Disclaimer: This blog article was written by an AdvancedMD partner. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of AdvancedMD.
Addressing a growing need to serve seniors at home, virtual care, including telemedicine and remote patient monitoring, has come to the forefront as an effective method of managing chronic conditions of seniors and improving outcomes.
What is telemedicine?
Telemedicine encompasses two-way, real-time communication between patients and healthcare providers, including phone conversations, video, and chat. There are various telemedicine software and technology that make electronic consultations, real-time interactions between providers and patients. With recent technological innovation in the telemedicine industry, many healthcare providers are starting to adopt videoconferencing for care management, diagnosis, counseling, and monitoring of patients.
What is remote patient monitoring?
Remote patient monitoring (RPM) is a technology platform that enables healthcare providers to monitor patients’ health outside of physical clinic locations. Remote patient monitoring allows physicians to view continuous patient health data and improve patient outcomes by preemptively managing patient care before episodic care events occur. Through an RPM platform, physicians can prescribe health monitoring devices such as a blood pressure monitor, blood glucose meter, digital scale, pulse oximeter, and thermometers.
RPM is primarily used for patients with chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart conditions, and hypertension. Whenever the patients use their RPM devices, providers will receive patient health data and population health alerts which provide real-time information about when at-risk patients’ results are out of a defined range. Additionally, in 2019, Medicare introduced reimbursement for remote patient monitoring, making it zero-cost to seniors with at least one chronic condition to access the services.
What role does RPM play in telemedicine care?
While telemedicine eliminates distance, telemedicine on its own just covers a virtual conversation between a healthcare expert and patient about past health data and described symptoms. RPM data and population health alerts on the other hand provide real-time information about when at-risk patients’ results are out of a defined range to allow practitioners to rapidly intervene and the facts necessary to have an informed patient appointment.
To fully utilize telemedicine consultation, physicians need data about their patients’ conditions to understand who needs to be attended to and who needs intervention.
Remote patient monitoring enables providers to serve their patients with chronic conditions such as diabetes, obesity, and congestive heart failure via cellular-connected devices and receive longitudinal data in perpetuity. The output informs a telemedicine visit and assists healthcare providers in ensuring a patient is in compliance – all without an office visit.
Remote patient monitoring also alerts providers when patients are out of compliance, enabling a provider to intervene with the goal of avoiding expensive, episodic care – all without an office visit and thus alleviating stress on the health system.
Telemedicine on its own solves part of the problem, but remote patient monitoring ensures that practitioners are not flying blind during telemedicine visits. Doctors and other healthcare providers can now have access to real-time patient data to inform their decisions, making virtual care a true reality for seniors at home.
Learn more by downloading the whitepaper How Telemedicine and Remote Patient Monitoring Work Together.