The Growing World Of Remote Patient Monitoring
Investment into technology within the medical industry has grown massively recently with the digital health market expected to be worth over $639.4 billion by 2026.
Within the world of digital healthcare, Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) has been a prominent part of MedTech for a while now, with devices designed to monitor blood glucose levels and oxygen levels being prime examples. But due to the recent coronavirus pandemic, growth in the RPM world has been massively accelerated with the global market size for RPM technology projected to be $2936.38 million by 2025.
A recent example of growth in this sector is Boston-based company Current Health announcing that they were planning on investing $43 million to scale up their RPM solution, which will require them to double their workforce in the next 12 months.
The COVID Effect
As lockdowns and high COVID-19 infection rates hit during 2019 & 2020 it meant it was safer for patients to remain at home, so many hospitals turned to RPM in order to continue to provide essential care to patients. RPM devices tracked how a patient was doing and then alerted doctors in real-time if any issues or complications arose.
Going forward it is forecast that RPM will continue to expand as it becomes commonplace and part of the ‘new normal.’ From a user’s point of view it will be a preferable way of receiving ongoing treatment as it will reduce the amount of time they need to spend attending appointments so it gives them a higher degree of flexibility to get on with life.
What Makes A Good RPM Device?
Within the RPM industry there are countless devices available (too many to list here!) and several big players including VRI, ResMed, Senseonics, Dexcom, Tyto Care, Teladoc and Philips.
But what makes the good devices stand out? Let’s take a look at four key components that are essential in ensuring a remote patient monitoring device is useful to both the patient and the doctor.
1. Size And Portability
First and foremost no one wants to be carrying around something too cumbersome or ultimately it becomes a nuisance and then probably gets left to one side. So ensuring that the device is small and portable is where any successful RPM device should start.
Additionally, many devices require disposable parts e.g. blood glucose monitoring strips, so you want to make sure that the device and all supporting paraphernalia can be stored effectively e.g. a pocket size case where you can keep the device and that day’s disposables.
2. Battery Life
If you look at your phone, laptop or tablet right now I’d put a bet on the remaining battery life being less than you’d ideally like. It’s why most of us are forever in pursuit of a plug to give our phone a bit more juice.
The same applies to RPM devices. We don’t want to have to have another device which constantly needs charging so designing one with a good lasting battery life is essential to make sure they are used and recommended.
3. Data Security
Important and at times highly sensitive patient data can be stored on these devices so in order to be a success they need to provide best-in-class security.
Devices should provide data encryption at rest and when the data is being transferred from patient to doctor. This will keep data secure and safe from potential malicious attacks from hackers.
4. Exporting The Data
So you’ve designed a fantastic device that can track and record a wide range of patient information - great, but if this data can’t be easily exported and integrated into the systems used by the doctors then it renders your device essentially useless.
Getting the data out of the device and into the hands of the doctors is arguably the most important component of a successful RPM device. Data needs to be accurately exported regularly and in some cases constantly in real-time. From here a doctor can fully examine the patient’s data in order to identify issues, trends etc.
Find out more
What are your thoughts on remote patient devices? Have you had any good or bad experiences with them? Let us know in the comments section below.
It’s certainly a growth area and an interesting one so I’m sure we will revisit it in future blogs - drop me a line if there’s a specific area you’d like us to cover.
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