Over the last decade, every aspect of life has become increasingly digitalized. The pandemic which began in late 2019 and has been ongoing ever since has sped up the digitalization process throughout the world. Healthcare is a sector that has possibly come under the greatest scrutiny during the pandemic. While many of its shortcomings have come to light, future trends in healthcare have also become discernable. Remote patient monitoring (RPM) is one such trend. Despite the fact that the technology had been available for years, broad use and adoption of telehealth and RPM were still trying to get off the ground even at the start of 2020. The majority of the reluctance to deploy telehealth or RPM stemmed from restricted reimbursement opportunities and a lack of incentives for providers who offer such services. The pandemic became a factor that left little choice for either patients or doctors and strengthened the case for use of remote patient monitoring. During the pandemic, there has been a lot of focus on phone and video chats that have replaced in-person consultations. Even among elder generations, virtual consulting platforms have shown to be profitable and popular.
Remote patient monitoring has registered an upsurge as well. Patients are given at-home measurement devices, wearable sensors, symptom trackers, and patient portals as part of remote patient monitoring. It allows professionals to keep track of their patient’s vital signs in order to conduct well-informed health assessments and, if necessary, treatment suggestions without having to see them in person.
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In fact, researchers at the Mayo Clinic Cancer Centre have been able to exhibit that COVID-19 patients who got care at home via remote patient monitoring were considerably less likely to require hospitalization for their illness than COVID-19 patients who did not engage in the program. In-home equipment was used to monitor oxygen levels, vital signs, and symptoms of COVID-19 infection, and patients were managed by a centralized virtual care team of nurses and physicians. By November 2020, the initiative had assisted over 8,000 patients in rural and urban settings in 41 states across the U.S. In the coming years, such initiatives are expected to become the norm instead of a novel case as the acceptance and use of remote patient monitoring increases.
Remote Patient Monitoring Market
According to Reports and Data, the global remote patient monitoring market size which is USD 786.4 Million in 2019 and is forecast to register a CAGR of 14.1%. However, 2020 has been an exceptional year and the market is expected to register a massive boost in CAGR due to the ongoing pandemic that has considerably augmented its prospects. The increasing amalgamation of technology and the healthcare industry, government initiative for launching telehealth in rural areas, the rise of chronic diseases in remote areas, cost and time efficiency of telehealth are factors that had already paved the way for immense growth in the remote patient monitoring market.
Even before the pandemic, a significant section of healthcare providers was evaluating or had already invested in remote patient monitoring technologies to better assist their patients. But the pandemic has swayed public opinion about remote patient monitoring as well. It seems like a pandemic has created the right moment for the expansion of remote patient monitoring usage. In a recent survey conducted in 2021, 70% of the 300 consumers said they would be willing to participate in an RPM program with their care providers to monitor blood pressure, heart rate, blood sugar, and blood oxygen levels.
Before the pandemic, remote patient monitoring was seen as beneficial to critically ill patients who could not travel to healthcare facilities or patients in remote locations who lived too far from their healthcare facilities to be traveling often. But the pandemic effectively brought the concept of remote patient monitoring and telehealth to everyone irrespective of age, location, and health problems thus highlighting the efficacy and convenience of such a system to the entire healthcare community. Remote patient monitoring programs give patients an opportunity to improve care management at home, reducing the need to travel to the clinic or doctor’s office for regularly scheduled check-ups. And many of these programs give patients peace of mind in knowing their health is being monitored every day, perhaps even in real-time, by their care providers.
Beyond The Pandemic
It’s important to highlight that the benefits of remote patient monitoring are not limited to the pandemic, even though it will undoubtedly aid in the fight against the virus.
Remote patient monitoring makes use of cutting-edge technology to collect and track patient data outside of traditional healthcare settings. One of the first medical disciplines to adopt RPM as a routine practice was cardiology. Patients who used RPM had a 50% lower risk of death from arrhythmias and congestive heart failure than those who had regular, in-person follow-up, according to certain studies.
Investors are also realizing the future potential and promise of remote patient monitoring. Horizon Technology Finance Corporation, for example, announced in 2021 that it has provided a USD 9 million venture loan facility to InfoBionic, Inc. in March 2021. Horizon Technology Finance Corporation is a specialty finance company that provides capital in the form of secured loans to companies in the technology, healthcare information and services, life science, and sustainability industries.
InfoBionic has developed a disruptive SaaS remote monitoring system that has received FDA approval to assist clinicians to detect, identify, and treat cardiac arrhythmias more rapidly. The MoMe Kardia platform by InfoBionic, which uses revolutionary technology similar to in-hospital telemetry-style monitoring, gives physicians full ownership of monitoring services in a scalable approach. Eagle Investment, Excel Venture, and Safeguard Scientifics are among the major investors in InfoBionic. The loan funds will be used for general growth and working capital at InfoBionic.
Others are forming joint ventures to break into the remote patient monitoring industry. For instance, through new cooperation with Carematix, Innovaccer is strengthening its Innovaccer Health Cloud. Carematix specializes in the development of healthcare IoT devices and will be providing technology to Innovaccer that will increase its remote patient monitoring capabilities.
Doctors will be able to access data collected by Carematix devices in the Health Cloud platform as a result of the integration. This information can then be compiled and evaluated to produce predictions about a patient’s health in the future. Doctors can respond to an adverse event more rapidly and use prediction models to identify prospective health issues. Such initiatives clearly underline the fact that remote patient monitoring is ready to become a part of the mainstream healthcare industry and continue to grow even after the pandemic is officially over.