Understanding the Types of Remote Patient Monitoring Technology

Do you need help selecting the most appropriate technology for your patient’s needs? Look no further. We will explain about the most common types of remote patient monitoring technology and how they can help your patients.

In recent years, remote patient monitoring technology has become more popular, especially with the rise of telemedicine. There are different types of remote patient monitoring technology available, and each has its unique features and benefits. 

Before that, let’s go through the definition of remote patient monitoring technology and its benefits.

 

What is Remote Patient Monitoring Technology?


Remote patient monitoring (RPM) technology is a vital tool in modern healthcare. It allows healthcare providers to provide high-quality patient care, regardless of location.

RPM technology uses a variety of electronic tools to accurately and continuously track a patient’s health and symptoms from a distance.

 

Benefits of Remote Patient Monitoring Technology

  • Improved Patient Outcomes. RPM technology can help detect changes in a patient’s condition early and prevent complications.
  • Cost Savings. This tool can also minimize hospitalizations and emergency room visits, reducing healthcare costs.
  • Increased Patient Engagement. Patients can also take an active role in managing their health conditions.
  • Better Care Coordination. Healthcare providers can also coordinate patient care across multiple providers and care settings.

Improved Provider Efficiency. RPM technology can also reduce in-person visits and save the healthcare provider’s time.

Types of Remote Patient Monitoring Technology

1. Wearable Devices


The most popular RPM technology in recent years because it is simple to use and can be used in many different ways. Here are some examples of wearable devices for remote patient monitoring:

  • Smartwatches. It has sensors to track various health metrics such as heart rate, sleep, and activity levels. 
  • Activity Trackers. These devices, such as Fitbit and Garmin, can track steps taken, calories burned, and sleep patterns.
  • Continuous Glucose Monitors (CGMs). It can measure glucose levels continuously in real time, and you can pair them with smartphones for remote monitoring.
  • Smart Patches. These devices can also monitor vital signs such as heart rate, respiratory rate, and temperature.
  • Wearable ECG Monitors: These monitors, such as AliveCor and ZioPatch, can record a patient’s heart rhythm and detect abnormal heartbeats.

The advantages of wearable devices include the convenience of continuous real-time monitoring. It cuts down on healthcare costs and the need to see a doctor in person or go to the hospital more often. It helps providers regularly check the patient’s condition, even from a distance, and, in turn, can identify potential health issues before they become severe.

On the other hand, its disadvantages involve user reliability. Replacement can be costly, with limited diagnostic capabilities compared to in-person assessments. Patients and healthcare providers have privacy concerns about these devices because it collects sensitive health data.


2. Implantable Devices


Another type of RPM technology is implantable devices, which are surgically implanted under the skin. There are several examples of implantable devices for remote patient monitoring, including:

  • Implantable Cardioverter-Defibrillator (ICD). This implanted device is under the skin of the chest and delivers an electric shock when there is an abnormal heart rhythm. 
  • Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy (CRT) Device. This type of pacemaker is also implanted under the skin of the chest and sends electrical impulses to the heart to help it beat in a more synchronized pattern. 
  • Implantable Loop Recorder (ILR). This small heart-monitoring device is implanted under the skin of the chest to detect irregular heart rhythms that may be infrequent or difficult to diagnose. 
  • Glucose Monitoring System. These implantable systems include devices, such as the Eversense and the Freestyle Libre, to monitor blood glucose levels. 
  • Neurostimulation Devices. These devices, such as spinal cord stimulators and deep brain stimulators, use electrical impulses to relieve chronic pain or treat neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease.

Implantable devices offer several advantages similar to those of wearable devices. However, continuous monitoring distinguishes them and provides a significant advantage for implantable devices. 

Implanted devices, unlike wearables, do not require removal when the battery runs low or when performing activities such as swimming. The battery of implantable devices can last for several years, way longer than wearables.

Because they are placed closer to the source of the vital signs being monitored, they are more accurate than wearables. Also, only authorized healthcare providers can access the data.

But these devices have only one disadvantage—surgery—which comes with its own set of risks and potential complications.


