Remote patient monitoring programs, technologies, and protocols are becoming increasingly popular, backed by growing clinical evidence and a slew of non-clinical benefits.
THE BASICS OF RPM
RPM can be used to treat both chronic and acute conditions, enabling clinicians to keep tabs on patients in-between clinic visits or when in-person care is not possible.
For chronic care, in particular, RPM enables clinicians to observe patients in near real-time, gather necessary data, and make adjustments to improve care outcomes. This type of continuous tracking is helpful for patients with ongoing care needs, such as those with diabetes, heart conditions, asthma, hypertension, mental illness, and, more recently, long COVID, that is, the long-lasting symptoms following COVID-19 infection and recovery.
RPM programs employ the use of various types of devices, like weight scales, pulse oximeters, blood glucose meters, blood pressure monitors, heart monitors, and even specialized monitors for dementia and Parkinson’s disease.
Another category of RPM devices that can be used to track patients’ health over the long term are wearables. These can range from more consumer-facing devices like smartwatches to continuous blood glucose monitors.
Wearables especially appear to be in demand, with Deloitte predicting that 320 million consumer health and wellness wearable devices will ship worldwide in 2022. That figure could jump to 440 million units shipped by 2024.
The technology, devices, and benefits of remote patient monitoring in the healthcare industry
But RPM is not just useful for managing long-term diseases — it can be used for more urgent and acute conditions as well.
Unlike other telehealth delivery methods, RPM services do not require interactive audio-video and virtual visits, nor must patients be located in rural areas. They simply require technology that collects and interprets physiologic data. Medicare reimburses RPM services just like in-person clinical services with no additional requirements regarding use or originating site of care. Additionally, RPM systems hold huge potential for generating savings by preventing more severe and costly health outcomes from taking root.
And the global RPM systems market is projected to be worth over $1.7 billion by 2027, up nearly 128% from the $745.7 million opportunity the market currently represents, according to Research and Markets.
Top remote patient monitoring companies
As providers increasingly turn to RPM technology to improve patient outcomes, limit costs, and cut down on using more expensive services, healthcare industry newcomers and legacy players alike are vying for a piece of this growing market.
Some of the top RPM solution providers include:
Honeywell Life Sciences
RPM market trends & statistics
Insider Intelligence estimates 70.6 million US patients, or 26.2% of the population, will use RPM tools by 2025.
Providers using RPM-enabled home health monitoring systems and other telehealth delivery methods are already reducing hospital readmission penalties. The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, for example, reduced the risk of hospital readmissions by 76% — and held patient satisfaction scores over 90% — by equipping patients with tablets and RPM equipment.
Seniors are driving positive ROI from RPM technology and home-based care, largely due to the cohort’s high incidence of multiple chronic diseases. A KLAS Research report surveying 25 healthcare organizations found 38% of healthcare organizations running RPM programs focused on chronic care management reported reduced admissions, while 17% cited cost reductions.
The next trend in RPM technology is miniaturization. Device makers are making their solutions smaller and less invasive while partnering with new players to expand their market share. For example, Dexcom, has partnered with Alphabet’s life sciences unit, Verily, on a new implantable diabetes sensor that transmits health data to monitoring devices or smartphones via Bluetooth.