Remote patient monitoring is an area of tremendous opportunity within the healthcare landscape. It offers the benefit of monitoring the health status of patients in home care settings and offering data-driven care. It also allows for optimal utilization of the hospital facilities by ensuring that only the patients who are in need of hospitalization are admitted for inpatient care.
The changes in regulatory policies at the federal level in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and increased riskiness of in-person visits have ensured that the time is ripe for utilization of remote monitoring technologies.
Technology has made it possible for the healthcare providers to deliver the best of care remotely through telemedicine and monitor all the vital stats of the patients. Here is how hospitals can leverage remote patient monitoring technology to boost the hospital efficiency and patient outcomes.
Current state of remote patient monitoring
Remote patient monitoring is defined as the set of activities that meet four key criteria:
- Patient data is collected remotely (e.g., in a home setting without oversight from a health care provider)
- Data collected is transmitted to a health care provider in a different location
- Data is analyzed while notifying the care providers if needed
- Healthcare providers communicate relevant data-driven insights and interventions to patients through telemedicine.
With the ongoing pandemic, a number of hospitals have launched remote patient monitoring programs for both coronavirus patients as well as other patients suffering from chronic conditions such as congestive heart failure, chronic hypertension or diabetes.
Key considerations for successful set up of remote patient monitoring program
1. Start with the end goals in mind
Any implementation of technology must be guided by the goals that you aim to achieve through it. Before starting out with any kind of technology enabled care, the goals- both short term and long term need to be defined beforehand.
While end goals like improving clinical outcomes or increasing practice efficiency are desirable outcomes, the goals that you set for incorporating patient monitoring technology need to be quantifiable. A long term strategic vision is crucial for monitoring success with technology in the hospital.
2. Involve all stakeholders
The aim needs to be active participation of all individuals involved in remote healthcare delivery in order to maximize on the efficiency of the efforts. A feedback loop that highlights the problems faced during the implementation of remote patient monitoring allows for faster resolution of issues and brings efficiency into the process at the same time.
3. Consider the ease of use
The monitoring technology should be easy to use for both the patients as well as the healthcare providers. The patients and/or their caregivers should be able to set up the monitoring equipment without major setbacks or need of assistance. When required the admin team or the physicians should be able to troubleshoot the issues remotely and get the connected devices working.
The patient data generated by the devices should also be easy to collect and transmit securely over to the care team to analyze and interpret. The advances in artificial intelligence in the field of healthcare and machine learning capabilities have made it possible to derive real value from patient data. The system you implement should be able to leverage this technology and derive value out of it for its successful implementation.
It is also important that remote patient monitoring imbibes itself within the existing workflows rather than becoming an extra burden on the healthcare practitioners.
4. Choose between off the shelf platform or custom solutions
Sufficient time needs to be dedicated to choosing between the different telemedicine platforms available in the market and deciding which fits your needs best. The telehealth platform that you choose needs to integrate with the monitoring devices and the patient’s electronic health records to save time spent in data entry and clinical record keeping while maximizing efficiency.
Figure out whether you need to build a solution tailored to your needs, customize an existing solution or leverage a market-ready platform to best meet your requirements. There are pros and cons to each of these approaches which need to be weighed against each other.
Market-ready solutions offer faster time to market but offer limited customization capabilities. Building a telemedicine solution from scratch is rewarding and can be custom developed according to your existing workflow but is a time-intensive activity. The solution that you pick needs to meet your clinical needs while offering the best value for money at the same time.
5. Factor in the infrastructure and training requirements
When setting up remote patient monitoring for your hospital, software is just one component. The hardware and infrastructure requirements also take a huge financial toll which needs to be accounted for. Failure to meet the infrastructure requirements can result in a sub-par user experience thus affecting the user acceptance rates of the technology.
Training is yet another component to consider when monitoring for success with technology in the hospital. Younger generation which is well versed in technology will require lesser efforts for getting well versed with patient monitoring technology as compared to people of the older generation.
6. Monitor for success
Evaluation is key to determining the level of success that technology implementation attains in the hospital settings. It’s important to revisit the goals laid out in the beginning of the implementation process and measure them for the level of success achieved in attaining them. Real-time feedback collection and its implementation for the betterment of the technology is crucial when monitoring for success.
Starting out with a small scale pilot program and gradually expanding its scope can be instrumental in ensuring successful implementation of technology. Start out small and expand after demonstrated success has been achieved. This will not only help in convincing all the stakeholders of the potential of implementation of remote patient monitoring programs but will also let you replicate the success you achieved on a smaller scale onto a larger level.
Remote patient monitoring is an area with tremendous untapped potential. With advances in connectivity, medical devices and data analytics, RPM and telemedicine have a bright future together.
If you still don’t have a plan for successful implementation of telemedicine and patient monitoring program for your hospital, talking to the experts can help you navigate the current landscape while shortening your path to success.
Arkenea has more than a decade of specialized experience in the field of healthcare software development. With numerous success stories in the portfolio, we are a trusted brand in the healthcare software space. Get in touch with our telemedicine consultants today for discussing your project requirements.