3. Home Monitoring Equipment


This type of remote patient monitoring technology includes a set of sensors or devices connected to a monitoring system. This system can record and then transmit the readings to healthcare providers. It can be a separate device or an app for a smartphone. Some examples of this home monitoring equipment include:

  • Blood Pressure Monitors. It measures blood pressure and comes in manual and automatic models. 
  • Pulse Oximeters. This device identifies oxygen saturation levels in the blood and clips onto a patient’s finger or earlobe. 
  • Glucometers. They measure blood glucose levels in patients with diabetes. 
  • Sleep Apnea Monitors. It tracks breathing patterns and detects episodes of sleep apnea. In this situation, the patient’s breathing stops and starts during sleep. 
  • Remote Monitoring Systems. These systems monitor patients with chronic conditions, such as heart disease, and transmit the results to healthcare providers in real time.
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG) Monitors. This device tracks heart rhythm and detects any abnormalities. 
  • Spirometers. They measure lung function and can be used by patients with respiratory disorders to monitor their breathing health at home.

The benefits of using home monitoring equipment to check on a patient remotely are the same as those of devices that are worn or put in the body. But it can be hard for some patients, especially some older adults or people who don’t know much about technology.

Another disadvantage of home monitoring equipment is that it generates large amounts of data. It can be overwhelming for healthcare providers to manage and interpret. Also, patients get more worried when false alarms go off and they don’t get to talk to their doctors in person.

Despite these drawbacks, hiring remote patient monitoring specialists can help healthcare providers implement the best approach to the remote patient monitoring system based on individual patient needs and preferences.

Applications of Remote Patient Monitoring Technology

Chronic Disease Management


Patients with long-term illnesses like heart disease, diabetes, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease get the right care and monitoring thanks to
remote patient monitoring technologies.


Post-Operative Care


With this technology, people who have had surgery can also recover in the comfort of their own homes. This means they can spend less time in the hospital.


Mental Health Monitoring


Anxious and depressed patients can use mobile apps or wearable devices to track their moods and behaviors.


Elderly Care


Meanwhile, the medical needs of older people are more complicated, and healthcare providers often need to check on them to keep track of their vital signs and symptoms.

 

Pregnancy Monitoring


Telemedicine platforms allow pregnant women to talk to their doctors and get real-time health assessments for remote consultations.

Future of Remote Patient Monitoring Technology

Improved Data Collection


Advancements in technology for remote patient monitoring have several benefits. One of the most significant benefits is the ability to collect and analyze more complete and accurate patient data.

Traditionally, patient data is collected during in-person visits with healthcare providers. But with RPM technologies, it is now possible to keep an eye on the patient’s health even when they are not in a hospital.

Improvements in wireless connectivity and real-time data transfer can also help healthcare providers get access to real data and make better decisions about how to care for patients. 


Improved Data Analysis


In addition to improved data collection, technological advancements have enhanced data analysis. For instance, predictive analytics can help find patients who are likely to get a certain health problem or have a medical event.

Using natural language processing (NLP) is another example to look at unstructured data like clinical notes and patient stories. 

Also, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning algorithms can help find patterns and trends in patient data. Healthcare providers find it difficult to identify, for instance, the patient’s heart rate pattern that may indicate the onset of heart disease.

 

Final Thoughts 


Each type of remote patient monitoring technology has its advantages and disadvantages. In detail, wearable devices offer convenience and continuous monitoring. But it may be limited in the range of health metrics they can monitor.

Then, devices that are implanted offer more accurate and thorough monitoring, but they are more invasive and require surgery. 

Meanwhile, home monitoring equipment can empower patients to control their health. It needs training and support to be used effectively. 

Your choice of RPM technology still depends on the patient’s specific needs and medical conditions. If you want to implement them for your healthcare practice, Phoenix Virtual Solutions can provide the support and expertise you need.

Our team of virtual medical assistants has 75 years of combined experience in remote patient monitoring. So contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help you design and implement a customized solution using remote patient monitoring technologies.

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