Why Remote Patient Monitoring Has Just Gotten A Major Push Forward And How It’s Changing Healthcare Forever

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Over the last several years, the healthcare industry has been changing rapidly due to a confluence of factors. One major transition that picked up steam during the COVID-19 pandemic is the push from in-office or in-hospital care to remote patient monitoring.

In fact, one estimate suggests the remote patient monitoring was worth about $4.4 billion in 2022. The same firm predicts a compound annual growth rate of 18.5% for remote patient monitoring through 2030, valuing the industry at nearly $17 billion by the beginning of the next decade.

A major factor in this rapid growth is the aging U.S. population. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that the number of Americans over the age of 65 will rise from 43 million in 2012 to 84 million by 2050, increasing from 14% of the population to 21%.

The Rapidly Growing Remote Patient Monitoring Industry

Of course, as we age, many of us face increased needs for healthcare services, which is another reason remote patient monitoring is a healthy and growing industry. Yacov Geva, CEO of G Medical Innovations, shared some insights on the rapidly growing remote patient monitoring industry, the benefits it offers, and how it’s changing healthcare forever.

Q: How important is home monitoring becoming as the global population ages?

A: An aging population has increased healthcare needs, and many insurance companies are now pushing toward at-home care and continuous monitoring because it cuts costs. Patients need fewer office and ER visits and experience less stress because they’re treated at home.

At-home care and remote monitoring also reduce the burdens on caregivers and on hospitals, which often face fines when patients are readmitted soon after they were released. As the share of older people versus the size of the entire population grows, these types of issues are becoming even more serious.

The base period for readmission is 30 days, so if patients are readmitted after a few days, even if it’s because of what they’re eating or some other factor that’s not the hospital’s fault, the hospital will be fined because they weren’t monitoring him for 30 days.

Hospitals are scored based on the quality of service they provide, so if patients are constantly being readmitted, the view is that it’s probably not a good hospital. Of course, that’s probably not true, but this is how it works. As a result, hospitals are pushing toward remote monitoring of discharged patients as a way to deal with those fines.

Q: How can remote monitoring of critical health conditions save lives and reduce long-term costs for patients?

A: When patients are being monitored remotely from home, their physicians have ready access to their data. For example, once the equipment detects abnormal heart activity, their doctor can act on it either with medication or a procedure. Remote monitoring services help prevent a more serious heart condition because they provide early detection of abnormal arrhythmias that may be asymptomatic or infrequent. They may even prevent the next stroke or heart attack that might affect the patient’s life forever.

Remote patient monitoring also helps reduce costs for hospitals, insurance companies, and, of course, patients, by uncovering these arrhythmias before they become a major cardiac event that requires hospitalization and surgery.

Additionally, monitoring patients at home keeps them from catching any infections that might be going around at the hospital. This is particularly true during periods when the hospital might want to keep the patient just for observation. There’s no need for that observation to occur at the hospital because it can be done at home via remote monitoring.

Finally, people also respond better to treatment in their typical home environment because they’re more comfortable, and they learn more about their condition by being involved in the monitoring process.

Q: What are some of the most important trends in homecare and remote patient monitoring?

A: Technology is a key trend in remote patient monitoring. Although the technology needed to monitor patients at home has been around for 20 years, neither patients nor doctors were really ready for it. However, when COVID hit, it shut down clinics and doctors’ offices around the world and restricted access to hospitals. Suddenly, patients who stayed in the hospital couldn’t receive visitors.

Because of all these issues, patients began to accept the idea of being monitored at home, and the technology we’ve had for the last 20 years was put to good use. In fact, I would say that COVID did more for remote patient monitoring than any marketing campaign over the last 20 years has done.

The current generation of newer, younger doctors has also been more accepting of remote patient monitoring because they are much more tech-savvy than their predecessors, being digital natives. They have grown up with technology and already realized the advantages it offers. They also didn’t need to learn how to use it.

Q: What should people understand about the difference between consumer-focused devices and medical-grade devices used for homecare monitoring?

