Remote Patient Monitoring vs. Telehealth

by
Clearstep Team

Remote patient monitoring and telehealth are terms people frequently use when discussing modern medical care.

You might be curious about what remote patient monitoring and telehealth are and the differences between the two.

We’ll define remote patient monitoring and telehealth, their applications, benefits, and how they change how healthcare systems and patients interact. 

Related: What is Telemedicine? A Complete Guide

What Is Remote Patient Monitoring?

Remote patient monitoring (RPM) uses portable digital technologies to monitor and record medical data from patients remotely and then transmit this information to healthcare providers in a different location for review and follow-up care as necessary.

It’s important to note that healthcare systems intend for remote patient monitoring to complement routine appointments and not replace them. Many patients with chronic conditions see doctors in person every 3 to 6 months or when their health starts to deteriorate.

The ability of healthcare providers to monitor a patient’s daily health enables them to enact proactive care treatment options and medications.

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What Is Telehealth?

Telehealth, in essence, is health care systems using technology to provide virtual healthcare services to patients remotely. 

Telehealth technologies include telephones, computers, videoconferencing, cameras, the internet, and wireless and satellite communications.

Examples of Telehealth

  • Virtual visits with healthcare professionals using video chat or a phone call
  • AI Chatbots for virtual triage
  • Finding a doctor and booking appointments online
  • Remote Patient Monitoring
  • Surgeons performing surgery remotely using robots
  • Location sensors that alert caregivers when patients with dementia leave their house
  • Messaging a provider through your electronic health record
  • Automated reminders for prescriptions or follow-up appointments

Telehealth has many benefits that guarantee its continued utilization and growth in post-pandemic times.

Benefits of Telehealth

  • Convenience - It’s much easier for people to do a telehealth visit than an in-person visit.
  • Accessibility - For people who live in rural areas, are handicapped or disabled, or have limited access to transportation, telehealth can provide easier access to primary and specialty care.
  • Overcoming Language Barriers - It’s easier for interpreters to join a telehealth call virtually than from a specific location.
  • Discretion for Mental Health Issues - For those struggling with mental health issues, overcoming the stigma of treatment can be challenging. Telehealth allows patients to receive treatment from a more comfortable setting.

How Is Remote Patient Monitoring Different From Telehealth?

Remote patient monitoring uses specific technologies that allow clinicians to monitor and manage a patient’s chronic or acute conditions from the patient’s home. 

First, let’s look at some specific types of remote monitoring devices.

Remote Patient Monitoring Devices

  • Weight Scales
  • Blood Pressure Monitors
  • Pulse Oximeters
  • Blood Glucose Meters
  • Sleep Apnea Monitors

Telehealth is a broader, more general term encompassing the entire industry, technologies, and methodologies to provide remote healthcare. 

Telehealth can include any device that can connect a patient remotely to a healthcare provider like a tablet, computer, smartphone, and remote patient monitoring devices.

Related: How AI Chat Increases Health Systems’ Clinical Capacity and Builds Brand Loyalty

Doctor on Video Consultation

When Should You Use Remote Patient Monitoring?

Healthcare systems can use remote patient monitoring to treat acute and chronic conditions. These technologies work well with patients who need to be monitored regularly for specific health conditions or who have difficulty traveling.

Healthcare providers can track many conditions and symptoms via remote patient monitoring.

Symptoms and Conditions Tracked by Remote Patient Monitoring

  • Diabetes
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Asthma
  • Weight Gain or Loss
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
  • Heart Conditions
  • Sleep Apnea

Clinical Journeys

Clinical Journeys is part of Clearstep’s Smart Care Routing™ platform that helps health care systems personalize their patients’ remote monitoring and healthcare management.

Using customized or pre-built logic, Clinical Journeys help support a patient’s journey between or after appointments

Clinical Journey’s Applications

  • COVID Care - Gives healthcare systems the ability to remotely check in after a patient tests positive for COVID to see if their condition is getting better or worsening. It can automatically provide the next steps for care determined by the patient’s condition.
  • Post-Discharge Monitoring - Tracking a patient’s symptoms after discharge to see if they are improving or getting worse. If symptoms get worse, care escalation is automatically triggered for the next best steps for the patient. As they improve, the AI will automatically stop monitoring workflows.
  • Post-Diagnosis Support - Help patients with chronic conditions, and manage the next best steps in treatment following a diagnosis. You can also set up automatic check-ins and send important care reminders to help support better health outcomes.

Related: 8 Benefits of Telemedicine That Health Systems Should Know

White Coat Hypertension

An interesting use case for remote patient monitoring provides insight and data into patients suffering from white coat hypertension. White coat hypertension is when a patient’s blood pressure readings are significantly and routinely higher at the doctor’s office than in normal conditions.

While in some cases, white coat hypertension might be caused by the stress of a visit to the doctor. White coat hypertension can also be a red flag for other long-term hypertension issues. 

In addition, remote patient monitoring can help doctors better discern what, if any, treatment options are needed. 

A person performing Diabetes Testing

Diabetic Care

Providing diabetic patients with remote monitoring devices like glucose monitors, insulin pumps, activity trackers, blood pressure monitors, and scales can give doctors regular, real-time data about their patients. This data helps them better evaluate patient conditions and react quickly to abnormal readings.

These remote monitoring tools can also empower the patients to feel more in control of their health by allowing patients to provide data from their homes and reducing the need for office visits.  

Remote monitoring tools also help increase a patient’s awareness of their condition and help them stay on track with their treatment programs. 

Do you want to know how Clearstep’s Smart Care Routing™ helps increase patient satisfaction and retention? Click here to learn more about Clearstep’s patient-centric approach!

Summary

Remote patient monitoring allows health care providers to monitor and track in real-time the conditions and symptoms of their patients using the latest technology.

Telehealth encompasses the industry as a whole that uses personal communication devices like cell phones, tablets, and computers that remotely connect patients and doctors in different locations. Remote patient monitoring and its devices are a component of telehealth.

Medical AI chat solutions like Clearstep’s Smart Care Routing™ are revolutionizing how healthcare systems engage and interact with their patients. It can assist them in almost all aspects of telemedicine, including remote patient monitoring.

The future of telehealth is bright as patients, and healthcare systems enjoy the convenience, cost savings, and improved healthcare access it provides.

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