Remote health monitoring is an increasingly popular way to gain peace of mind and independent...
Remote health monitoring is an increasingly popular way to gain peace of mind and independent management of your health. Whether you need a Smartwatch to track heart rate and steps or are in the market for a medical-grade wearable to reliably monitor a loved one at home, finding the right solution is no easy task.
To help you with that, we are starting with the basics of health monitoring: what it is, the different types, and how it improves the quality of life. We will then go through a robust list of solutions currently available on the market.
You may want to bookmark this page and check back frequently. We will update this list as new solutions become available.
There is a lot of information in this guide. Feel free to skip around by using the table of contents below:
- Definition of remote health monitoring
- Types of remote client monitoring
- Benefits of remote client monitoring
- 15 remote client monitoring solutions
- Medical grade device comparison
- Remote monitoring trends
- How to choose an RMP solution
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What is Remote Health Monitoring?
There are a few things to consider when you hear the term remote [fill in the blank] monitoring. The first is: what fills in the blank. Remote client monitoring (RCM) generally applies to solutions that have not received clearance as a medical device from the FDA. As such, the device monitors the wellness of clients and not patients; they generally deliver consumer-grade results but fall short of providing medical-grade data.
Remote patient monitoring (RPM) is a term used to describe solutions that have received clearance from the FDA as a medical device. The devices support medical diagnoses and deliver consistently reliable health data.
What are the Different Types of Remote Health Monitoring?
Home care providers rely on remote client monitoring solutions to receive insight into the client's wellbeing. Solutions that monitor body temperature, heart rate, and respiration could provide an early indication of discomfort.
Tracking activity and sleep patterns tell caregivers how to best utilize their time in the home – whether by getting an aging adult moving around or allowing the client to spend more time resting and recovering after a sleepless night.
Fall detection and alert solutions deliver immediate notification of falls and track stumbles and near falls. Immediate notification of a fall ensures that help is dispatched as quickly as possible. Stumble and near fall tracking allows caregivers to add stability equipment and prevent a fall.
Medical providers, such as home health care teams, hospital staff, and telemedicine providers rely on remote patient monitoring devices to track vital health statistics and deliver that information with reliability and consistency.
A patient may wear an RPM after being discharged from the hospital following surgery. The device will send scheduled updates to the medical team that enables the patient to recover in the comfort of their own home instead of extending the hospital stay.
Telemedicine teams can also use remote patient monitoring devices to enable doctors and nurses to make well-informed decisions regarding patient care in the absence of an office visit. This same device allows the doctor to remotely monitor the patient's response to a prescribed treatment to determine if an adjustment is necessary.
How Remote Health Monitoring Improves Quality of Life
According to a study conducted by AARP, 76% of adults age 50 and older want to remain in their homes as they age. However, deteriorating health and concerned family members often result in aging adults moving to care facilities where their daily activities can be closely monitored.
Aging in place does have significant cognitive and emotional benefits. As AARP notes, "People spend years making connections and commitments to homes, friendships, community organizations, and local social ties within their community. Communities become a source of support and engagement for residents, particularly older adults who have an even stronger desire to age in place."
However, concerned family members who may live out of town or even out of state fear that their loved one may fall or experience deteriorating health, and no one will be around to notice or help. It is in these cases that a remote monitoring solution steps in to bridge the gap. Family members benefit from the peace of mind while aging adults maintain independence and autonomy.
15 of the Best Health Monitoring Solutions
- Apple Watch
- Samsung Watch
- BodyGuardian Heart
- Philips Wearable Biosensor
CareMate's on-torso sensor delivers reliable, continuous medical-grade monitoring of several wellness factors. All collected data is available in near real-time to family members, caregivers, and medical teams.
CareMate's Neural Network supports incorporating data from third-party Bluetooth-enabled devices. It then surfaces all collected data, from the CareMate Sensor and third-party devices, into the CareMate mobile application and CareMate dashboard.
The CareMate sensor is rechargeable and transferrable to optimize use in facility settings and limit costs associated with device replacement.
Features of CareMate Remote Client Monitoring
- Comfortable on-torso wearable
- Rechargeable (7-Day battery life)
- Monitors and collects
- Heart Rate
- Respiratory Function
- Skin Temperature
- Fall Detection
- Supports Third-Party Data Collection
- Data Delivered via Mobile Application and Dashboard
- Email Delivery of Reporting
- Customizable Alarm Thresholds
2. Apple Watch
The Apple Watch is a fun tool that delivers consumer-grade monitoring of some wellness indicators. Data collected by devices worn on the wrist is not as accurate as data collected by on-torso devices. Still, Apple Watch provides users with insight into activity levels, heart rate, and oxygen intake during exercise, serving as an indicator of cardiovascular health.
