Since the beginning of the pandemic, telehealth and telemedicine services have been at an all-time high. A report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) writes that the number of telehealth appointments between patients and healthcare workers rose by 30.2% between June and November last year. The CDC also predicts that such services will continue to expand their reach as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.
One essential facet of telehealth is remote patient monitoring (RPM). While there’s no doubt that RPM has many patient benefits, such as improved accessibility and convenience, it is also beneficial to healthcare workers in these ways:
1. RPM provides healthcare workers with more data to inform their medical decisions
RPM allows for constant monitoring of a patient’s biometric data. This is a step up from traditional check-ups, as these lean on the patient’s current physical state. With RPM, healthcare workers have a steady stream of patient data, allowing them to spot problems and patterns. This, then, lets them address issues much quicker and craft more data-driven treatment plans.
This kind of remote arrangement benefits patients that might have trouble traveling to a clinic or hospital. Some examples include individuals who are isolating due to COVID-19 symptoms or those suffering from autoimmune diseases. Pregnant women will also benefit from RPM systems. Another article on the RPM Healthcare blog shares that pregnant patients can take their blood pressure and glucose readings more regularly, providing more data than would be possible with physical consultations. So, apart from the added convenience for patients, RPM systems are also beneficial to healthcare workers as it gives them access to data that would otherwise be unavailable through traditional check-ups.
2. RPM eases the shortage of primary care professionals
There’s been a shortfall of primary care providers in the US for some time now. And this is mostly felt in populated rural areas and poverty-stricken urban areas. The good news is that more nurses are being trained for the digital world in order to become primary care providers. Maryville University’s list of nursing careers details how informatics specialists are now in high demand. They are trained to be able to assess patient health and provide advanced care through remote arrangements. And with RPM systems in place, these informatics nurses are now more equipped to serve as primary care providers.
In fact, nurses play a crucial role not only in making use of RPM systems, but telehealth as a whole. Telehealth nurses are in charge of monitoring, educating, and following up on patients at home. And through RPM, they can collect relevant data that will be used in a patient’s diagnosis and their potential treatment plans. A research study from Creighton University writes that medical institutions that use telehealth have an average patient-to-nurse ratio of 15 to 1, compared to non-telehealth institutions with an average of 11 to 1. This shows that the provision of RPM and other telehealth services allows for more efficiency in the field of primary care. As a result, specialized physicians can devote more time to more urgent cases.
3. RPM reduces the risk of infection at the workplace
And because data gathering and patient diagnoses are now possible using RPM systems, patients no longer need to travel to clinics or hospitals to receive treatment. This reduces the risk of an infection for both patients and healthcare workers. According to McKnight’s Senior Living, RPM is also a critical factor in reducing re-hospitalizations as it allows healthcare workers to better manage patients earlier in the continuum of care as well as after they are discharged.
Overall, RPM reduces the need for patients to be physically present for their consultations. This makes medical institutions much safer for healthcare workers, which is all the more important while the COVID-19 pandemic drags on.
To see the advantages of RPM and telehealth in action, check out this feature on the benefits of telehealth services as seen in an urban health center in Ohio.
Article written by Roanne James exclusively for rpmhealthcare.com.