Remote patient monitoring (RPM) uses digital technologies to collect medical and other forms of health data from individuals in one location and electronically transmit that information securely to health care providers in a different location for assessment and recommendations.
Monitoring programs can collect a wide range of health data from the point of care, such as vital signs, weight, blood pressure, blood sugar, blood oxygen levels, heart rate, and electrocardiograms.
This data is then transmitted to health professionals in facilities such as monitoring centers in primary care settings, hospitals and intensive care units, skilled nursing facilities, and centralized off-site case management programs. Health professionals monitor these patients remotely and act on the information received as part of the treatment plan.
Monitoring programs can also help keep people healthy, allow older and disabled individuals to live at home longer and avoid having to move into skilled nursing facilities., RPM ca also serve to reduce the number of hospitalizations, readmissions, and lengths of stay in hospitals—all of which help improve quality of life and contain costs.
Patient Monitoring Successes
Monitoring programs are tools to help achieve the "triple aim" of health care, by improving patient outcomes and access to care, and to make health care systems more cost effective.
- A 2002 study examined a Veterans Health Administration demonstration project, which featured home monitoring systems, and targeted veterans with chronic conditions who were high users of costly medical services. The study compared enrollees' actual use of medical services to their projected usage if they had not taken part in the program, and also compared their actual use to veterans who were not enrolled in the program. The study found a 40 percent reduction in emergency room visits, a 63 percent reduction in hospital admissions, a 60 percent reduction in hospital bed days of care, a 64 percent reduction in VHA nursing home admissions, and an 88 percent reduction in nursing home bed days of care;.
- A 2006 study examined Medicare beneficiaries with diabetes who enrolled in a disease management program, and compared them to beneficiaries who received conventional care. The program included live video counseling sessions and email discussions with case management nurses, home monitoring of vital signs, with results automatically uploaded to electronic medical records, and patient education websites in English and Spanish. Program enrollees reduced their blood sugar levels substantially below those of non-enrollees. Managing blood sugar levels as been found to prevent or substantively reduce the incidence of diabetes-related damage to the eyes, kidneys, nerves, and heart.