The COVID-19 pandemic is systematically dismantling the daily fluxes of emergency room and hospital visits. While care is postponed, the demand for care remains, leaving many to allow their chronic health conditions to worsen.
According to a survey published by the Kaiser Family Foundation in May, 48% of adults stated that either they or a member of their household rescheduled or canceled a doctor’s appointment strictly because of the coronavirus. Furthermore, one in 10 people stated that their health, or a family member’s health, worsened because of postponed care.
To minimize this disruption in care, technology has a solution: remote patient monitoring (RPM).
The solution is appealing to patients—and was so even before COVID-19. According to a 2019 survey, 64% of US adults aged 40 years and older agreed they would adopt a wearable medical device to prevent in-person doctor and hospital visits.
So what is RPM and how does it work? RPM refers to the variety of wearable or home-based devices and technology that can track and record, in real time, patients’ vital signs, such as blood pressure, temperature, blood sugar, and oxygen saturation. An autonomous cellular chip embedded in these devices transmits the patients’ readings to the nearest cell tower, where the signal is then transmitted to Netrin Health’s care management team.
“Remote monitoring expands our care team reach so that we get daily data points that allows our care team to know exactly which patients need to be called for a critical intervention, catching health concerns earlier and avoiding unnecessary hospital utilization,” says Wendy Zhang, Director of Care and Innovation for Netrin Health. “This gives providers and patients peace of mind, knowing that our care team is watching out for them.” When an intervention or change is necessary, it will be facilitated by Netrin Health’s care managers and the patient’s primary care physician.
This web of health information transit and patient engagement is not an obscure approach to patient care. The largest health care system in the United States, the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), uses RPM.
Of the more than 136,700 VHA patients enrolled in RPM in 2018, the Department of Veterans Affairs reported a staggering 53% decrease in the number of days that a patient was dependent on a bed for in-patient visits. They also recorded a 33% decrease in the number of hospital admissions. These findings suggest that patients enrolled in RPM will have better health outcomes, and, therefore, avoid dependence on hospital resources, which may lead to reduced costs.
Ultimately, RPM connects the care management team, the patient, and the primary care provider and helps give chronically ill, high-risk patients the reassurance that their care will not be ignored or delayed, despite the isolation brought on by this pandemic.
In addition to the upcoming adoption of RPM, Netrin Health offers many services, including the benefits of our interdisciplinary care team, to help support primary care practices during these unprecedented times. Contact us for further details on our plan to implement RPM or anything else regarding our services.
Hamel, L., et al., 2020. KFF Health Tracking Poll – May 2020. Kaiser Family Foundation. Accessed July 8, 2020.
Hennick, C., 2020. How Remote Patient Monitoring Programs Are Beneficial. HealthTech. Accessed July 8, 2020.
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, n.d. VHA Telehealth Services. Accessed July 8, 2020.
VivaLNK, 2019. Survey Shows Reducing Doctor Visits Will Drive Remote Patient Monitoring Adoption. Accessed July 8, 2020.