Cardiovascular disease in the U.S.

February is Heart Disease Awareness Month, and did you know that heart disease is the number one cause of death in the US? Not only is heart disease on the rise, but nearly half of all adults in the United States have some form of heart disease.1 The good news is that an estimated 80% of heart disease is preventable through controlling high blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes and adopting healthy lifestyle behaviors.2

However, when making changes to diet and lifestyle are not enough, healthcare providers may use connective health technologies such as remote patient monitoring (RPM) to help improve cardiovascular disease management and outcomes.3

What is RPM?

Remote patient monitoring is a healthcare delivery method that leverages digital technologies to monitor patients outside of conventional clinical settings, such as in the home or in a remote area. RPM technology enables clinicians to remotely monitor, review and analyze their patients’ conditions while receiving actionable health data to update care plans, triage and treat patients earlier before a costly event takes place.

RPM offers providers insights into their patients’ daily lives and habits outside of the doctor’s office. For example, a physician can monitor fluctuations in blood glucose levels to help understand when a patient’s diabetes is not being appropriately controlled. If necessary, the provider can intervene and determine the best course of treatment.

What are the benefits of RPM?

From increasing access to care and improving health outcomes to minimizing COVID-19 risk and encouraging patient engagement, there are numerous benefits to RPM for healthcare organizations, patients, and providers.

For providers, RPM enables more data-driven clinical decision-making. RPM provides clinicians with a 360° view of a patient’s health over time, increasing visibility into patient adherence and allowing for more timely intervention.

For patients, RPM can help reduce barriers to care, such as transportation, location, and difficulty getting to and from appointments due to climate challenges.  It helps to increase a patient’s access to care, particularly for those in rural areas, and can often improve patient-provider communication. Patients may become more actively involved in their care and self-management, resulting in more positive health outcomes.

For healthcare organizations, RPM can be implemented across a variety of care settings and patient populations, including COPD, CHF, diabetes, hypertension, post-surgical and more. It is also one of the most effective ways to manage chronic disease as it enables data-driven, preventative care delivery.

How does RPM work?

First, if eligible, the provider will discuss remote patient monitoring with the patient. With the patient’s consent, the provider will implement a remote patient monitoring program.  The patient will be provided with the necessary equipment to collect their health data and additional education to help them understand how to use the technology.

Next, the patient will take their daily vitals through devices such as blood pressure cuffs, pulse oximeters, glucometers, weighing scales and more. Patients can record their vitals daily or according to their provider’s direction. The devices relay the patients’ vitals to a hub, which aggregates the health information with relevant data from their patient portal and electronic medical records (EMR).

Then the healthcare provider receives actionable information, analytics, and recommendations so they can monitor changes, adjust the patient’s care plan, and mitigate any potential issues. If a reading is out of range, the provider is notified with risk alerts, which helps the provider respond quickly to reduce any complications and keep patients on track.

Improving cardiovascular disease outcomes with RPM

The American Heart Association strongly supports the use of RPM technologies for better cardiovascular disease outcomes, including for hypertension, heart failure and arrhythmias. The use of RPM has been shown to help reduce systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure significantly compared to standard care.  Evidence has also demonstrated that RPM can help lower the risk of heart failure, hospital admissions and mortality.3

RPM is a proven and valuable tool that assists healthcare providers in making more informed clinical decisions that improve health outcomes, specifically in patients with chronic conditions such as cardiovascular disease. The technology helps facilitate more timely care by supporting earlier detection of clinical deterioration and enabling quicker interventions. Most importantly, RPM can empower patients to become more active participants in their care and better manage their overall health.

References:

  1. https://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/facts.htm
  2. https://www.heart.org/en/get-involved/advocate/federal-priorities/cdc-prevention-programs
  3. https://www.heart.org/-/media/files/about-us/policy-research/policy-positions/clinical-care/remote-patient-monitoring-guidance-2019.pdf?la=en
  4. https://www.practicalcardiology.com/view/how-remote-patient-monitoring-is-changing-the-practice-of-cardiology
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