The final piece for RPM’s fullest potential is timely access to data. In the case of infection monitoring, time is of the essence. Or if a patient is being treated for heart conditions, it is important to know as soon as certain problem indicators are happening. A key challenge with data access is network availability. Not all consumers have a home network, but with the prevalence of mobile phones, network connectivity has become pervasive. It has become the most common solution to providing “real-time” access to the data on wearable devices.
However, the mobile phone solution is not without its challenges. A personal device can vary greatly from person to person, thus reducing the overall dependability of the solution (e.g., compatibility, storage space, performance). The industry is taking steps to alleviate the network problem. Some are providing patients with a provisioned phone. Others are optimizing data management to limit the traffic volume, and still, others are looking into specialized network devices for managing and transmitting healthcare data.
The ability for providers to monitor key indicators of disease remotely could not only bring down costs and the number of unnecessary visits, but drastically improve preventative, proactive care. Telemedicine and remote patient monitoring are essential to a future where we are focused on precision health, not only precision medicine. With medical-grade wearables, providers will have broader and deeper insights into your health, not only for diagnosis and treatment but also for prevention. Shortly, a provider’s visit may happen completely from the comfort of your home.viii