Support for Patients to Heal at Home: Remote Monitoring

Published May 16, 2018

Once discharged from a hospital or acute-care facility, patients are finally on the way to where they want to be – at home.

The home should be viewed as the first stop on the road to recovery after an acute episode. It is an important milestone on the journey of improved health outcomes and healing. This is possible, now more than ever, thanks to the new tools that technology platforms have placed within reach for patients needing post-acute care and/or managing chronic conditions.

Powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning, new technology can continuously advance the road to recovery for patients and their loved ones, but also achieve this through more cost-effective measures that would drive overall healthcare costs down for both the payer and the patient.

Some of those new tools have been built to support remote patient monitoring, a technology that allows health care providers to follow a patient’s progress outside of traditional clinical settings—such as hospitals and other acute-care facilities. Healing at home may also increase access to care, prevent avoidable complications and reduce the financial impact of a health event.

Through remote monitoring users are better connected with their care network and feel more empowered to better manage their health. This connectivity, which facilitates the collection and sharing of vital health information among caregivers and providers, generates valuable data for providers to better manage patients and address their individual needs.

In addition to better serving the needs of the individual patient, insights from that data helps identify trends, predict outcomes and provide clinicians with information they can use to improve health recommendations for other patients facing similar circumstances.

The Future of Remote Monitoring

For remote monitoring to be successfully implemented as part of the standard of care for all patients discharged to the home, tools need to be refined so that they generate fail-proof, real-time alerts to clinicians when an intervention is needed.

Machine learning is helping us with the equally important task of determining when an event should not trigger a clinician alert. Both extremes—untimely or false alerts—would take us on the path to unsuccessful results for patients, caregivers, providers and payers.

Remote monitoring is not only a promising solution for post-acute care patients. It can also support therapy adherence in patients managing chronic conditions helping them feel more in control of their health. This increased patient engagement has successfully improved health outcomes.

In combination with other new tools such as medication reminders, activity monitors, and fall detectors, remote monitoring can help patients and their families regain control over their daily living activities and improve the management of common chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, high cholesterol, and sleep disorders.

Other monitoring tools are relatively easy to install and use and can create a safety and support network for older adults. These include Personal Emergency Response Systems (PERS), voice-activated digital assistants or chatbots, and videoconferencing technologies. The new technology helps aging adults and patients stay connected with caregivers, whether they live next door or in a different city.

Keeping Patients at the Center of Care

Helping patients heal at home is at the center of the new technologies revolutionizing the healthcare industry. It is our responsibility to make sure that the new tools being developed place the patient at the center of care, while meeting the needs of their care providers and payers who are an integral part of our health care system.