Of late, research has increasingly shown that remote monitoring devices that feed clinical data to providers can have significant benefits. For example, one recent study concluded that when clinicians monitor congestive heart failure patients remotely, they can cut re-hospitalization rates for such patients by 60 percent.
Results like these have driven providers to test a wide range of remote monitoring devices, including devices tracking patients' weight, blood pressure, oxygen and glucose levels, as well as others tracking medication compliance. This has taken place despite the fact that most health plans don't pay for such devices as of yet--and they're not cheap, either.
That being said, experts have already begun to warn that such devices, while beneficial, could generate more data than physicians can manage. While nurses can screen incoming data, physicians are ultimately responsible for patient management, and the volume of data remote monitoring generates can be formidable. This is likely to become a big issue as remote monitoring gets cheaper and more effective.
Still, it seems likely that this approach will become far more common as health plans get on board--so provider organizations who run pilots now are probably making a smart investment. Giving clinicians time to get used to managing this kind of data into their practice just makes sense.
To learn more about this trend:
- read this piece in The New York Times
Report: Remote monitoring can cut costs substantially
Study: Remote monitoring improves heart failure outcomes
Challenges face remote monitoring technology
Trend: Managing chronic diseases remotely, with mobile tech