7 insights into remote patient monitoring

Here are seven things to know about how remote patient monitoring can be used to improve clinical outcomes in healthcare.

1. RPM falls under the umbrella of telehealth and involves the collecting and transmitting of medical data from patients to healthcare providers in separate locations, according to The Center for Connected Health Policy. Healthcare professionals remotely monitor these vital signs — which might include blood pressure, heart rate or electrocardiograms — for assessment and recommendations.

2. A December 2016 report commissioned by HHS' Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality found research has consistently indicated RPM for patients with chronic conditions is one of the greatest benefits of telehealth. The fastest-growing market segments for RPM also include glucose monitoring and air flow monitoring, according to a February report out of the Internet of Things market research firm Berg Insight.

3. In 2016, the number of remotely monitored patients hit 7.1 million, according to Berg Insight. This number is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 47.9 percent, reaching roughly 50.2 million RPM patients by 2021. The global RPM market is expected to be worth $1.78 billion by 2020, driven in part by the aging population and demand for home-based monitoring devices, according to Wise Guy Reports.

4. Although interest in RPM has increased in recent years, not all healthcare professionals are convinced. A NEJM Catalyst Insights Council survey of 340 clinicians and healthcare executives found remote monitoring using wireless devices or wearables (56 percent) was the No. 1 least effective method of patient engagement followed by insurer-based incentives (53 percent).

5. RPM is part of a trend to decentralize healthcare delivery, in which consumers can access healthcare services anytime, anywhere, according to a PwC report. However, this shift has been occurring slowly. Only 22 states have Medicaid programs that reimburse for remote patient monitoring, up three states since August 2016, according to a report out of the Center for Connected Health Policy released in April. However, experts suggest more states may adopt the trend.

6. Recent research has run the gamut when it comes to the effectiveness of RPM. The healthcare technology company Geneia conducted a pilot study to test its @Home RPM solution for chronically ill patients, which found RPM can save healthcare organizations approximately $8,375 per patient each year. However, a February 2016 study of more than 1,400 heart failure patients published in JAMA Internal Medicine found RPM had no significant effects on 30-day readmissions or 180-day mortality.

7. One recent deployment of RPM services involves Kansas City, Mo.-based Truman Medical Centers, which unveiled a RPM pilot program in May. The pilot program uses algorithms from HealtheIntent — Cerner's population health management platform — to identify patients who might benefit from RPM, such as those with diabetes or heart failure.

New Hyde Park, N.Y.-based Northwell Health recently entered into a strategic partnership with Peerbridge Health, which provides remote patient monitoring solutions, in May. Prior to signing the agreement, Peerbridge Health and Northwell Health conducted a clinical trial to measure the efficacy of the company's flagship product, the Peerbridge Cor, a lightweight, multichannel ECG monitor.

More articles on telehealth:
Survey: How do patients find out about telemedicine?
UT Health San Antonio pilots telehealth program for military families
Kaiser to invest in telehealth as part of plan to correct mental health wait times

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