The laying on of hands has traditionally defined the patient-physician relationship, but the expanded use of telemedicine during the COVID-19 pandemic has challenged this long-held belief.
Physicians and patients alike are becoming more comfortable with visiting virtually and using technology to connect and share information.
Remote patient monitoring is another aspect that can enhance the effectiveness of and satisfaction with telemedicine.
The technology ranges from digital blood pressure cuffs to voice apps that remind patients with diabetes to take their insulin. It allows patients and physicians to monitor symptoms and make treatment changes based on real-time information.
Consider how helpful remote patient monitoring can be in caring for an elderly patient with diabetes and congestive heart failure who lives in a rural area. This patient might have difficulty walking or driving due to edema in the lower extremities. Remote patient monitoring can provide you with critical biometrics – such as blood pressure, glucose level, and weight – allowing for a rapid response to changes, improved outcomes, and hospital avoidance.
Although remote patient monitoring technology has existed for some time, it is being used more in both inpatient and outpatient settings as Wi-Fi and 4G connections become more prevalent.
Devices often automatically collect, interpret, and transmit physiological data, though some more rudimentary ones, like traditional glucose monitoring devices, might require patients to report information directly to their physician.
Here are some things to consider if you are thinking about adding remote patient monitoring to your telemedicine program:
- Whether it can integrate with your current electronic health record (EHR) technology and/or telemedicine platform;
- Whether you’ll need to buy new or additional software;
- Whether your practice or patients have access to high-speed internet;
- Equipment cost, for both your practice and patients;
- Health plan payment for remote patient monitoring equipment and services;
- Equipment delivery, set up, and patient education;
- Staff roles and responsibilities;
- Equipment maintenance and calibration; and
- Written office policies and procedures.
The Texas Medical Association is committed to providing Texas physicians with information and assistance with telemedicine and remote patient monitoring programs.
Visit TMA’s telemedicine webpage for news, information, and other resources, including TMA's Practice Consulting services.
Last Updated On
May 21, 2020
Originally Published On
May 21, 2020