Mobile healthcare, telemedicine, telehealth, BYOD

Remote Monitoring News

Does Remote Patient Monitoring Improve Access to Care?

By Vera Gruessner

- The remote patient monitoring market is expected to gain strength throughout the healthcare industry, as more providers will continually track medical conditions by implementing new technologies in an effort to enhance the quality of their healthcare services and improve health outcomes.

Remote Monitoring Technologies

One of the key technologies that is making an impact on remote patient monitoring is videoconferencing capabilities or telehealth services. IHS Technology recently released a report on the telehealth and remote patient monitoring market, which shows the trends affecting this particular niche of the healthcare industry.

The report discusses how remote patient monitoring needs a wide variety of differing technologies including electronic messaging and remote telemedicine-based consultations. Essentially, these tools will offer greater access to care for patients living in remote, rural areas as well as those living in communities that are facing doctor shortages.

Telehealth offers patients in these situations including those unable to travel long distances to see a provider an opportunity to see the same specialists and receive the same healthcare services as those residing in large, urban centers.

Additionally, remote patient monitoring and telemedicine offers a new way to increase patient engagement with their own medical care and wellness. Physician-patient video consultations are expected to double over the next five years, Forbes explains.

The IHS report stated that telehealth-based consultations will reach approximately 27 million across the United States. Health insurers are also finding that remote patient monitoring and telemedicine offer a way to save costs when compared to the expenses associated with patients ending up in emergency rooms.

“We’ve seen growth in reimbursement,” Roeen Roashan, medical technology analyst with HIS, told the news source.  “There’s no doubt payers are focused on virtual consultations. They are really pushing it.”

“Even though more and more people use online urgent care for $49, there won’t necessarily be an improvement of healthcare until providers integrate virtual consultations as part of their care delivery,” Roashan continued. “This will allow a much more intimate experience and most likely at a lower cost than $49. We’ve seen large providers providing complimentary virtual consults for their patient population, and . . . that’s the model we need to see more of.”

Virtual healthcare services are making an impact on the industry as a whole, as it offers much more flexibility for physicians and patients alike. To better understand how virtual healthcare is revolutionizing the field and affecting quality and efficiency, a team from the University of California, San Francisco School of Pharmacy and Stanford Graduate School of Business completed a study of virtual services within the healthcare space.

The results show that both hospital admissions and readmissions can be curbed with the use of virtual healthcare services. These tools could also improve care coordination across the healthcare spectrum.

“The abundance of new virtual health care companies highlights widespread confidence in the potential economic benefits when integrating virtual components into the U.S. health care system while increasing quality of care,” the UCSF School of Pharmacy reported. “The potential savings depends on the level of services within the virtual health care spectrum, the first of which comes from the ability to triage what would otherwise be general, office-based visits to lower-cost settings. This can generate a savings of $123 billion annually within the U.S. health care system. The CDC suggests that of the one billion annual doctor visits, 55 percent are to primary care physicians (PCPs) and the rest are to specialists.”

As the healthcare industry continues to adopt and implement new technologies to better serve its patient population, improve outcomes, and lower costs, it is expected that telemedicine tools, remote patient monitoring applications, and other virtual healthcare services will play an important role in achieving these goals.

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