Written by: Maliha Safilullah

Maliha Safiullah is a Former Correspondent for 60 Minutes, Channel Nine Australia and is a published writer having worked as a Feature Writer for Dawn News.

The patient management systems at medical facilities enable a person to recover at a certain pace with the comfort of knowing that he/she is under constant supervision. The vitals are periodically checked along with assistance provided whenever required. Physicians, nursing staff and other medical staff ensure effective patient management that more often than not cannot be replicated at home. For most patients, the transition from hospital to home is an overwhelming process since it involves the fearful notion of managing a healthcare routine on their own.

For older adults who suffer from either illnesses bestowed by their age or have underlying chronic conditions, developing new healthy habits is an uphill battle. Remembering to take their medicine on time, suitable healthy meals and what to consume and what to avoid, checking their weight, blood pressure or for glucose-patients, consistent monitoring of blood sugar levels are habits that may seem difficult to inculcate without proper assistance. Since forming a healthcare routine at home proves to be a struggle for most patients for either they lack the resources or are in an unfit condition to follow through, the risk of hospital readmission remains high.

Read how Remote Patient Monitoring helps with social isolation in older adults

Fortunately, this problem is avoidable with the technological advancement in remote patient monitoring systems that have redefined healthcare the world over. RPM provides healthcare solutions that enable older adults and patients suffering from chronic illnesses to alter their behavior and generates improved results while also reducing hospital readmissions.

Patient Management Systems for patients with complex healthcare needs

Care management of patients with complex healthcare needs requires for them to take responsibility for their own healthcare by first comprehending their situation, being informed in the course of their treatment and ultimately being equipped to be part of the decision-making process involving their healthcare routine. RPM provides the opportunity to patients to be directly engaged in their health by taking their own vitals, educating themselves through an informative video and logging in their daily activity. This simple enrolment in multiple different tasks keeps them involved with the upkeep of their care and they learn to experience the value of the system.

However, for an RPM system to function correctly, it is essential for patients to have the impetus to be more self-reliant and have the motivation to construct, adopt and stick to a routine. A well-planned routine is essential to lead a better life and ensures multiple health benefits. Most significant of these benefits is stress management. With a routine in place, a patient is less likely to feel stressed and will learn to cope with anxiety. With lack of information and perpetual fair, a patient is at a higher risk of developing anxiety disorders and poor mental health but the habitual practice of checking vitals and staying up to date about their condition will radically work on improving their overall well-being.  A comprehensively planned day will also impact the patient’s sleep cycle, the overall quality of life and emotional well-being hence ensuring the patient is on the right track to progress and recovery.

The motivation to have a routine and a better life can be generated by RPM services that may incorporate informational trainings and customized materials for their client. LocateMotion’s remote patient management system works by providing the necessary tools for the patient to utilize and follow in order to acquire real-time monitoring results and be satisfied by their daily progress. The algorithmic software employed by the LocateMotion RPM system accumulates vitals and stats of a patient which when transferred to the concerned medical staff are then assessed and suggestions for the areas of concern are determined. This information is then reverted to the patient or the patient’s healthcare supervisor. At any point, if an area of concern becomes alarming and the physician discovers incoherence in the data and declares that the patient requires immediate attention; alerts will be sent to designated emergency responders. This patient health management system gives the much sought-after reassurance to a patient that he/she has a safety-net at all times and is not left entirely alone to deal with his/her medical problems. The service, hence, works in a way that allows a patient to have mental peace and comfort that impacts their sense of well-being.

Chronic Disease Management and Prevention

The Journal of Medical Internet Research published a paper that elaborated on how remote patient monitoring or telehealth’s capabilities of altering and impacting behavior change in people will aid in reducing the significant global increase in chronic diseases. The research paper explored that most chronic diseases are a consequence of unhealthy and often life-threatening habits that people develop over a course of their life. These unhealthy habits can be as insignificant for a person in younger age where they avoid physical activities and prefer lounging about the whole day or they prefer unhealthy eating options over having a balanced diet, or their sleep patterns are causing them to have inefficient sleep or they indulge in tobacco use, alcohol abuse or are simply addicted to too much caffeine. These habits eventually lead to some form of chronic disease once they grow older.

However, the research explored that remote patient monitoring systems or patient management systems that are done remotely can initiate lifestyle changes for a person that can not only prevent, delay and even entirely eradicate several chronic diseases when employed timely. RPMs have the capabilities to change patient behavior so they may abandon their bad ones and adopt better habits that influence their health in a more positive manner. With the tools available to not only embrace better habits but be motivated to have control over their own health outcomes breaks a patient’s repetitive cycle of making the same mistake over and over again, hence working towards a reduction in readmission rates. The habit to constantly log in and keep a check on their health equips the patient with the knowledge of their condition and be motivated to continue with the process to consistently improve their situation.