The profound impact of COVID-19 has changed the lives of people all over the world.

As social distancing became the new normal, new patterns of behaviour and expectations emerged between patients and physicians.

One outcome of this has been an increase in the use of remote patient monitoring (RPM) technology, which can allow patients to receive treatment without travelling to hospital.

For example, the Health Recovery Solutions (HRS) COVID-19 Guideline RPM was used during the pandemic to help manage patients with chronic diseases, so physicians could remotely monitor their health condition and track changes in real-time.

Growth of remote monitoring technology

The healthcare industry is utilising RPM technology for two primary reasons. Firstly, it provides continuous health condition monitoring for patients with a personal or family history of chronic disease.

Secondly, RPM can reduce unnecessary hospital visits – especially for patients with chronic disease who need to be careful about exposure to viruses.

A one-year-long study, conducted by Pennsylvania-based Capital Blue Cross and mHealth technology firm Geneia, found one in four cardiac patients were readmitted after 30 days, and two-thirds of these readmissions were preventable.

The study showed that adopting RPMs led to a 30% decrease in readmissions, saving more than $8,000 (€7,091) in costs per patient.

Trend for miniaturization

As the healthcare industry turns to value-based care, reducing readmission rates for hospitals has become the ultimate goal.

Follow-up care using RPM can lead to lower readmission rates, as well as an overall improvement in the hospital system.

The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center achieved a patient satisfaction rate of more than 90% and a 76% reduction in readmission rate by providing RPM devices to patients.  

As technology becomes more advanced, the need for efficiency and convenience grows leading to a trend emerging for miniaturization.

One example of this is CART-I from Korean firm Sky Labs – a wearable ring-type medical device which allows continuous cardiac monitoring without user intervention.

Using the finger as a measurement site provides accuracy and improved signal quality compared to other types of devices. Ring-type devices also easier make it easier to affix sensors to the skin and minimize noise artifact.

Ring-type heart monitoring device

CART-I measures and collects blood flow data with a photoplethysmography (PPG) sensor 24 hours a day while the ring is worn. It simultaneously measures PPG and electrocardiogram (ECG) signals to detect atrial fibrillation (AF) at an early stage.

The data measured by CART-I is transmitted to a mobile device via Bluetooth in real-time. It is then stored and analysed in Sky Labs’ cloud and delivered to physicians, who can remotely monitor cardiac conditions.

In the future, Sky Labs plans to add more features to CART-I including measurement for arrhythmia, hypertension, heart failure, COPD, and sleep apnea.  

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By seohan