Opinion

The many merits of remote patient monitoring

Mudit Dandwate | Updated on November 10, 2020

Managing chronic health conditions across age groups has become more convenient and effective now

Glenn Schweitzer, an entrepreneur and a passionate philanthropist has rightly said: “Behind every chronic illness is just a person trying to find their way in the world.” Needless to say, exploring this way is not easy but not impossible either, thanks to one’s determination and the absolutely stunning breakthrough that healthcare has witnessed in the 21st century — remote patient monitoring (RPM).

With India pulling a whopping burden of chronic diseases that happen to be the top killer in the country, accounting for as much as over 53 per cent of the annual deaths, managing chronic conditions has become a mammoth task. Why? Because taking care of patients with chronic illnesses requires adequate healthcare providers and caregivers to constantly monitor their conditions. A bit of carelessness could be catastrophic. Conditions like hypertension, diabetes, cancer and arthritis are associated with long-term impairment and would require a generous slab of the healthcare workforce and involve significant healthcare costs.

Non-communicable diseases (NCDs), which happen to be the main trigger of chronic diseases, kill about 5.87 million people in India and contribute to around 38 million of all the deaths globally. Cardiovascular diseases, chronic respiratory disease, cancer and diabetes account for 82 per cent of all NCD deaths, of which, at least half of the deaths could be averted by appropriate intervention at the right time and adopting healthy lifestyle changes, states World Health Organisation (WHO).

This is exactly where RPM has come to the rescue and emerged as one of the key strategies to improve the health of those suffering from a chronic condition.

Why RPM is a boon

Helps in improving chronic condition management: At a time when there is a global crunch of medical resources, remote patient monitoring works wonders in keeping a continuous watch on those suffering from chronic diseases, thereby enhancing care at a reduced burden on the caregivers. It results in earlier detection of patients in critical conditions, thereby preventing a delay in the initiation of treatment.

Besides, remote patient monitoring facilitates efficient and smart deployment of available clinical resources and reduced exposure of caregivers to the infected patients. Also, it helps in creating a reliable bank for the patient-generated data which makes the clinical outcome better on patients.

Aids in reducing emergency situations and possibility of readmissions: With remote patient monitoring in action, real-time monitoring of a patient’s vitals is possible which helps them to keep the blood sugar, blood pressure, respiratory and cardiac counts on check. As a result, the patient and the caregivers get adequate alerts, preventing costly emergency situations and hospitalisations.

Cuts down the burden on healthcare: Remote patient monitoring helps patients get care from the comfort of their homes, without having to make a visit to the hospital. As a result, it relaxes the burden on healthcare staff as well as nullifies the fear of shortage of medical equipment availability. Plus, amid the raging pandemic, remote patient monitoring keeps the patients with chronic ailments away from hospitals, thereby reducing the risk of community transmission of the deadly virus.

Enhances patient outcomes: With remote patient monitoring, any damaging out-of-range values could be detected instantly, trends indicating a change in the care regimen could be recognised real-time. It could also help in providing suggestions on sleep and stress management and prescribing physical activities and more to help patients with specific chronic conditions and considerably improve patient outcomes.

Offers better quality of care: Care-giving is a pivotal part of managing patients with chronic disorders. Remote patient monitoring makes care-giving more efficient by helping the caregivers and the patients go for the right choice about their food habits and lifestyle and daily behaviours which have a major effect on the course of their chronic conditions and health risks. Taking medications on time, measuring blood sugar and blood pressure in a schedule, managing weights are some of the healthy choices that are encouraged by remote patient monitoring.

Makes a patient more informed and accountable: Remote patient monitoring makes it easy for patients to receive more education and feedback from the RPM analysed data compared to that they receive from regular appointments. This automatically increases patient accountability and makes them more cautious about what they must and must not do while dealing with a chronic illness.

Ideal for seniors living alone: These days a large number of senior citizens suffering from chronic conditions have to live on their own and away from their children who are settled elsewhere near their respective workplaces. Remote patient monitoring has made it much safer for those who do not have handy support.

It becomes easier for children to monitor the health of their aged parents living far away from them. Thus, RPM successfully bridges the long distance gap between aged parents and children when it comes to healthcare.

Managing chronic health conditions across age groups has become more convenient now. For making that possible, a significant credit goes to remote patient monitoring which is now considered as one of the most promising merits of technological advancement in the recent past.

The writer is CEO & Co-founder, Dozee

Published on November 10, 2020

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