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Remote Patient Monitoring — Overdue or Overused?

  • Keizra Mecklai, B.S.,

  • Nicholas Smith, B.S.,

  • Ariel D. Stern, Ph.D.,

  • and Daniel B. Kramer, M.D., M.P.H.

The Covid-19 pandemic has challenged clinicians to find innovative ways to provide essential services while minimizing risks for themselves and their patients. These approaches increasingly leverage remote patient monitoring (RPM), using technology to support treatment for chronic conditions. As the use of RPM services grows, clinicians, payers, and patients face important questions regarding the volume, value, and appropriate use of this care model.

RPM has long been integrated into focused areas of disease management, such as care of patients with pacemakers or implantable cardioverter–defibrillators. RPM for these patients can reduce costs and supplement or replace in-office care, while offering convenience and heightened surveillance for clinical events. In recent years, RPM technology has expanded into new areas, including chronic and acute care management for multiple common conditions. Devices used in patients’ homes now capture physiological parameters such as weight, blood pressure, oxygen saturation, and blood glucose levels and transmit these data to clinicians for review. For example, wrist-worn pulse oximeters transmitting oxygen-saturation data may be used to monitor lung function in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and continuous glucose monitors may wirelessly transmit to physicians information about blood-sugar control in diabetic patients at different times of day and between office visits.

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