Users can share collected data with other Apple Watch wearers to compete and compare. However, the data cannot be shared with medical teams, caregivers, or family members without an Apple Watch.
Apple Watch features:
A noise app to let wearers know when noise levels could affect hearing
Access to Apple Fitness+
Water-resistant to enable tracking while swimming or bathing
3. Samsung Watch
Samsung Watches are very similar to the Apple Watch – each tracks heart rate, respiration, activity, and calorie burning stats. The accuracy of the data is consumer-grade, meaning that it cannot be used to diagnose or manage any health conditions. The data can be inconsistent and difficult to share with healthcare providers or family members.
Samsung Watch features:
Body composition analysis
Measure body fat, skeletal muscle, BMI
Measure blood oxygen levels
Performs wellness factor assessments
The Seer Bio-Patch attaches to the left side of the chest. The patch uses a multi-sensing algorithm to calculate vital signs such as heart rate, ECG, heart rate variability, respiration rate, and activity. The data transmit to the cloud for use by clinical pathologists.
The Seer Bio-Patch does not provide fall detection and alert.
Seer Bio-Patch features:
Provide heart failure monitoring
Sends data to doctor for analysis
5. BodyGuardian Heart
The BodyGuardian Heart is worn on the skin and tracks activity, heart rate, respiration, and other vital signs. It connects to an app to allow physicians and caregivers to monitor vital signs and receive alerts when there is a change. Healthcare providers access a portal to review the data. A physician must prescribe the BodyGuardian Heart.
BodyGuardian supplies several different types of monitors, including:
BodyGuardian Mini Plus
The primary focus of these devices is to monitor cardiac arrhythmia to detect stroke risk factors.
Most Fitbit products offer activity and heart rate tracking, details on sleep, and an option to connect with friends through the app. Some of the wrist-worn devices are waterproof and allow the user to log in meals and water consumption. However, in most cases, the data is not stored.
GPS during exercise
Blood oxygen levels
7. Philips Wearable BioSensor
The Philips Wearable BioSensor is a self-adhesive patch that collects data on movement, heart rate, respiratory rate, body posture, and temperature.
The lightweight, disposable patch lasts five days and can be integrated with a scalable hub to monitor multiple clients. This medical-grade device is intended for use by healthcare professionals.
The Phillips Wearable BioSensor is:
Measures, records, and transmits continuously
Integrates with clinical information systems
The CarePredict health tracking system focuses on tracking activities of daily living and sends an alert if inconsistencies are noticed. The wrist-worn device and supporting system track health factors that may indicate a developing health problem to alert caregivers.
The device is only available to senior care companies, such as assisted living communities and in-home care providers.
CarePredict senses activities of daily living (ADLs) such as:
VitalPatch focuses on heart rate, especially arrhythmia and irregular heart rate, and tracks activity levels and fall detection. The VitalConnect system surfaces tracked data in a mobile application and cloud-based dashboard.
Single lead ECG
Heat rate variability
The Vivalink patch is a reusable and rechargeable solution that captures and monitors heart rate, respiratory rate, skin temperature, and motion. The patch has a 3-day battery life and is attached to the torso via a disposable adhesive patch.
Remotely measures physiological parameters
Securely transmits data from remote locations to centralized cloud storage
Analyzes raw and filtered data to yield insights
Polso is a medical-grade, wrist-worn monitoring device that tracks multiple vital signs to optimize the care of patients with chronic medical conditions. Physiological data is captured from the radial artery in the wrist. Information is displayed on the device and in the mobile application.
Cardiomo is a torso-worn device aimed at monitoring cardiac health. The device provides alerts when unusual cardiac behavior is detected. Alerts can be delivered to family members and shared with health care providers for event annotations and faster diagnosis.
ECG/Heart Rate Variability
Skin Temperature/Respiratory Rate
Body Position/Fall Detection
Neteera provides continuous remote patient monitoring via a contact-less device. The Neteera 130 measures micro-skin displacements to record several patient vital signs through clothing and without touching the patient. Biodata is continuously monitored and then delivered via a HIPAA-compliant connection to the Cloud.
