Adriana Allocato (Research Manager, Health Insights, IDC Europe)

In 2019, just 16% of European healthcare providers had adopted remote patient monitoring (RPM) to reduce hospital readmission, while 31% were piloting RPM projects, according to IDC’s Global IoT Survey, 2019. Despite the many advances in mobility and sensor technology, the widespread use of RPM was still struggling to get off the ground.

But after just a few months in 2020, physical distancing has completely changed the scenario, and the outbreak of COVID-19 has accelerated RPM program implementation to support proactive managed care.

Before the pandemic, RPM was used to manage chronic conditions at home, preventing unnecessary visits to the hospital for the most vulnerable patients. But COVID-19 has changed the healthcare system’s monitoring and treatment approaches for patients, and RPM systems are gaining increasing traction for several purposes:

  • To free up busy staff to focus on critical cases who need medical care the most
  • To allow clinicians to monitor vital signs and symptoms after a COVID-19 patient discharge
  • To enable ongoing monitoring of patients outside of the traditional hospital setting
  • To capture and track COVID-19 symptom responses and up-to-date medical information before an appointment
  • To reduce healthcare costs by lowering re-admission rates

RPM solutions have the potential to further digitalize the healthcare system, and COVID-19 is emphasizing this potential. Integrating RPM into the patient pathway increases treatment adherence and access to necessary care. But it also provides room for improved patient experience and more efficient care processes.

But how to feed this trend?

Raising Awareness About RPM to Increase its Uptake

RPM systems deliver essential and relevant patient data to the caregiver irrespective of location. Advanced wireless connectivity, the 5G network, and next-generation telemedicine platforms have become imperative. In addition to rapid technology deployment, clear program staffing and program acceptability for both patients and staff are also essential. All these features shape RPM as a new and powerful way to deliver personalized care.

Yet, the success of RPM relies on efficient data collection. Healthcare providers can leverage the continuous data stream from their patients, which can help to make more informed decisions about ordering tests and procedures.

Many modern and advanced solutions rely on wearables and on smartphones and tablets. Then the transmission of biometric data to the remote platform is automatic. This makes it easier than ever for patients to gather and share health data — and for physicians to make sense of it.

A massive deployment of RPM systems provides the big data, then artificial intelligence and analytics examine it to analyze the underlying condition of the patient. But it also enables healthcare providers to understand patient usage.

So the evolution of RPM will need healthcare providers to review user experience, adoption rate and resulting outcomes.

How Healthcare Providers Can Leverage the Full Potential of RPM

  • Adopting a patient-centered solution. Guidance, training, and patient service channels are essential to ensure correct use and comfort in functionality. This in turn means the collection of more reliable data and a higher rate of integrity and accuracy when it comes to interpreting results.
  • Involving clinicians in the decision process. The integration of this new digital solution into established practices and processes requires a strong engagement from clinical staff. They manage the information overload stemming from many solutions. Full acceptance by clinicians will ease the success and productivity of the platform.
  • Integrate remote healthcare into a new delivery model. The healthcare system continues to embrace technology to enhance the delivery of care. And the adoption of an appropriate infrastructure and operating model becomes a key differentiator.

If you want to know more about the challenges and the opportunities for RPM systems in Europe, please register for our IDC European Healthcare Executive Digital Forum, at which European healthcare leaders will meet to discuss how digital acceleration can be a launchpad for strategic transformation.

For further information on how to join the Summit contact Helena Chappell.

And to learn more about our upcoming research, contact Adriana Allocato, Silvia Piai, Giulia Besana or Nino Giguashvili.