Elderly woman checking elderly man health with a device

RPM 101: How Remote Patient Monitoring Works

Remote patient monitoring is more common now than ever before. During COVID-19, many of us are finding telehealth services necessary or even preferable. But how does remote patient monitoring really work? Here’s everything you need to know.

What is remote patient monitoring?
Remote patient monitoring (RPM) simply refers to the use of technology to record health data, which will then be reviewed by a provider in a different location. RPM allows providers to remotely track and assess your health data, make recommendations or diagnoses, and prescribe treatment.

While RPM technologies can be helpful for any patient, they’re especially useful for the elderly, chronically ill, people who have trouble with mobility, and people who live far from traditional sites of care.

What health data can remote patient monitoring collect?

RPM can collect a variety of health data including:

  • Weight
  • Vital signs
  • Heart rate
  • Blood pressure
  • Blood sugar
  • Blood oxygen levels
  • Exercise
  • Electrocardiograms

What are the benefits of remote patient monitoring?

Because RPM technologies give your healthcare provider instant access to up-to-the-minute health data, they help improve your care and quality of life. Providers are better able to coordinate care remotely, monitor changes and make evidence-based decisions for you without the need for an in-person visit. In general, remote patient monitoring has been shown to help:

  • Keep people healthy
  • Allow older and disabled individuals to live at home rather than in skilled nursing facilities, and
  • Reduce the number of hospitalizations, readmissions, and lengths of stay in hospitals.

Done correctly, remote patient monitoring can also empower and encourage you or your loved one to take more control of your health.

How does remote patient monitoring work technically?

RPM is done by point-of-care monitoring devices, which simply means by a device that is physically with you at home. These devices might include weight scales, glucometers, and blood pressure monitors, and they can track data and provide alerts when health conditions decline.

Some devices require access to Wi-Fi, a smartphone, a computer or a tablet, while other devices only require the device itself. As with any healthcare program, trusted providers will be sure to follow HIPAA regulations and use devices that meet FDA standards.

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