The pandemic ushered in a new era for remote patient monitoring (RPM). For people trying to minimize the risk of getting sick from COVID-19, the idea that their vitals could be safely monitored from the comfort of their homes was a game changer. But when there is no longer a public health emergency, is remote patient monitoring going to fall out of favor? 

While the pandemic may have been a catalyst for RPM innovation, there are many reasons why it will continue to be a vital part of the healthcare system for years to come. Namely, the aging population. The number of U.S. adults aged 60 and older is expected to increase 30% by 2050, and 88% of adults aged 50 and older want to age in the home for as long as possible. That means there will be a massive number of elderly people who need homecare services.  

Here is where RPM can help. RPM provides peace of mind. If an elderly patient can have their chronic conditions checked on in the home safely, then they may not need to move into a facility to receive this level of care. And with caregivers who can assist with that monitoring technology, as well as their clients’ other daily needs, those older adults who wish to stay in their homes for the rest of their lives have a much better chance of doing so successfully. 

What is Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM)? 

RPM has become a catch-all for the healthcare maintenance of patients from home, but there are several categories related to this maintenance. Let’s explore each in more detail. 

RPM vs RTM vs CCM 

Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM)RPM involves the use of connected electronic tools or devices that record patients’ personal health and medical data. This physiological data, such as blood pressure or glucose levels, is recorded in one location (usually the patient’s home) and is reviewed by a provider at a different location. 

Remote Therapeutic Monitoring (RTM)RTM involves the use of a medical device or platform to monitor a patient’s health or response to treatment, but RTM uses non-physiological data to accomplish this task. RTM can be used to monitor things like medication adherence, response to therapy, musculoskeletal activity, and respiratory activity. Additionally, RTM allows for self-reported data from the patient. 

Chronic Care Management (CCM): According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), CCM is care coordination services that are done outside of the regular office visit for patients with two or more chronic conditions expected to continue at least 12 months, and that place the patient at significant risk of death, acute exacerbation/decompensation, or functional decline. CCM includes services such as a provider prepared care plan for the patient or caregiver, help with medication management, and 24/7 access for urgent care needs. 

Types of Care Devices That Can Be Used in The Home: 

  • Pulse oximeters 
  • Blood glucose meters 
  • Weight scales 
  • ECG machines 
  • Spirometers 
  • Blood pressure monitors 
  • Heart monitors 

The Benefits of Remote Patient Care Include: 

  • Reduced hospitalizations 
  • Decreased visits to the emergency room 
  • Better health outcomes for patients in rural areas
  • Better management of chronic conditions 
  • Shorter hospital stays 
  • Reduced risk of illnesses, for patients and health care workers 

Remote Patient Monitoring and Social Determinants of Health 

While caregivers are not typically going to administer RPM, they play a key role in its success, and together, homecare providers and clinicians can help patients stay in the home longer and out of the hospital. One way that they can do this is by working together to overcome the challenges posed by certain Social Determinants of Health (SDOH).  

Obstacles like lack of transportation can result in patients not being able to receive regular preventative healthcare services. But thanks to certain RPM systems, healthcare access can be expanded to those who might otherwise find it hard to get to a doctor’s office. And caregivers can help clients by assisting with the setup of telemedicine calls, and other communications needed for the remote care. 

Additionally, caregivers can work with the care team that manages the client’s chronic conditions. Caregivers can express potential hazards in the home, client complaints, or even lack of nutritious foods. While the caregiver is not a certified medical professional, these insights let the client’s care team act and intervene if needed.  

How RPM and Homecare Can Work Together 

Homecare providers and clinicians who use RPM have the same goal: to help people stay in their homes for as long as possible. RPM devices and other remote monitoring technologies like telehealth can provide patients with peace of mind knowing that they are being medically monitored without having to be at a facility. Coupled with in-home caregivers who can see to their activities of daily living and these clients can remain safe and comfortable in their home environments. 

HHAeXchange has partnered with Remote Focus, a free, patient safety solution that works with homecare providers to ensure patients have a clinical safety net to control chronic conditions, foster better clinical outcomes, and avoid potential hospitalizations. The Remote Focus staff uses the data from patients’ RPM devices to monitor and assess wellness and escalate concerns when necessary. 

If you are interested in learning more about how homecare providers can utilize RPM to help keep their clients healthier and out of the hospital, contact us today!