Once you collect the patient’s current health and family history, you’ll probably move on to taking the patient’s blood pressure. Or you may use your stethoscope to listen to the patient’s heart. No matter the process you use, you know that there are steps you’ve been trained to follow to come to a clear diagnosis. When you have collected all the necessary data from the blood pressure reading, electrocardiogram or echocardiogram, you’ll make an assessment and let your patient know that they have hypertension. This is all new to them. They don’t know what to do next, they don’t have a checklist to follow. They may be aware of a relative who had high blood pressure who had to take medication or died due to a coronary episode or was severely debilitated due to a stroke. Every scary story has popped into their consciousness.
You or your staff will direct the patient to change their lifestyle to help manage their high blood pressure. But, to the patient it may all seem to be out of their control. Before their next visit with you, how will they know that they have reduced their sodium intake enough? How will they know they are getting enough physical activity since the weight on a scale may not change? How will they know if they’ve cut back on the alcoholic beverages that may cause them the most damage?
There needs to be daily guidance or a check-in process that provides them with regular feedback and accountability. Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) is that tool that enables the willingness to accept responsibility for one’s own health. RPM patients feel that they have greater control to manage their condition. It’s also helpful that patients don’t need any special training to use RPM devices. Monitoring blood pressure at home is quite simple. The patient must ensure they are seated in a rested position, the blood pressure cuff will be placed on their arm and it will inflate and deflate. After this process a digital reading will appear. That’s basically it, once the device takes a reading the data is transmitted. For Bluetooth devices, there are prompts/buttons in an app. But for cellular, the patient just takes the reading.
Only 1 in 4 adults (24%) with hypertension have their condition under control and subsequently both are leading causes of death in the United States. Remote monitoring is a great way for patients to keep track of their blood pressure. It gives them immediate information on the course of action they are taking to mitigate their hypertension including if their condition is getting worse. Instead of waiting to get this reading in the physician’s office the patient can course correct daily and immediately. Also, many RPM programs also provide patients with a health curriculum of educational content and a team of professionals to work with who can escalate any issues quickly.
For patients, RPM provides better healthcare outcomes between visits and increases patient engagement. Maintaining or adopting a healthy lifestyle can prevent or delay the onset of other health problems. Coupling a lifestyle change with medication and RPM can help bring hypertension under control and reduce your patient’s risk of life-threatening complications.
For healthcare providers, RPM can help reduce the high costs of emergency room visits and hospitalizations since patients will be able to regularly monitor their blood pressure. Healthcare providers may also see an increase in revenue since it will allow them to care for more patients.
In a recent internal RPM Healthcare study, we found that 74% of patients enrolled in our program saw a reduction in systolic and/or diastolic readings after 3 months. Showing your patients how to regularly check their blood pressure at home can be a life saver. It also allows them to take a more active role in their own healthcare.