A: Most people are familiar with the Apple Watch and other smartwatches, which have many, many functionalities, most of which have nothing to do with healthcare. However, medical-grade devices like those prescribed by doctors offer far more capabilities from a monitoring perspective. For example, the Apple Watch only focuses on the ECG, but G Medical’s devices also monitor patients’ oxygen levels, temperature, weight, blood pressure, pain level, stress, and more.

So let’s say you wake up at 2 a.m., and you don’t feel good, and you know something is wrong, so what do you do? You could call the hospital, or you could call your doctor, but they’re not going to answer the phone at 2 a.m. You have to decide whether or not to go to the hospital or call 911.

However, if you’ve been monitored remotely through a company like G Medical, you can contact the call center for a consultation based on the data gathered from your monitoring equipment. This is a totally different way of monitoring patients because they don’t just have the devices. They also have someone who can show their data to them and help them decide whether to call 911 or go to the hospital or wait until the morning. You don’t get this kind of assistance with consumer-facing devices like the many smartwatches on the market.

Q: What are some of G Medical’s best-selling and most important devices and services?

A: All our services and devices are provided based on Medicare and commonly used healthcare billing codes, so physicians prescribe our services, and Medicare or the insurance company pays or reimburses for everything. Patients receive our devices and services either free of charge or with a deductible.

Our Prizma ecosystem is the foundation for all our devices and services. It enables patients to build their own electronic medical record (EMR) using our suite of devices that monitor a wide array of vital signs, including ECG, oxygen saturation, body temperature, stress, heart rate, blood pressure, blood glucose levels, weight, and more. This EMR is accessible to them anywhere and at any time, and they have complete control over it.

All the data that is recorded by the Prizma application, is being sent to the cloud and available to the patient on the patient’s portal. We also have a physician portal which allows the physicians to review the patient’s data and observe key trends. We also generate reports for the physicians based on all that data.

Our monitoring services feed into Prizma and include an independent diagnostic testing facility, as I’ve mentioned. We also offer ambulatory electrocardiography (AECG), which is offline monitoring for heart patients over a period of seven to 14 days. After that period is finished, the patient goes back to their doctor, who uploads their data into the cloud, and we analyze that data to look for arrhythmias. Our AECG service uses the G Patch to monitor the patient.

The Spider is one of the best cardiac monitoring devices on the market today. It provides real-time monitoring for specific arrhythmias. When these arrhythmias are detected, the Pre-event data, the event and the post-event data are transmitted to our data center. The patient’s doctor can understand their ECG readings before and after the event.

We also offer home testing kits for a wide variety of health conditions so that patients can collect the necessary samples at home and send them into our CLIA certified lab for analysis. They can buy the relevant kit at the retail store or online, collect the sample in the privacy of their own home, and then ship it via the U.S. Postal Service to our lab. Patients receive the results within 48 hours of the sample arriving in our lab.

G Medical is actually the only company offering both vital signs monitoring and at-home laboratory tests. A few others are doing either of these services, but we’re the only ones doing both at this time.

Q: Where do you see healthcare going next?

A: The future of healthcare technology is very bright. The sky’s the limit, and some of what we’re starting to see is almost like science fiction. One company received approval to offer tests using an implanted chip, and we’re also starting to see robots being used. For example, the robot might be in India, but the operators are in the U.S., and everything is done remotely.

I was speaking with a well-known and respected doctor in Israel a while back, and he described the medical industry as a black hole because the gap between doctors and technology is 100 years. So every technology we’re throwing into the healthcare industry will be sucked into the black hole. Over time, more and more doctors are realizing what the technology offers, and of course, it has to be safe and cleared by the FDA and other regulatory agencies.

When patients don’t feel well, they go to Google, start to read about their symptoms and possible related conditions, and ask their doctors about what they read. Of course, physicians want better tools to diagnose and monitor patients, so I think the future of healthcare is very bright because we have faith in technology.

The author of the introduction, Michelle Jones, also edited this interview for clarity on behalf of Quantum Media Group, LLC and its client, G Medical Innovations Inc.

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