like an automatic alarm to the closest medical providers in the occurrence of a critical accident for a monitored patient.

The System Architecture of RPM

Data Acquisition

Multiple wearable sensors that assess physiological indicators such as ECG, body temperature, respiration rate, EMG muscle movement, and gait can collect data (posture). The sensors communicate with the internet via an intermediate data aggregator or collector, which is usually a mobile device in the patient's immediate vicinity.

Data Transmission

The program's Data Transmission elements are in charge of transporting patient records securely and privately from the patient's home (any remote location) to the data warehouse of the Healthcare Organization (HCO), typically in near real-time. A short-range radio, like Bluetooth, is usually included with the sensory acquisition system.

Cloudlet

The cloudlet can be a local processor (such as a desktop computer) that the concentrator can contact directly over the Wireless connection. The cloudlet can help for performing time-critical actions on the patient's data sets. In addition, it offers a nonvolatile memory before the data connection to the cloud. Furthermore, in the event of constraints on the smartphone, such as sudden loss of network or power, the cloudlet can send the consolidated information to the cloud.

Cloud Processing

In this phase, the data processing takes place under three different elements.

  • Storage - The patient’s health records are stored to serve a long-term purpose.
  • Analytics - Analytics to churn the e-health records in real-time to bring out the diagnosis relevancy for various diseases.
  • Visualization  - Equips the medical providers with digestible and accessible data to use.

The Importance of Remote Patient Monitoring

Interaction between the patient and the healthcare professional is crucial in the treatment and recovery process. Remote patient monitoring equipment develops trust and openness to both patients and providers. They give users a better understanding of diagnoses and conditions, allowing them to take more responsibility for their treatment regimens. When both the patient and the physician have more awareness, better results become more prevalent.

  • RPM can lower readmissions in ERs, healthcare facilities, and hospitals.
  • The reduced stress level for patients and accompanies.
  • Connected and careful well-being at any point.
  • Giving focussed care to the admitted patients as rest assured with patients at home via RPM.

Throughout the pandemic, there was a critical need for more beds. The ability to monitor patients avoiding close contact is more imperative than before. Communication and sharing of information have undoubtedly enhanced the quality of the healthcare system. RPM also added value to the life of patients. Monitoring technologies and AI are excellent companions for the entire healthcare ecosystem.

Various Types of RPM Devices

Diabetes, Heart disease, and Alzheimer's are among the top ten diseases in the world. But remote patient monitoring devices can help to follow the evolution of these disorders. Therefore, making it easier for the healthcare staff to manage the treatment protocols.

The following are the most innovative ideas that saved a trip to the Emergency Room for many patients.

Blood Pressure Monitor

This simple inflatable cuff fills the air, squeezes the arm, and then calculates the patient's blood pressure flow and heart rate by sensing variations in artery motion as the air deflates. Few blood pressure devices gather numerous readings to calculate daily averages. Home-based monitoring devices can aid in the early detection of illnesses that contribute to hypertension, like chronic diabetes or renal dysfunction. It can also make the provision of healthcare less burdensome.

Glucose Monitor

Frequent blood sugar supervision is essential for efficient diabetes management. A simple home glucose monitor device can

  • Monitor the side effects of medication.
  • Notes how diet and activity are affecting blood glucose levels.
  • Show how stress or disease can impact blood sugar levels.
  • Keep track of your progress towards treatment objectives.
  • When the time for a follow-up appointment, alerts both the patient and the provider.

Anticoagulation testing device

Many patients are at risk of developing thromboembolism when suffering from prosthetic valves, atrial fibrillation, and DVT. There is a negligible therapeutic window with Anticoagulants. And may cause disruptions in readings when interacting with Vitamin-K-rich foods and other related drugs. Bleeding implies in higher doses. So, these patients need constant blood work. Anticoagulation monitoring devices need one minute to derive results with one drop of blood. Thereby saving all the hassle a patient goes through.

Electrocardiography devices

You can get them in wearable, handheld, or patch form. Endangering conditions, such as ST depression, myocardial ischemia, or arrhythmia, are detected by the ECG devices. ECG gadgets record electrical impulses regularly, and inappropriate readings can alert clinicians. Therefore, taking necessary actions to save a life in time.

Heart rate monitors

By using the wearables, you can gauge patients' heart rates. The device helps patients, whether it is time to exercise more vigorously - or take their medications more often. The devices detect both symptomatic as well as asymptomatic arrhythmias. Identifies cardiac ablation implying atrial fibrillation while they are running errands, exercising, or experiencing stressful situations. Heart rate monitors assist in the diagnosis and treatment of syncope and presyncope.

Maternity care monitors

It shows that low-risk pregnant women prefer to keep their doctor visits to a minimum. Patients can achieve a greater level of control over their pregnancies through remote monitoring. Also, pregnant women can learn to use all the gadgets like doppler monitors, blood-pressure cuffs, etc., through virtual training programs. Healthcare providers can provide relevant journals on pregnancy and suggest to prenatal communities online. Maternity monitoring devices can report any abnormalities and alert clinicians for a timely act.

Pulse oximeter

Light wavelengths are measured with non-invasive clips by putting them on the fingers or earlobes. Oxygen-saturated hemoglobin is measured in the blood by light. Pulse oximeters also record the pulse. People with chronic heart or lung problems have been using these devices for decades, and so have people supplementing their oxygen supply. They are significant in detecting deteriorating lung function (currently may prompt a COVID-19 test). They are also used to monitor fitness in athletes.

Currently used technologies for remote health monitoring and the direction they may take in the future promise miracles. Wearable sensors, especially those embedded with IoT intelligence, provide attractive options for monitoring and recording data at home and work. Therefore, saving a lot of time and effort for the patients. When examined and presented to clinicians in easy-to-understand visuals, this vast collection of data has the power to boost healthcare while also lowering costs. Overcoming issues to detect, process, and visualize before integrating systems into clinical practice can help a long way.

Finally, managing a growing number of patients with innumerable diseases could be overwhelming to the frontline saviours. With the help of Remote Patient Monitoring Devices, they might get some window to breathe. Especially in these testing times of covid-19, monitoring non-covid patients with RPM devices is a blessing. It saved a lot of effort and time for both patients and providers. Each of these devices can best serve the purpose. But it is suggested to take doctors / medical practitioners' advice before using them. Also, taking virtual training on using them effectively will help in the process of treatment and medication. RPM devices enable patients to receive frequent information, support, and help whenever needed from the medical provider. How beautiful is it to have controlled and connected healthcare?