This article originally appeared in Medicine on the Net, November 2013.
Remote patient monitoring has been around for nearly a decade, but the practice is beginning to gain more traction on the strength of new technologies and a more urgent need to keep costs down, two factors that are expected to drive growth and generate billions of dollars in cost savings over the next five years.
Helping to drive that expansion are new regulations that penalize hospitals that exceed set standards for preventable readmissions of Medicare patients. The threat of those penalties is prompting hospitals to devise new ways to keep patients healthy so that they don't come back, something remote patient monitoring is designed to do.
The Center for Connected Health has been testing remote patient monitoring for nearly a decade through a variety of programs. In 2006, it introduced a pilot program in the Boston area with Partners HealthCare called the Connected Cardiac Care Program (CCCP). Since then, the program has enrolled more than 1,200 patients and produced a 50% reduction in heart failure-related 30-day readmissions and a 44% reduction in non-heart failure-related readmissions.
"What we found is that patients take better care of themselves when they're being monitored," said Joseph Kvedar, MD, founder and director of the Center for Connected Health. "They also learn how certain behaviors can affect their health and those two things have combined to produce a 50% reduction in preventable readmissions."