Remote Monitoring for At-Risk Patients
Dr. Ravi Raheja, medical director and CTO of TriageLogic, teamed up with Spry Health to talk about monitoring at-risk patients during the COVID-19 pandemic on April 10th, 2020. Joined by PJ Cobut, CEO & Co-Founder of Spry Health, Dr. Grant Lipman of Emergency Medicine at Stanford Health Care & Clinical Advisor at Spry Health, and Pete Celano, Director of Consumer Health, MedStar Health. The group discussed options for remote patient care and telehealth solutions to help patients virtually.
Remote patient monitoring can change the way the medical community manages patients – especially COVID-19 patients. Even before the pandemic, a few things were true:
- 50% of healthcare costs are driven by 5% of the population
- 2 out of 3 ER visits from privately insurance patients could have been avoided
- More than 40% of physicians express burn-out
Now with the coronavirus pushing medical facilities to capacity, these problems are magnified. The idea of fully remote patient care makes sense on many levels. In addition to mitigating the transfer of contagious diseases and saving patient time, there are significant cost savings, such as reducing unnecessary ER visits.
Telephone hotlines for COVID-related questions and for nurse triage have proven invaluable at a time like this to help evaluate which callers need further help. But there’s one more piece of the puzzle that can enable physicians to help at-risk patients in a timely manner: remote monitoring.
What Does Remote Patient Monitoring Look Like?
Remote patient monitoring means that a medical team is able to regularly receive patient vitals through a device. The provider group evaluates the best device for monitoring the patient and trains the patient on how to place the device and how to regularly send vitals for nurses to follow. The device should be an easy-to-wear technology, to help ensure patients remain compliant. A device that looks like a watch – for example, the FDA-cleared Loop Wearable – will be worn by the patient and monitored by triage nurses. The monitor measures pulse oximetry, respiration rate, and heart rate. It continuously and noninvasively collects vital signs to assess the patient’s baseline and monitor their evolving condition. This allows the patient’s medical team to see how their patient is doing in real time, outside of a medical office setting.
The Process is Simple:
- Prescribe – The patient is evaluated by a provider. These are often patients with a chronic health condition, or patients that are sent home after treatment (such as the COVID-19). If appropriate, a remote monitoring device will be prescribed.
- Monitor – Information from the medical device is sent to a dashboard for all the patients. A triage nurse will monitor the patient’s vital signs, looking for signs of a worsening condition. The nurse will also use specific protocols for the health condition. These include Schmitt-Thompson standardized protocols and additional protocols specific for the chronic health conditions.
- Analyze and Alert – The protocols allow nurses to evaluate which patients require additional physician intervention and which patients require close follow-ups. If needed, a doctor will analyze the information and deliberate on the patient’s needs.
- Intervene – If needed, the doctor can decide that the patient needs to seek further, in-person medical attention.
This process allows a medical facility to use resources carefully. It creates the ability to screen patients accurately and safely, all from the patient’s own home. The device can help soothe a patient’s anxiety about their condition and alleviate their fears, thus preventing unnecessary hospital visits. More importantly, the use of device will also allow providers to intervene before the condition worsens.
Remote monitoring uses machine learning and leverages technology to measure biomarkers that can help medical organizations save time, space, resources, and most importantly, lives. It’s a step away from the episodic, reactive, and expensive industry that many know.
What’s Needed for Remote Monitoring
Remote monitoring, even though it is more cost and time efficient, requires some important infrastructure. TriageLogic’s job is to help set this up, and help medical organizations be successful.
The support that patients will need comes in two categories: clinical and non-clinical support. Clinical support is used during the nurse triage process, the prescribing process, and the monitoring of the device. Non-clinical support comes into play if a patient is having a technical question or issue, or if they have any other general questions. Being ready for both kinds of support 24/7 ensures the success of the program.
TriageLogic can add remote monitoring into nurse triage systems seamlessly, taking remote care to the next level. For more information on remote monitoring, click here.
Watch the webinar below.