By now, anyone in healthcare understands the benefits of telemonitoring – also called remote patient monitoring. Telemonitoring programs are vital to achieving the “triple aim” of healthcare, which is to improve patient outcomes, access to care, and the cost-effectiveness of the services provided.
Telemonitoring technology can collect and monitor a wide range of data, including, for example, vital signs, blood sugar, blood pressure, heart rate, weight, and blood oxygen levels. This data can then be used to detect changes in a patient’s health status before a visit to the E.R. – and potential hospitalization – is necessary.
Certainly, telemonitoring is not going away. In fact, just the opposite is true, as it is continuing to gain acceptance and adoption by healthcare providers, payers, and employers. For instance, according to a 2017 report in Healthcare IT News, almost all large employers plan to offer some kind of telehealth program by the end of this year.
The Explosion of Telemonitoring Worldwide
That’s not all. According to independent medical market research firm Kalorama Information, the 2016 worldwide remote patient monitoring market – which includes devices, peripherals, software, packaged services, and other applications – is now worth about $40 billion, up from $29.7 billion just a few years ago. Kalorama’s study credits advances in wireless technology, coupled with cost savings for healthcare providers, as the major drivers behind this increase.
The growth in telemonitoring is not expected to subside anytime soon as new technology is being introduced to the market on a regular basis. For instance, new devices are being developed to monitor fetal heart rates, pacemakers, body temperature, and more. In addition, the United States’ wired and wireless infrastructure has improved to the point that major enhancements are being made in real-time audio and video services that support face-to-face interactions between clinicians and patients. For instance, earlier this year, AT&T announced that it would soon introduce its new 5G network to Atlanta, Dallas, and Waco. A 5G network, which is capable of accommodating driver-less cars and other next generation technologies, would boost the speed and reliability of wireless service, with speeds said to be about 10 times faster than the current 4G or fourth generation networks.
Full-service telemonitoring outsourcing is also on the rise, with clinical specialists evaluating remote patient monitoring data and sending information to the patient’s care team. While telemonitoring outsourcing is now catching on in a big way, Advanced TeleHealth Solutions has been providing this service for more than a decade – we were an early pioneer of the remote patient monitoring outsource model and offer a URAC-accredited health call center to providers, payers, and employers alike.
To that end, we are delighted that what we believed to be the answer to many of healthcare’s woes 10 years ago is now gaining rapid acceptance worldwide.
What’s Driving This Acceptance?
In 2014, geriatrics in the U.S. numbered 46.2 million. By 2060, that number is expected to swell to 98 million. Telemonitoring is an important tool that will allow elderly patients to remain independent, which, in turn, will reduce the economic burden on themselves, healthcare providers, and payers. Statistics show that as the number of geriatrics rise, so do the number of cases of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), diabetes, cardiac arrhythmia, ischemic diseases, hypertension, sleep apnea, and more – all which add to mounting healthcare costs, but all which can be controlled through remote patient monitoring.
Advances in telemonitoring will certainly drive improvements in health outcomes, and these advances can’t come soon enough.
About Karen Thomas
Karen Thomas is a certified management accountant and the president of Advanced TeleHealth Solutions, one of the leading telehealth monitoring companies in the U.S. Karen is a nationally renowned speaker, a lecturer for Missouri State University’s graduate-level Health Care Administration program, and a contributing author to, “Home Telehealth: Connecting Care Within the Community,” published by Royal Society of Medicine Press Ltd. Karen has appeared on numerous webinars and has spoken at dozens of conferences on the benefits of remote patient monitoring, generating enhanced clinical outcomes, patient engagement, and coordination of care. She is a member of the Missouri Governors Innovation Task Force, a past board member of the National Association for Home Care and Private Duty Home Care Association, a member of the American Telemedicine Association and the American Society on Aging, and a past ex-officio member of the advisory board of HealthCare Technology Association of America.