This is the last in a series of blogs that celebrate a decade in technology innovation in recognition of National HIT Week.

With the trend toward moving patients out of hospitals toward more home care, remote monitoring tools are making their mark. At the end of 2012, 2.8 million patients worldwide were using home monitoring systems, according to a Research and Markets report.

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Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) offers providers new options for improving care, particularly among an aging population. RPM programs tend to focus on serious, chronic conditions like congestive heart failure and late-stage emphysema, which typically result in repeat hospitalizations. Readmissions for these conditions have become a major healthcare expense and Medicare has begun penalizing hospitals with high 30-day readmission rates.

Even though the merging of wireless technology and medical care is still in relative infancy, several health systems that began pilot programs utilizing RPM technology feel that it is keeping patients healthier, based on data collected. Generally, RPM tools offer a variety of benefits to both patients and providers, including:

  • Better patient engagement in their health and treatment
  • Better adherence to prescribed treatment and medication regimens
  • A reduction in hospital readmissions
  • Lower costs
  • An advancement in quality care improvements

And, by enabling physicians to continuously monitor patients, RPM can detect problems before they become serious, thus improving patient outcomes.

Despite its benefits, RPM has faced some obstacles, including a lack of reimbursement from insurers for the costs of equipment and monitoring. According to an article in mHealth Intelligence, the healthcare industry could benefit from further adoption of RPM technology and telehealth solutions as a method for ensuring high-quality, value based care however, the Federal Government will need to ensure Medicare programs properly reimburse healthcare providers for the use of RPM tools.

In the meantime, the use of remote RPM tools is growing. Kalorama Information, a medical market division of Market Research Group LLC, estimates sales of remote monitoring equipment to total about $32 billion by the end of 2015.

by KNB Communications

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