Remote monitoring could extend the continuum of care indefinitely.
The rise of digitization has caused an evolution in the standard point of care. Patients can take a picture of their rash, upload it to a mobile health (mHealth) app, and within minutes receive a diagnosis and prescription from a certified doctor.
What’s more, as wearables competition heats up, patients have more and better opportunities to stay in contact with their physicians without ever entering the clinic.
Take Samsung’s Galaxy Watch Active, for example. The watch comes with an integrated heart rate monitor that instantly sends an alert when an abnormal heart rate is detected. Or AT&T’s One Pulse smartwatch, which gives near real-time data, allowing clinicians and caregivers to intervene when necessary. The watch monitors users 24/7, issues medication reminders, auto prescription refills, and even has a fall detector.
Kevin Jones, senior director of digital health at Samsung, told Inside Digital Health™ that the increase in remote monitoring is being driven by the transition from volume to value in healthcare. And Jerry Berger, senior manager of healthcare solutions at Samsung, said that these solutions move the point of care from the hospital to the home. A smartphone, watch or tablet can gather information on a user all day, and that information can be stored in the cloud and can be used by a provider to measure and monitor the patient without the need for them to go to the hospital, they said.
According to some experts, remote monitoring gives us a glimpse of what healthcare will look like in forthcoming years and decades.
“My view has always been that instead of building more and more tertiary care temples of medicine, that the hospital of tomorrow will be, in many ways, the home — that we will care for patients utilizing technology and AI — building on knowledge from big data,” said David E. Albert, M.D., founder and chief medical officer at AliveCor. "We will enable patients to be diagnosed and treated outside of ivory tower institutions."
Geeta Nayyar, M.D., MBA, chief healthcare and innovation officer at Femwell Group Health in Florida, said that the rise of digital healthcare solutions are ushering in a new way to deliver treatment. They should not be overlooked, she said.
“The hospital of tomorrow is in the home, and so is the doctor, nurse and patient. It could be remote patient monitoring, virtual visits, or the doc actually coming to the household, assessing the home environment and socioeconomic status along with diagnosis and treatment,” Nayyar said.
Like Jones said, technology is playing an ever-more important role in driving better patient outcomes and engagement. As improved wearable devices and mHealth applications see more widespread use, we can expect a greater shift in the definition of "point of care."
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