Major players like Humana, AT&T, Healthsense, and Qualcomm are now taking part in pilot programs that deploy the concept of remote patient monitoring in a variety of ways. One project at Palomar Medical Center in Escondido, Calif., is using a small, wrist-worn device that monitors a patient's vital signs. The device, created by Sotera Wireless, measures the patient's heart rate, body temperature, and blood oxygen levels and sends the data to his or her physician's office several times a day.
"Having reliable data about a patient's condition is essential to responding to changes at the earliest possible time and preventing deterioration of their condition or even death," says Ben Kanter, chief medical information officer for Palomar Health, which operates three hospitals in San Diego County.
Another project conducted by Centura Health at Home and six hospitals in Denver involved 200 patients who were monitored at home following hospitalizations related to COPD, congestive heart failure, or diabetes. The pilot program includes daily teleconferences between physicians and patients at home.
Patients participating in the program had a 6.2% rate of 30-day readmission compared to an 18% rate among patients with similar conditions in the general patient population.