Remote Patient Monitoring

As a result of the growing healthcare needs of an aging population, technologies such as remote video monitoring have transpired into a reduction in hospital visits and ensured cost effectiveness within the industry.

Pertaining to various technologies envisaged to manage and monitor a wide array of health related conditions, remote patient monitoring includes the use of devices such as blood-pressure monitors, weight scales and blood-glucose strips among many others. These technologies are useful in the collection and reporting of data and can also be integrated within a healthcare system such as EMR which transmit data to every element in the system and help in alerting clinicians in the event of declining patient health conditions.

Especially beneficial for the elderly who find it difficult to access traditional care settings, these technologies support care coordination and decision support systems for patients. They also incorporate features of remote patient monitoring which can be used by providers such as the Patient Portal.

A report by ‘Kalorama Information’ states that, “Patient monitoring systems with advanced features, especially wireless or remote capability, are among the fastest-growing medical devices. The aging population and the associated increase in diseases such as congestive heart disease and diabetes as well as the cost of treating those conditions, is driving sales of such devices. Use of new patient monitoring technologies can result in a need for fewer personnel, increased coverage by existing personnel, and a reduction in errors and are expected to lead to better patient care and the recognition of serious health problems before they become an issue.”

The report also stated that remote patient monitoring grew to $10.6 billion in 2012 from $8.9 billion in 2011. A future forecast estimates that the value of the market would increase to a staggering $20.9 billion in 2016.

Talking about the growth of the remote patient technology, Melissa Elder, an analyst at ‘Kalorama Information’ said, “We expected growth and that growth was certainly seen between 2011 and 2012. The market has benefited from the demand to move to a more wireless and streamlined operation both within major health facilities and in the home treatment markets. The demand to integrate data processing capabilities and EMR transfer options has also fueled the market.”

According to recent research, sales of remote patient monitoring technologies have increased by 20% in 2013 from the previous year. The United States Healthcare industry can reduce the costs of healthcare by $200 billion in the next 25 years if used with patients suffering from chronic diseases. David Lindeman, Director of the Center for Technology and Aging states, “Remote patient monitoring (RPM) technologies have been shown to be effective in helping to manage chronic disease, post-acute care and monitoring the safety of older adults. These technologies can help slow the progression of chronic disease, speed recovery after discharge from an acute care setting and help vulnerable adults avoid injuries.”

Numerous studies have proven that despite the initial high costs associated with implementation, remote patient monitoring technologies are cost beneficial and have been shown to reduce the amount of hospital visits by at least 26%.

Conclusively, remote patient monitoring technologies are instrumental to the future of the healthcare industry as they will allow providers to keenly engage patients and help them manage their medical conditions with the help of integrated Electronic Health Records and Health Information Exchange. These technologies will be able to monitor patient condition in real-time and improve the overall quality of human life.


Patient Portal – The Vendors Need it too

While providers and patients are considered to be the major beneficiaries of the health IT applications such as Electronic Medical Records (EMR) and patient portal, today, even the product vendors are reaping extravagant profits through them. Although the existence of more than 700 vendors in the market has made the industry quite competitive, not every vendors enjoys the same position as the established vendors do. This case is quite evident when it comes to patient portals, especially.

Many health IT consultants think that EMRs were sufficient to help vendors sustain the existing market share, the ever increasing pressure of competition requires new developments. Although patient engagement and secure patient-physician interaction the major reason behind introducing patient portals, vendors also believe that this could help them attract more clients and make a mark in the market. Interestingly, only a few established vendors are making patient portals and various other applications. This is what gives them an edge over a lot of competitors.

“To keep themselves in the market, vendors should always keep on experimenting with their product and also come up with new ideas that would help them sustain the competition. With such an intense competition, vendors should not risk their position by merely relying on their conventional products”, says a North Dakota based health IT consultant.

One cannot even disagree that patient portals have come a long way from merely being a platform facilitate communication. Established vendors have incorporated various features that allow patients to not only interact with their physicians whenever needed but also perform several administrative tasks without having to visit the physician in person. This means reduced costs associated with making redundant telephonic calls and spending money on fares.

Considering that time is of essence, the finest patient portals allow patients to schedule their appointments online and keep a follow up by making a few clicks. Patients are at complete liberty to access their health records online and even download them if needed. Imagine the ease of staying connected within the care continuum through a simple internet connection. Where patients and physicians are making the most of patient portals, the increasing rate of implementation is definitely helping vendors make profits too.


Patient Portals – A Patient’s Perspective

Patient portal is a web based application which allows patients to communicate and interact with their physicians and healthcare providers. Due to the benefits of this technology, it’s gaining more popularity amongst patients nationwide by the day. Numerous redundancies in the healthcare industry are bypassed by employing patient portals. Adopting this technology enables you to enhance your practice efficiency as it allows secure access for patients to their health information from anywhere at any time. As a result of this capability employees at any practice can save a significant amount of time spent on a patient’s record.

Forms which otherwise have to be filled out manually in the doctor’s office requiring the physical presence of the patient may now be done electronically through a patient portal. Some of the benefits to the patients via this technology are listed below.

