Remote patient monitoring systems have been stellar technologies in their own right. They have helped medical facilities to keep up to date with patient data and vitals around the clock. But the fusion of the Internet of Things with RPM tools has taken their efficacy a notch higher. While RPM traditionally provided a means to just watch over the patient, the incorporation of IoT has realized the birth of IoT-driven RPM which can also go one step further to even provide medical intervention. In this article, Aura Health will you take through just how this merger is creating new healthcare applications beyond conventional expectations.
Enforcing Hand Hygiene at Hospitals with IoT and RPM
Healthcare-acquired infections or HAIs are quite a huge problem for hospitals and care facilities of any kind. In fact, the CDC estimates that 1.7 million patients acquire HAIs each year, with 1 in 17 of such cases resulting in fatalities.
Therefore, it’s not surprising that the combination of remote patient monitoring and IoT is being leveraged to enforce stringent hygiene standards for hospital staff as well as their patients.
By monitoring movements across hospital rooms, the technology can offer reminders for hand cleaning. Overall, studies indicate that the use of such a system has the potential to lower infection rates by at least 60%.
Mood and Depression Monitoring
Until the onset of IoT-enabled RPM, tracking symptoms for depression and mood has been a tall order. That’s because measuring mental health is challenging as sometimes they may include vague psychological changes with little changes to physical health.
However, that’s all changing with what we call “mood-aware” IoT devices, which are helping RPM systems to track vital indicators of mood and mental state at large. For example, these wearables are able to collect important data such as:
- Blood pressure
- Heart rate
- Eye movement, and so on
With this information, it becomes easier to track mood fluctuations. In fact, with cortisol monitoring devices, it may even be possible to track how a patient’s stress levels change throughout the day to help inform a more accurate diagnosis.
Monitoring of Parkinson’s Disease
By 2030, the Parkinson’s Foundation estimates that the number of cases of Parkinson’s disease (PD) in the US alone will rise to 1,200,000. Therefore, this shows that the disease will inflict a significant burden on healthcare systems hence the need for a more effortless and effective management solution.
While traditional RPM systems have rarely been used for the management of PD, the infusion of IoT is changing this story. With continuous observation key to the successful management of the disease which remains without a cure as far as we know, IoT is facilitating this by enabling hospitals to monitor and measure important patient data at all times.
Via wearables, it’s now possible for physicians to track the symptoms of PD, with this data further made available to the patient via a smartphone application. From slight changes in motor abilities to deviations in speech patterns, IoT-driven RPM allows physicians to monitor the progress of the disease over time.
Connected Inhalers for COPD Monitoring
Using remote patient monitoring technologies for the monitoring and management of chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases is nothing new. However, the onset of new and innovative IoT technologies is transforming how we do it, and that’s the exciting part.
For example, IoT-connected inhalers or smart inhalers are helping to elevate the possibilities of COPD monitoring, especially when it comes to managing diseases such as asthma. In particular, such inhalers are proving especially useful for medication monitoring and management, thanks to the ability to track:
- Amount of medication used per dose
- Frequency of doses
- Time and date of usage
- Location of the patient at use, etc.
Overall, this treatment data can help to salvage a medication action plan by ensuring that patients don’t forget to take their medicine or repeat doses, both of which can have negative health outcomes.
Additionally, with RPM and virtual care further providing lifestyle pointers and general patient education, these technologies are helping to give patients better control over COPD and their symptoms. Patients may also use these technologies to provide feedback that will go a long way to enhance the effectiveness of treatment.
Ingestible Sensors for Gastrointestinal Health Monitoring
Remote patient monitoring traditionally uses physical sensors that attach to the patient’s body to collect key health indicators, depending on the nature of the disease at hand. But even though these sensors are generally lightweight and small, patients usually remain aware of their presence and this can make them self-conscious.
For this reason, we’re now seeing the rise of ingestible electronic sensors, which patients can swallow much in the same way they would take oral medicine. Built to match the size of a capsule, these sensors operate via wireless technology to help measure health indicators that are traditionally challenging to detect like core temperature, pressure, and pH levels.
In terms of where they obtain their power from, these sensors typically harness stomach acid to facilitate their operation. And although ingestible sensors are, well, ingestible, they still offer non-invasive monitoring as they don’t introduce new instruments into the body.
Overall, ingestible sensors that operate on IoT technology will be key in the diagnosis and management of digestive disorders such as:
- Gastrointestinal dysmotility
- Gastrointestinal hypermotility
- Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease, and others
By helping physicians to determine where digestion slows down, among other key information, the sensors can help to pinpoint various GI difficulties with excellent accuracy.
IoT and RPM are a Match Made in Heaven
From elevating the capabilities of traditional remote patient monitoring to heightening convenience and timeliness, we have much to gain by integrating RPM and IoT. Here at Aura Health Solutions, we’ve already done just that, allowing us and our clients to get the best of both worlds. The result of this merger has been improved accuracy for RPM devices, better collaboration in disease management, and earlier medical intervention to ensure even more positive outcomes. If you’d like to tap into these and many other benefits of IoT-powered RPM, contact us today to get started.