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RPM benefits overview

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A range of wireless tools helps providers track data, curb readmissions, and improve outcomes after a patient’s discharge. Despite the best efforts of clinicians, some hospital readmissions are necessary and unavoidable. A cardiac patient may develop fluid around his or her heart, or infection could set in at a surgical site. Other discharged patients may show up in the emergency department after experiencing vague symptoms such as dizziness or a spike in blood pressure, concerns that could be effectively treated without hospitalization, says Dr. Peyman Benharash, director of the cardiac telehealth program at UCLA Health. 

It’s why the organization relies on remote patient monitoring (RPM) and telehealth solutions to reduce readmissions and to improve outcomes. When deemed ready, some patients are sent home with wearable tools that track metrics such as blood pressure, weight, and oxygen saturation. Combined with videoconferencing, the technology offers a way to keep tabs from afar. 

“You can see their vital signs through the monitoring and see the surgical incisions with video, and you’re able to tell if they’re healing well,” says Benharash. “It’s essentially an extension of being in the hospital.” 

Such continuity of care helps save time and avoid confusion (another provider’s electronic health record platform could be from a different vendor and lack timely context, for example). And if concerns are detected virtually in the days ahead, the original providers can bring patients back for expedited consultations and treatment, potentially preventing complications. 

The technology appears to have a willing audience: A 2019 survey conducted by a wearable solutions provider found that two-thirds of patients 40 and older would utilize a health monitoring device if it meant they could reduce the number of times they had to physically visit a doctor or hospital.