Educational Content – Clinicians may address their patients on various health related concerns which would have a more direct and personal impact and educate them.

Online Messaging – Patients have a quicker and easier approach for getting in touch with their physicians via a patient portal. Instead of reaching them physically or over the phone at odd hours, a patient can simply leave a message for their doctor and get a response very quickly.

Schedule Online – Patients can now schedule appointments online through their patient portal which is much simpler than the conventional method of scheduling an appointment. Patients can view the available time slots of their physicians and may schedule a time which is convenient for them.

View Lab Results – Lab results may be easily viewed online in the software eliminating all the hassles otherwise.

Information Updates – Patients may update any demographic changes in their records as well as any changes in their insurance through the portal.

It’s very easy to see the appeal in such a platform for patients; moreover, it is practical for the healthcare provider as well. Patient Portals apart from helping practices complying with meaningful use policies are very advantageous for clinicians and patients alike. The bottom line which translates through this innovative solution is that it’s saving time and money for both patients and doctors.


The Importance of the Patient Portal for Modern Practices

History has showed us that businesses that utilize technology end up accumulating faster growth and sustainability, when compared with those that remain loyal to the conventional ways of doing business. Technology holds the key to transform processes in almost every industry, while saving time and hassle for those that utilize it.

Technology has lent a helping hand to entrepreneurs and businesses with scarce resources to effectively measure growth and monitor performance. Like many before it, the healthcare industry experts have also noticed the potential benefits from the utilization of healthcare technology or health IT, with the government providing financial incentives to providers with paperless practices. With the Obama administration focusing on the development and adoption of Electronic Medical Records, the health IT industry has seen a surge in investment opportunities. Having seen the numerous benefits of EMR and Practice Management solutions such as the reduction of cost and hassle along with faster processing, a vast majority of providers is convinced that these IT solutions have brought their practices into the 21st century.

Patient Portal

Although the initial adoption rates were sluggish, recent months have shown a significant improvement in the adoption rates across the nation. Many believe that this is a direct response to the development of Patient Portals. Although still in their infancy, these portals are designed to save time for practice staff and patients when requesting prescription refills, appointments, accessing labs, reviewing clinical documentation or monitoring health through built-in alerts. The recent surge in the development of Cloud based systems has meant that the availability of healthcare records is now more mobile than ever before.

The Patient Portal provides a real-time connection between physicians and their patients at all times, which ensures that physicians can remotely answer patient enquiries immediately. This introduction has meant that patients do not always have to be physically present in the doctor’s office to have them refill their prescription or request appointments – making the entire process more efficient. This also means that a doctor’s office phone can now ring a lot less than it used to because patients do not need to call every time they need to request an appointment. The fact that these Portals allow patients to review their health records online, set personal health goals, get refills, schedule appointments, obtain test results and share their health information with other physicians ensures better health maintenance and is inevitably a bonus for physicians and patients alike.

“This is probably one of the best things to happen in the world of health IT. Physicians have always looked for a better way to remain connected with their patients and Patient Portals have provided just that. One can only imagine what the Patient Portals of the future will be like”, says a health IT expert.

From the patient’s perspective, the overall improvement in their experience because of these portals has given them a valid reason to differentiate when choosing their healthcare provider.


Patient Portal – Helping Patients Along the Way

Recently, during a discussion with my colleague I found out some impressive facts about patient portals. Over the last few years, patient portals have been completely transformed; no longer are they merely considered to be simplistic communication tools that allow physicians and patients to interact. In fact, these web based portals have come a long way to become a multi-purpose solution for patients. While EMR and practice management systems are meant to facilitate physicians on both clinical and administrative workflow management respectively, patient portals are programmed to provide patients with details regarding their entire clinical journey.

“Once the clinical and non-clinical procedures are completed, all information related to the patient in made available on the patient portal. Patients can simply login and view it online or even download it if they want. This has actually helped abate the gaps that existed in ensuring better care connectivity”, says a New Hampshire based physician.

Let’s talk about each of the clinical, administrative, and financial aspects individually. Patient portals enable patients to instantaneously access their lab results and the details of other treatments that the individual has undergone. This allows them to generate queries about their concerns and even verify the treatment details and get educated on a particular test or procedure. In a nutshell, patients have the liberty to access their health records from anywhere at any time. Hence, it would not be absurd to say that patients have an option to review their clinical summaries without having to visit their physicians in person.

“I consider patient portals to be one of the many means through which care connectivity is improving. Besides providing basic health related information, physicians also help patients get educated on various diseases and treatments”, says a Nebraska based health IT consultant.

Today, realizing that time is of essence, established vendors have provided patients with the option to streamline their administrative tasks on their end through patient portals. The finest portals allow patients to schedule appointments while sitting at home, without making prolonged phone calls, requesting prescription refills, fill in their medical histories, demographics etc before they visit the provider. Patient portals also provide physicians with their billing details. From providing the insurance details to co-pays, patient portals provide an analysis of all the major as well as minor financial details to the patients – allowing them to verify if the basis of bill generations is legitimate or not.

Therefore, one can easily establish that patient portals have become all-in-one solutions for patients. And with the passage of time, health IT would have a lot more to bring to the table.