Switching to remote patient monitoring (RPM) platforms can be challenging at first. Still, the...
Switching to remote patient monitoring (RPM) platforms can be challenging at first. Still, the benefits of RPM are too numerous to ignore. In this article, we’ll dive deep into the challenges of remote patient monitoring, and why integrating an RPM methodology into your practice could be a great idea for your organization.
Remote patient monitoring convenience and effectiveness
Statistics show that the global remote patient monitoring market is expected to grow at 12.36% between 2018 and 2023. Remote patient monitoring is a technology that allows healthcare providers to supervise and oversee patients with chronic diseases, or who are at risk of emergency situations, remotely.
It has several benefits for both patients and providers:
- Patients can be monitored more frequently, which helps them stay on top of their health.
- Providers can oversee more patients from one location, which saves time and money.
- Patients can be monitored from home, which reduces the risk of hospitalization.
- Providers can have access to data 24/7, which helps them provide better care.
- Stats have shown that patients that adhere to RPM plans gain insight into their conditions — which in turn allows them to better manage their illnesses.
- It provides a more convenient option for people who live in rural areas or are too sick to visit a hospital in person.
For these reasons, monitoring patients remotely is becoming increasingly popular among hospitals and medical professionals. Nonetheless, despite the fact that this type of monitoring has been around for decades, it still has some perceived barriers.
6 key barriers to remote patient monitoring
Physicians and patients both have their own reasons for not fully adopting remote patient monitoring. For example, Physicians may worry about the accuracy of data collected from a monitor that is not in their office and patients may feel like they are being monitored too closely or perhaps RPM’s perceived impact on their privacy. There are other reasons why some physicians and patients are reticent when it comes to RPM. It’s important to understand each one and get insight into what you might face if you’re in the process of adopting RPM technology.
Starting from scratch
A huge part of embracing RPM is the fact that you are now also embracing the future. Some practices or medical institutions have become entrenched in the past. To what degree? As of 2021, 26% of practices don’t have up to date connectivity — WiFi, 4G, 5G or Broadband. Depending on your situation, when it comes to tech, switching to RPM protocols might require some additional tech upgrades.
Remote patient monitoring is also being used to train staff at different levels in hospitals. It can be used by front-line staff such as nurses, doctors, or paramedics who need to learn about specific diseases or treatments before they encounter them in person. Remote training can also be used to train managers and administrators on general management skills such as leadership, team building, or communication skills that are not specific to a particular discipline. But, implementing such a benefit can be difficult. Why? Because it requires in many cases a total adoption of what might be an unfamiliar technology and platform.
Who gets RPM?
Determining which patients should be monitored remotely is critical to successfully implementing a program of this nature. There are two elements of RPM models/tools right now — software and hardware. In many cases, the software can be adapted to tech devices your patient already owns. For example their smartphone or smartwatch. These are easy to set up and work automatically. Hardware, on the other hand, actual tangible tools you might have to invest in, is a whole other ballgame. Purchasing those tools might require extra funding or a huge amount of investment. And giving all your patients access to it might be cost-prohibitive. As such it is critical to determine who qualifies for RPM solutions and give those patients priority.
Data security & privacy
Data security and privacy are highly important in this industry because of the sensitivity of the medical info collected. The healthcare industry has strict guidelines for how data should be protected, such as not storing it on laptops or tablets. RPM solutions harness and collect a huge amount of sensitive data. They can create a bio-profile of a person. Data regarding their movement patterns, heartbeat, GPS location, and much more. It’s important that all of this data is secure since failure to do so might expose you to legal and liability issues.
It may take time for patients and staff to adjust to RPM — there’s a learning curve when it comes to RPM. In most cases, the practice has become much more autonomous, self-reliant, and non-intrusive. Nevertheless, some solutions require an adjustment period — as well as a training period. Your staff, like your patients, will need to embrace the model and get comfortable with it.
Patient technology difficulties are one of the biggest challenges of remote patient monitoring. Some individuals simply don’t like technology. Monitoring patients remotely demands an acceptance of today’s technology. Patients will need to adopt it and welcome those tools into their lives. A huge barrier to remote patient monitoring is that limitation— a limitation that might expose itself as an unwillingness to learn about the technology.
Choosing the right remote patient monitoring solution
Each practice is different. Each clinic is unique. They are ecosystems unto themselves with a lot of moving parts. A dynamic dance of principles, individuals, technology, and values. It’s critical to choose the best RPM solution for your organization — a juggling act that takes into consideration what your staff is willing to handle, the type of patients you have, your budget, and what you have already implemented, among other key factors.