This article appears in the April, 2014 issue of Medicine on the Net.
When providers began testing the concept of remote patient monitoring as a way to track patients outside a clinical setting, nobody was sure how well it would work. Now, the practice is booming, with some of the largest insurers and high-tech companies in the world participating in pilot programs.
Hospitals and technology companies are involved in multiple pilot programs that track patients from their homes after they are discharged from the hospital or monitor patients with chronic illnesses "passively" to track their everyday movements in an attempt to identify problems before they become serious. In both approaches, the goal is to keep patients healthier and generate savings by preventing expensive emergency department visits and hospitalizations.
A report from the Center for Technology and Aging (CTA) estimates that "the U.S. healthcare system could reduce costs by nearly $200 billion over the next 25 years if remote patient monitoring tools are used routinely in cases of congestive heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease [COPD], and chronic wounds or skin ulcers."