Remote patient monitoring (RPM) can be a powerful tool for pregnant patients with gestational hypertension or gestational diabetes. Both of these conditions require regular readings of physiological data, and RPM provides an easy way to gather these data without necessitating office visits. In addition to building a stronger patient-healthcare professional (HCP) relationship, RPM for conditions that arise during pregnancy has three key benefits we’ll walk through below.
1. Patients can use RPM from the comfort of their own homes
Frequent office visits to monitor gestational hypertension and gestational diabetes might be difficult for a patient to fit into their schedule, perhaps requiring time away from work or significant travel to get to their OB/GYN. With RPM, patients control their own schedule and can better engage in monitoring their health. Since some patients find a clinical setting stressful, monitoring blood pressure from home may also give a more complete picture of the patient’s health when relaxed in their own environment.
This has an added importance right now to help lower the COVID-19 exposure risk for both patients and HCPs. Studies have suggested that pregnant women with symptomatic COVID-19 have an increased risk of requiring hospitalization, admission to the ICU, ventilation, and extracorporeal membrane oxygenation compared to women who are not pregnant. The CDC therefore has recommended that pregnant women take special care to limit exposure. Offering RPM as a way for patients to track their health means pregnant women require fewer office visits, limiting contact outside of their household.
2. RPM increases the data available to make a treatment plan
At home, patients can take blood pressure or blood glucose readings more regularly than would be possible if they needed to have an in-person office visit. They can track their condition at particular times of day or even multiple times per day to find correlations with eating certain foods, exercise, or other variables. OB/GYNs receive patient data regularly and can follow up with patients via telehealth as needed to alter plans for treating or managing their condition.
3. OB/GYNs receive patient RPM data electronically
Without RPM, patients may take readings at home and record their results by hand to show their OB/GYN at a future office visit. In this way, the diagnostic data only becomes available to the HCP at infrequent intervals, and there is a possibility of data not being recorded properly or a simple piece of paper getting lost. Instead, RPM allows patients to share recorded data with an HCP at each reading, giving the HCP immediate access to information about the patient’s status and the ability to contact the patient to address any concerns between office visits.
Patients with Bluetooth-enabled RPM devices sync their readings with an RPM platform like RPM365, and the data then shows up on their OB/GYN’s dashboard or integrated electronic health record (EHR). Cellular RPM devices eliminate the need for a syncing step and automatically share each reading with the HCP through the RPM platform. (The specific devices supported by RPM365 can be found here.)
For both gestational hypertension and diabetes, RPM provides a simple way for OB/GYNs to gather important physiological data on their patient. While it is critical as a component of telehealth during the COVID-19 pandemic, RPM is a useful tool even when office visits are more accessible than they are now. Giving pregnant patients the ability to track their condition from home allows them more flexibility in their day, and having the data sync with an RPM platform eliminates possible sources of error and facilitates easy patient-HCP communication.