Beyond The ICU: Maintaining Standards in Remote Patient Monitoring
Continuous, uninterrupted Patient Monitoring is a critical element in the treatment of intensive care patients. Vital signs such as temperature, respiratory rate, heart rate and blood pressure must be kept under constant surveillance, as early recognition and prompt treatment of escalating symptoms improves recovery rates and reduces the risk of prolonged hospitalization or worse.
The drawback with traditional ICU monitoring devices has been the mass of invasive Arterial Catheters, tubes and wires required to connect them to patients and their associated cost, infection rates, and burden on clinical staff. Moreover, these traditional monitors tether patients expensive to pole-mounted equipment that create difficulty when moving patients across the care continuum. .
New innovations in non-invasive, wireless patient monitoring using wearable sensors can provide continuous, non-interrupted data with full freedom of movement in an environment that is more comfortable for the patient, less costly for the hospital, and easier to manage for clinicians.
Devices such as Caretaker’s simple wearable finger sensor have been found to measure continuous Beat-by-Beat Blood Pressure, hemodynamics and vital signs at ICU levels of accuracy and are poised to supplement invasive monitoring equipment over the next few years.
But what about patient monitoring beyond the ICU?
Benefits of Remote Patient Monitoring
There are many patients whose only need to visit a hospital or clinic is for chronic care or followup treatment. When patients can receive the same level of monitoring outside of hospital, the burden on both patient and hospital is reduced. For the patient, remote monitoring enables potential problems to be identified sooner, leading to earlier intervention and a reduction in hospitalizations. Remote monitoring also engages the patient more actively in their own care and provides a level of reassurance that is beneficial to their overall wellbeing.
For care providers, remote monitoring enables a range of efficiencies, such as greater numbers of patients being managed per care manager, greater availability of beds, and more streamlined workflows, all of which add up to cost savings and better clinical outcomes.
Patients with long-term conditions, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which need constant monitoring, have the chance to enjoy a better quality of life, less disrupted by hospital visits and invasive monitoring.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought Remote Patient monitoring into the mainstream, as clicans have utilized wireless monitoring to keep their clinical staff safely distanced from infected patients, without sacrificing the quality of continuous vital signs data that drive treatment decisions.
Importance of Robust Monitoring and Reporting
Remote patient monitoring is poised to replace regular hospital visits with non-invasive, constant, beat-by-beat vital signs monitoring from anywhere in the world, using internet connected wireless monitoring devices. This holds enormous promise for the healthcare sector, and for patients.
But there are pitfalls to watch out for with some remote monitoring devices. The sharing of data via the internet offers a potential gateway for cybercriminals to steal highly sensitive information or plant malware that can bring down a hospital’s computer systems – or threaten to for a ransom. Devices and systems need to be properly protected with robust data security, such as encrypted reporting.
Patient compliance and device malfunction are other threats. Both patient and care provider need to know that they can trust the monitoring device to deliver consistently reliable, highly accurate measurements without fail, and wireless devices must be simple and comfortable for the patient in order to maximize use. Any risk of device failure negates the benefit of having remote monitoring in the first place, by creating anomalies and inconsistencies that produce misleading reports.
So the quality and usability of remote monitoring devices is paramount. Accuracy, reliability, security, and simplicity of use must be assured before a care provider can send patients home to be monitored remotely.
Caretaker Remote Monitoring
Caretaker Medical offers a solution that addresses the monitoring needs of modern care providers, both inside and outside the hospital setting, with a wearable wireless monitor that provides ICU level accuracy, 1-button setup simplicity, and encrypted data flows. Utilizing a simple finger sensor and wireless wrist device, Caretaker measures Continuous Beat-by-Beat Blood pressure and vital signs to eliminate “blind spots” between traditional spot-check readings. Caretaker’s quality and accuracy of its measurements has been tested and approved by the US Food and Drug Administration and the European Union CE compliance standard, Using patented algorithms, the Caretaker continuously measures and reports hemodynamic measurements, and with additional wireless sensors measures ECG, Temperature, SPO2, and ETCO2 for viewing on a secure Cloud Portal , from anywhere in the world.
Wireless Remote patient monitoring is rapidly establishing its place in the healthcare environment, and as care providers and patients become more accustomed to this method of patient care, it will become the norm. And the days of bulky “spot check” blood pressure cuffs wired pole-mount monitors will soon give way to fully wireless, non-invasive, uninterrupted patient monitoring without wired connections that impede patient movement and reduce visibility to continuous data.