Artificial Intelligence and IoT have caused technological breakthroughs in all sectors and healthcare is certainly no exception. Over the years and especially during the pandemic crisis, we’ve witnessed cutting edge innovations and applications such as remote patient monitoring (RPM), telehealth, predictive analytics and so on being used to save lives.
In this blog post, let’s explore a little on telehealth, telemedicine and remote patient monitoring. Let’s dive in.
Although the terms telemedicine and telehealth are often used interchangeably to refer to technology and electronic communications in healthcare, there is a subtle difference between these terms. The term telehealth denotes online health care, specifically to remote healthcare services such as telemedicine, clinical services, health education and so on. Telemedicine on the other hand refers to a healthcare professional diagnosing and treating patients via online communication. In essence, telemedicine is a form of telehealth service. Telemedicine serves as a means to discuss a patient’s real-time medical needs over the internet. Telemedicine process is quite similar to a traditional doctor-patient office visit; the only difference is that the service is delivered remotely.
Some of the common types of telemedicine services offered these days are store-and-forward, remote monitoring, and real-time interactive services.
Store-and-forward telemedicine has revolutionized healthcare. In store-and-forward telemedicine patient information such as x-rays, videos, and lab reports are stored and transmitted to different locations for a consultation. This is a huge boon for healthcare teams working in remote locations or third-world countries who need to coordinate with a specialist living in a different location.
Medical images such as X-rays, CT scans and biosignals such as EEG, ECG, EMG are sent to specialists for consultation in this type of telemedicine. Store and forward practice are common in the fields of dermatology, radiology, pulmonology and pathology. It not only saves time but a historical record of a patient is also documented to avoid misdiagnosis.
As the term indicates, this denotes real-time video or phone consultation that patients have with medical professionals. Medical professionals from any part of the world can now consult, assess, diagnose a patient and even prescribe medicines.
Some of the popular real-time interactive telemedicine services include teleneuropsychology, telepharmacy and even telerehabilitation. Neuropsychologists help people cope with mental illnesses such as dementia and psychoses, ADHD, Down syndrome and other similar ailments. Teleneuropsychology is a feasible alternative to in-person consultations which can help these patients to connect with medical professionals anytime. Through telenursing services, a nurse can teach, consult, triage, and provide nursing services to patients in a remote setup. As other forms of telemedicine, this can be made in real-time or over the phone. Nurses can assist patients with chronic medical conditions or minor ailments that don’t require medical care.
Telepharmacy services such as refilling prescribed medications have been done for ages. It facilitates pharmaceutical services to patients without direct contact with the pharmacist. Telerehabilitation is a boon as it helps deliver therapy to individuals suffering from disabilities, mental disorders, or other impairments. These patients can skip travelling to the therapy facility for long-term care and consultation. It is not just convenient but also cheaper than traditional rehabilitation practices.
Remote monitoring is also known as self-monitoring or self-testing service. This type of telemedicine service is used in the management of long-term chronic diseases. For example patients with years of diabetes, cardiovascular problems, asthma can be remotely monitored. Remote monitoring is not just cost-effective, it gives the patient a sense of control over their health as they can frequently monitor their progress and consult doctors as required when they find health deteriorating.
At SolutionChamps, we’ve implemented an IoT based personal healthcare platform solution for RooiDigital. With a hub, portal and cloud the IoT based remote patient management system empowers caregivers and patients to connect biosensors and devices to monitor conditions such as pulse, blood sugar, heart health. The IoT based personal healthcare platform also keeps track of a patient’s medical adherence, activity level and sends reminders. It also allows caregivers and patients alike to connect via video conferencing, voice calls, and messaging.
Essentially, any device that can monitor and send a patient’s vital signs or physiological data to caregivers is helpful in remote patient monitoring. Let’s look at some other use cases of remote health monitoring.
A recent study has shown that remote patient monitoring has helped cancer patients to avoid unnecessary hospitalizations. Common side effects of chemotherapy such as fatigue, loss of appetite, dehydration, nausea, constipation, vomiting and depression can be monitored through remote patient monitoring. Bluetooth-enabled devices such as pulse oximeters and blood pressure monitors can be used to measure the patient’s vital signs so that prompt care can be given in the case of deterioration.
Patients with the severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder are benefitting from remote monitoring tools that can predict exacerbations. Many hospitals used remote monitoring to oversee blood oxygen levels and post-discharge in long-COVID patients. Digital spirometry, smart nebulizers, and pulse oximetry are some of the common applications of COPD remote monitoring.
Unmanaged diabetes can cause complications, such as heart disease, nerve damage, kidney failure and amputations and so on. Remote patient monitoring can help track blood pressure, blood glucose and other vital stats. Healthcare providers can also manage a patient’s diabetes via RPM by setting alerts to monitor patients whose diabetes crosses a normal threshold.
CHF is the main cause of death around the globe. Early detection of abnormalities is very important in identifying and managing heart failure. Cardiac implantable devices (such as pacemakers) can be used to deliver critical data to help care teams to remotely monitor patients. CHF not only reduces mortality rates, but it also immensely reduces the need for lengthy hospital stays and improves the patient’s quality of life.
Telehealth and Telemedicine, especially Remote Health Monitoring services is a huge leap forward in improving the world’s accessibility to healthcare. Apart from cost-effectiveness, these services offer a huge level of convenience when compared to traditional in-person appointments.
These services are a huge boon in a post-pandemic world. Senior citizens and people with disabilities can stay in the comfort of their own homes to get crucial care.
From implementing an IoT based personal healthcare platform solution to creating a supporting mobile application for AI-powered smart stethoscopes, SolutionChamps have years of experience in engineering modern-day healthcare innovations. Let’s start talking. Get in touch with us to discuss your project idea and get an attractive quote.
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