“Drive safely,” “Don’t forget to take your vitamins,” “Don’t forget to turn off the lights when you leave the room…” As children, we all heard similar remarks from our parents as they coach us for life after we have left the nest. Sometimes it sticks – I do still take a multivitamin everyday– but sometimes, despite best intentions, their advice can fall to the wayside.
The same thing happens in the medical field. As physicians, we try to enforce the importance of medication adherence, of proper nutrition, physical activity and rest. We encourage our patients to be faithful monitoring their progress, and to log results and share them with us. But the fact remains that – just as many of us failed to follow our parent’s advice— a majority of patients do not follow medical advice after they have been discharged. Hospital readmissions continue to be a challenge nationwide.
I’ve talked before about the need to drive from “just in case to “just in time” care. Remote patient monitoring can help patients’ manage their health and continue care from home. One report estimates that, “by 2020 at least 160 million Americans will be monitored and treated remotely for a chronic condition.” I see useful applications of this technology for a variety of populations but Medicare patients stand out to me as potentially benefiting the most, with multiple chronic diseases and the desire to remain independent.
This moves towards enabling clinical peripherals with built-in connectivity – blood pressure cuffs, glucometers, spirometers, EKGs, oximeters, smart-scales, and so on, to give patients more options of how and when they will receive treatments. As we use mobile technologies to remotely monitor patients with chronic diseases we are preventing unnecessary ER visits or hospitalizations. And, also freeing up valuable resources to be directed where they are needed the most.
Careful attention by patients to the details of their lifestyle and proper home care can make a world of difference in the outcome of their conditions. Remote monitoring can support our good intentions and hold us accountable in adhering to the doctors’ orders.
(Frost & Sullivan Analyst Discusses Remote Patient Monitoring)