Remote patient monitoring (RPM), also called homecare telehealth, is a type of ambulatory healthcare that allows a patient to use a mobile medical device to perform a routine test and send the test data to a healthcare professional in real-time.
RPM technology includes daily monitoring devices such as glucose meters for patients with diabetes and heart or blood pressure monitors for patients receiving cardiac care. Data can be sent to a physician's office by using a special telehealth computer system, by using a special software application installed on the patient's Internet-capable home computer or by having the patient use a application on his smartphone.
The data the patient sends is stored in a relational database so the healthcare professional can view the data as a specific instance or as a trend. If anything is out of the ordinary, the physician can contact the patient to discuss care options. In some cases, software capable of analyzing data trends will alert the patient to contact the physician.
RPM is frequently used with the elderly and the chronically ill, two groups of people who have high levels of medical need. Remote monitoring techniques allow these patients and their physicians to closely monitor medical conditions and, if need be, intervene. According to the National Broadband Plan drafted earlier this year by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the use of remote patient monitoring technology in conjunction with electronic health records (EHR) could save the health care industry $700 billion over 15 to 20 years.