Remote patient monitoring (RPM) is becoming increasingly common in the modern medical landscape, and for a good reason.
The advent of RPM in healthcare provides not just reimbursement and higher ROIs for providers, but also an opportunity to improve patient outcomes, enhance the healthcare experience, and offer lower costs to various communities.
How RPM in Healthcare Addresses Social Determinants of Health (SDoH)
Social determinants of health (SDoH) are the environmental conditions influencing how people are born, live, work, play, and age. These conditions can significantly affect a community’s health, well-being, and quality of life.
SDoH factors such as economic stability and infrastructure can often determine the quality and access to healthcare a community may receive. Poverty and a lack of transportation are common barriers preventing specific communities from receiving better health treatments.
However, the adoption of remote patient monitoring in healthcare by a growing number of providers can help address SDoH and remove social barriers to healthcare access, resulting in better healthcare outcomes and closing the healthcare gap between communities.
Here are just some of the ways RPM can help to address social determinants of health.
Removes Reliance on Transportation
Being physically present at a healthcare facility to receive medical consultation and treatment can be a significant barrier to healthcare access. This affects not only rural communities (where the nearest hospital may be dozens of miles away) but also individuals who lack transportation or cannot attend appointments due to scheduling conflicts.
Remote patient monitoring resolves this barrier by providing patient care whenever and wherever they need it. Providers can track vital signs through remote medical devices, and you no longer need to enter your chosen healthcare facility to meet with your doctor for appointments.
Rural communities, in particular, can benefit significantly from RPM in healthcare, allowing providers to reach out to patients in rural areas and connect them with healthcare specialists who would otherwise be inaccessible. RPM can also improve the quality of life in urban areas, as patients can now access appointments from the comfort of their own homes.
Promotes Better Medication Adherence
Proper medication adherence (filling prescriptions, taking medication on time, etc.) plays a vital part in the treatment and rehabilitation process, with healthcare practitioners stressing its importance to their patients.
Despite this, medication adherence can be a substantial barrier to improving patients’ health, with studies showing that the medication adherence rate for chronic conditions falls in the 50% to 60% range. Poor medication adherence can directly interfere with a patient’s recovery process, negatively affecting their quality of life and increasing healthcare costs.
Using RPM platforms, healthcare organizations can provide patients with various tools to aid medication adherence and affect positive behavioral changes. This can be done through medication reminders, virtual care visits, and even educational material.
Improves Health Literacy
Healthcare providers must promote and improve their patient’s health literacy in patient-focused interactions. Better health literacy can help to reduce patient anxieties and gives them the ability to self-manage their health, resulting in better patient outcomes.
Through RPM healthcare, providers can offer patients access to patient education material and a more effective line of communication that allows providers to respond to patients’ queries. RPM will also enable patients to track their health through remote monitoring devices, giving them more insight into their condition and informing their provider of any abnormalities.
Aids Postpartum Care
Maternal mortality rates are a critical issue in the United States, especially in poorer communities with strained healthcare systems and a lack of reproductive health information and services.
By providing better access to postpartum care through telehealth and RPM, healthcare providers can help postpartum mothers receive high-quality healthcare regardless of location.
For example, healthcare organizations can provide patients with postpartum hypertension monitoring with a Bluetooth blood pressure cuff, allowing doctors and nurses to measure a patient’s blood pressure remotely and more consistently without needing in-person appointments.
With RPM, healthcare providers can also look to adjust a postpartum patient’s blood pressure medication or call them in for in-person appointments, if necessary.
How RPM in Healthcare Addresses the Quadruple Aim
The quadruple aim is, in essence, the pursuit of four factors simultaneously that can help to improve the U.S. healthcare system.
Those four aims are as follows:
- Improve overall population health
- Improve the patient care experience
- Reduce healthcare costs on patients and providers
- Improve health care team well-being
It’s not hard to see that the benefits of a well-run RPM service often coincide with the quadruple aim and are undoubtedly a boon to the communities that can access this service through their healthcare providers.
Improving Population Health
From better medication adherence to improved patient education and more consistent appointment follow-ups, RPM can help providers and patients to achieve better health outcomes through higher patient health literacy and more consistent patient-provider communication.
Improving the Patient Care Experience
RPM allows patients to access high-quality healthcare wherever and whenever they are. It also reduces the financial and emotional burden of hospital visits or stays by enabling patients to receive effective and safe care from the comfort of their own homes.
Reducing Healthcare Costs
Through patient monitoring and better self-management, RPM in healthcare can greatly reduce the risk of emergency department visits and hospital readmissions, thus lowering the overall cost of healthcare for chronic and recovering patients.
For healthcare facilities, having RPM available allows for earlier acute discharge and shorter stays, resulting in lower overall costs.
Improving Health Care Team Well-Being
RPM can reduce the burden placed on overworked nurses and hospital staff. It can reduce travel time for nurses, improve communication capability between nurses and patients with talk, text and video, and reduce the number of in person home visits while providing the same number or more actual encounters. This enables front line nurses to do fewer in person patient visits while enabling them to take on more patients.
How HRS Telehealth and RPM Solutions Can Help Communities
Social determinants of health can pose a challenge to underserved and vulnerable communities, making it more difficult to access healthcare. However, the right telehealth and RPM solution can help remove these barriers. It can also assist clinicians in reducing disparities in health outcomes within these communities—in line with the quadruple aim of the healthcare system.
As a leading telehealth and RPM solutions provider, HRS is committed to helping improve patient outcomes regardless of socioeconomic barriers. With the technology becoming increasingly accessible, even in rural areas, we offer a simple and effective way for clinicians to communicate with patients, improve medication adherence, and drive better healthcare for all.