Opinion

Remote patient monitoring and telehealth: How technology paves way for efficient healthcare delivery

Mudit Dandwate | Updated on May 05, 2021

Technological breakthroughs have set milestone benchmarks across all sectors, and healthcare is certainly not an exception. It has seen a significant transformation over the last few decades, and the credit goes to cutting edge technovations like Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) and Telehealth. Walking hand in hand, RPM and telehealth have waived off the limitations of healthcare and brought out the best healthcare delivery for all times, especially in times of crisis like a pandemic. Various studies have indicated the extraordinary role played by RPM and telehealth in the management of the ongoing Coronavirus outbreak. Not just that, RPM and telehealth have proved to be examples of easy access to affordable healthcare yielding optimal clinical output and quality care.

Defining RPM and telehealth

Remote patient monitoring is a technology to enable monitoring of patients outside of conventional clinical settings, such as in the home or in a remote area, which may increase access to care. It is known to use technology that fills the gap between the conventional clinical settings like hospitals and the places where people generally thrive, like homes, schools, and more.

Telehealth is an umbrella term for the methodology used and the technologies adopted to enable Remote Patient Monitoring by facilitating the exchange of information and interaction between the doctors in clinics and hospitals and the patients at home. The interaction could be arranged via a cell phone or a videoconference or an IVR system, making treatment more mobile and flexible.

When combined, RPM and telehealth can be of immense benefits for healthcare thereby transforming the whole of it. Here’s how they offer a plethora of benefits.

Make health-related record-keeping easy: Keeping track of health vitals manually and then making appointments with doctors to turn it in is time-consuming and not enough to keep up with accuracy and precision. However, Remote Patient Monitoring devices come with the technology to track and closely monitor the health vitals 24/7 and establish a database for the doctors to analyse and predict an impending crisis.

Provide easy access to appointments: For seeking an appointment with the doctor for consultation and follow-ups, a patient may not have to bear the brunt of navigating from home to the clinic or the hospital. Telemedicine reduces the possibility of frequent trips of patients to the hospital and facilitates consultations with specialists right from the comfort of their homes. All they need to do is book a quick appointment online and interact with their doctors over the telephone or a video conference.

Aid in uninterrupted health monitoring: By continuously providing health vitals data of patients remotely, RPM helps doctors track a patient’s health and closely monitor any deterioration. RPM devices also come with an inbuilt alert system that warns the doctor of any change in the patient’s vitals. . The doctors then can use telehealth technology to alert the patients about their next course of action without having to waste time.

Increase access to healthcare: With RPM and telemedicine, accessibility to healthcare has gone through a major change by bringing healthcare delivery right at the doorstep of one's home. It has resulted in easy and affordable access to healthcare, has improved the quality of healthcare delivery and, in turn, the well-being of patients and their caregivers and relieved the doctors and healthcare providers of tremendous work pressure.

How RPM and telehealth strengthened healthcare delivery during a pandemic

The management of the Covid-19 pandemic has seen what telehealth and RPM can do to tackle a health crisis across the world and in India. Together, they have significantly reduced the risks of in-person contact, curbing the need for admissions and emergency room visits, managing staff shortages, and providing people with an alternative to the traditional forms of medical consultations when ill or at risk.

While RPM and telemedicine have shown their power during the pandemic, it is evident that using these technologies in tandem can go a long way in bettering clinical outcomes and changing Indian healthcare delivery forever.

The author is the CEO & cofounder, Dozee.

Published on May 05, 2021

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