Because of Covid-19, healthcare providers needed to be innovative and move patient care beyond the traditional clinical setting.
Health care providers are not only faced with a rising number of Covid-19 patients, but all other healthcare players (clinics, large group providers and so on) are facing incredible challenges with shortage of staff, appointment cancellations, lower revenues and closure. In order to mitigate some of these, healthcare providers have rapidly switched over to virtual.
The one reason in particular that forced providers to rapidly switch from in-person to virtual visits was the dramatic drop of inpatient visits due to Covid-19. Patients that were afraid of coming in contact with Covid-19 stayed home and as a result, physicians experienced a drop of in-patient visits between 50% and 75%
According to some research, more than 33% of patients didn’t attend their scheduled appointments and it’s more likely that this number will continue to rise. However, not everyone can afford not to pay a visit to a doctor’s office. For example, patients with chronic conditions rely on this service in order to adjust their treatment and manage their health.
Those that provide care for chronic patients are moving quickly in order to avoid relapse in illness or the development of a new complication. Furthermore, patients with chronic conditions are at a much higher risk of contracting Covid-19, and with the added higher mortality rate, monitoring these patients is now imperative during this time.
Chronic Conditions in the United States
In America, approximately 133 million US nationals suffer from some form of chronic condition, which is almost 40% of the entire population of the US. And according to some projections, this number might rise up to 157 million Americans living with one chronic condition and about 80 million living with multiple chronic conditions.
When it comes to healthcare costs, it is important to know that nearly 75% of all healthcare spending goes into chronic condition management or treatment.
In order to help patients and hospitals the health care system needs to focus on extending chronic condition management to the patient’s home through telehealth services and Remote Patient Monitoring. This will provide significantly more resource to patients that wants to be more clear on how to manage their condition and it will also provide additional help in managing their conditions.
Why RPM matters?
With the newly implemented social distancing guidelines and hospitals keeping patients out of healthcare settings, some patients with chronic conditions may find themselves isolated. This isolation doesn’t only refer to being cut-off from your social circle, but also from your support circle. And there are numerous studies which prove that loneliness can have significant negative impact on your physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. Furthermore, isolation can also be a cause of variety other health issues like depression, sleep deprivation or lack of good quality sleep, lower executive function and faster cognitive decline.
Chronic patients that are self-isolating because of the pandemic, might experience that their chronic condition is worsening without the regular follow-ups and check-ins with their health provider. But, with the help of RPM, healthcare provider are able to monitor, manage and follow up with their patients no matter if they have an acute or chronic condition. And when you combine RPM and virtual check-ins you can replace in-person visits required for adjusting and managing the treatment. Remote Patient Monitoring will allow providers to:
- Follow the progress and adherence of the treatment.
- Better understand the relation between daily biometric data and prescription or lifestyle behavior.
- Automate the process which will alarm them to act if there are concerning readings.
- Eliminate the manual data collection and data entry.
- Adjust the treatment regularly and improve outcomes.
- Improve number of interventions and timing.
- Reduce hospitalization.
- Prioritize the patients.
RPM will not only provide a detailed picture of the current state of the patient’s health. It will also provide a more complex and comprehensive image of the health status and how their health has developed.
Ongoing Chronic Care Management
In some parts of the country, patients will not be able to get access to the health care that they need due to Covid-19 and in other parts, the providers won’t be able to provider chronic or acute care services due to the pandemic. So having a strong virtual care strategy and implementing it, in order to substitute in-person services is now more important than ever.