- One of the key innovations that has revolutionized the healthcare industry in recent years is the capabilities of remote patient monitoring. In fact, healthcare remote monitoring systems have enabled physicians to track patients’ vital signs from locations away from the hospital.
According to a press release from Wichita State University, a group of biomedical engineering students have developed a healthcare remote monitoring system called Mobile HealthLink, which allows physicians to keep track of their patients and their medical status by using a programmable smartwatch.
The development team of students includes Linh Vu, Brandon Bartlett and Travis Vo. The way this particular healthcare remote monitoring platform works is by allowing the physician to enter a set of questions onto their smartwatch for the patient to answer regarding their illness. Then the patients sends forward their responses, which is relayed to the doctor who can then decide upon a treatment or a follow-up appointment.
This type of communication channel between the physician and patient could lower the amount of in-person visits necessary for the consumer while enabling doctors to stay on top of a case. This may work in much the same manner that telehealth technology reduces the number of in-person visits, which is especially useful for patients living in rural areas or unable to secure transportation to a hospital or clinic.
“Patients with chronic illnesses often need to be constantly monitored regarding their health status,” Vu stated in the press release. “They benefit from the convenience of decreased frequent doctor visits and ultimately experience better health and increased quality of life.”
This type of technology could potentially reduce the number of hospital admissions if adopted across the healthcare industry. It could also boost health outcomes, as certain medical issues could be addressed more quickly before a condition escalates. As such, healthcare remote monitoring solutions like the one from Wichita State University could potentially lower medical costs across the country.
“Through our product, we hope to tear down the barrier between physicians and technology and enable physicians to practice medicine using technology,” said Vu.
Using smartwatches and other wearable devices as a way to track patient health and incorporate healthcare remote monitoring software onto the devices could revolutionize the industry on a level of improved quality of care and better outcomes for patients across the healthcare continuum.
“It is still unbelievable that a project we started less than a year ago has developed into something that can really help people,” Vu concluded. “We are very excited at the potential for our product to become something bigger than just a senior design project.”
As the medical field continues to focus on implementing a wide variety of technologies including healthcare remote monitoring systems to improve patient outcomes, policies and regulations surrounding reimbursement and security objectives all become imperative. Recently, a new ruling from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) could potentially harm healthcare remote monitoring on a grand scale.
Certain devices could potentially be utilized in Channel 37 bands, but several US Senators have found fault in the latest FCC regulations. More beneficial and useful regulations for information sharing may need to be developed in order to improve the safety of healthcare remote monitoring technology.
“Wireless medical telemetry service (WMTS) systems for cardiac and fetal monitoring in hospitals have long used channel 37 to operate without interference, which could severely impact patient health and safety,” a letter from US Senators sent to the FCC chairman stated. “Hospitals and professionals rely on WMTS every second of every day to keep patients alive and safe. It is essential that WMTS devices can continue to operate without any interference from TVWS devices.”