Posted on July 2, 2014 by Bobby Gheorghiu
Although Canada’s health care system faces many challenges ahead, there is also tremendous innovation happening that is transforming the way health care is delivered. Through the use of technology, for example, health care can be brought closer to the patient — it can be accessed at the touch of a tablet or specialized device, such as a blood pressure cuff or wireless scale, through which health care providers monitor changes in a patient’s condition and coach them on how to manage their health — and before it deteriorates, requiring a trip to the emergency room.
This is just one of the benefits of Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM). A recent study found it can reduce emergency visits and in-patient hospitalizations, improve the quality of life, increase patient satisfaction and reduce the burden on care givers.
The study, Connecting Patients with Providers: A Pan-Canadian Study on Remote Patient Monitoring, was conducted by Ernst & Young LLP (EY) on behalf of Canada Health Infoway and it examines the current state of RPM as well as emerging solutions and critical success factors for deployment on a larger scale.
While RPM programs have traditionally focused on high-risk patients with chronic diseases such as Congestive Heart Failure, the study suggests that there is potential to realize further benefits as these programs expand to meet the needs of more Canadians. In addition, the study encourages exploration of emerging technologies and care models, including the use of consumer devices (e.g., smartphones and tablets) and their use in monitoring a variety of patient groups with different severities of illness.
Remote patient monitoring can make it easier for patients to manage their condition — and with fewer disruptions to their life. This could both improve the quality of life for patients and reduce the burden on the health care system. What are your thoughts on the potential benefits of remote patient monitoring?
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Bobby works with stakeholders in academia, private and public sectors to develop and monitor performance targets for initiatives such as PrescribeIT®, Canada’s national e-prescribing service, to ensure widespread adoption of technology and to demonstrate tangible benefits of investments in digital health. He holds an MHSc in Health Policy, Management, and Evaluation from the University of Toronto.