Heart Rate Interval
CU-BX sensors can be integrated into a patient's existing environment to monitor key vitals, stress, and overall well-being indicators. Currently, the company focuses on integrating with in-cabin vehicle devices as a stand-alone solution or as part of existing OEM camera-based driver monitoring software. The product is available for both commercial and consumer-grade vehicles.
iHealth supplies various remote health monitoring devices that deliver collected information directly to the patient's medical providers. The iHealth team provides an all-inclusive solution for providers by supplying technical training and billing consultations, direct shipment of devices to patients, mobile monitoring and daily support for patients, notification of escalation, and billing reports to ease reimbursement claims.
iHealth devices track:
Medical Grade Device Comparison
The chart below shows a comparison of the medical-grade devices covered in this guide. Each device received a rating based on its ability to perform in each of the categories shown.
For example, the BodyGuardian Heart solution received a rating of 5 for Accuracy because it is worn on the body (torso) while CarePredict's wrist-worn solution received a rating of 2. Only CareMate received a rating of 5 across all categories.
Data Sharing: This category combines data sharing methods (mobile app, web-based portal, emailed reports) with who can receive the data (medical/caregiving team, loved ones, individual). A score of 5 was assigned to solutions that deliver data via all of these modes and have the ability to share data with all groups.
Integration: This category rates the solution's ability to integrate and report on data from third-party devices.
Comprehensive Data: This category rates the solution based on the data points the device tracks (heart rate, respiration, fall detection, sleep, etc.).
Customizable: A rating was assigned based on the ability to customize reporting thresholds. A score of 1 was assigned to solutions that had no customization (or for which there was no available data on this feature). A score of 5 was assigned to solutions that allow customization.
Accuracy: A score of 5 was assigned to devices worn on the torso. A score of 2 was assigned to wrist-worn solutions.
Remote Monitoring Trends
Remote monitoring is relatively new to the medical world. Historically, all vital statistics used to monitor health were acquired by healthcare professionals, such as nurses, doctors, and nursing assistants.
With the development of devices capable of providing reliable, consistent, and even continuous (in some cases) medical-grade monitoring, healthcare workers can spend more time providing care and less time gathering data.
Here are a few of the primary areas currently being tackled in the remote monitoring space.
Several devices on the market are focused on providing monitoring for cardiac health. These devices monitor cardiac rhythms, blood pressure, and heart rate to assist those with heart failure, hypertension, and atrial fibrillation.
A recent study in Clinical Cardiology found that 91% of individuals who follow a weekly blood pressure monitoring protocol reach a target BP of 135/85 mm Hg within seven weeks of beginning the program. RPM's ease of use and convenience increases compliance among individuals with hypertension, including those with pre-hypertension and gestational hypertension.
The goal of cardiac remote monitoring is to reduce hospital admissions and decrease the length of stay for those admitted to the hospital.
Aging Adult Care
Perhaps one of the most common uses of RPM is to help aging adults remain in their homes safely without decreasing independence or sacrificing their safety or well-being. Often, family members encourage their loved ones to move to an assisted living facility when the burden of daily check-ins becomes too much, or they worry that their loved one will experience a health-related event or fall that goes undetected.
The right RPM device can give family members peace of mind by alerting them in the event of a fall and providing daily, trend-based data to their loved one's medical care team. With the right device and the support of healthcare providers, some aging adults can maintain their independence and improve their quality of life.
Remote monitoring of vital statistics to improve athletic performance is no longer reserved for professional athletes. Now, individuals looking to optimize their workout are turning to remote monitoring to provide valuable insight into how their fitness routine is challenging their bodies.
A data-driven approach to fitness allows individuals to adjust to their workout routines to achieve their fitness goals. For example, a person might wish to improve cardiovascular health and thus, closely monitor their resting heart rate and other factors known to reduce the chances of cardiovascular disease.
After collecting this data, individuals may choose to share the information with their medical team to aid in the development of a treatment plan.
How to Choose an RPM Solution
When choosing a remote monitoring solution, it is important to decide which types of data are most important to collect. A cardiologist might focus on heart rate, heart rhythms, and blood pressure, while an endocrinologist may focus on blood glucose. Others, such as home health care and home care providers, may take a broad approach that includes activity and physiological monitoring.
The next consideration is to determine the ease of implementation. Some solutions may require a vendor to set up and maintain the system, while other options are supported by the health care facility's in-house team. In most cases, it is best to choose a solution that is easy to adopt and maintain to cut down on the barriers to success and make it easier for individuals and care providers to realize the benefits of RPM.