More than 1.3 million people live in an estimated 15,000 nursing homes across the United States. As the Baby Boomers continue to age, that number will only grow. One of the biggest challenges faced by those homes is delivering quality of care at a consistent level. The emerging discipline of continuous remote patient monitoring (CRPM) represents an opportunity for doing just that. CRPM harnesses hospital-grade, wearable medical devices and always-on connectivity to deliver real-time physiological data to doctors and nurses to improve the quality of care in nursing homes. The data provides early warnings of potential problems and enables doctors and nurses to take action before emergencies occur. In doing so, CRPM has the potential to address one of the biggest quality-of-life issues for patients and operational problems for nursing homes: hospital readmissions. Government data shows that 25% of patients will return to the hospital within thirty days of discharge. In addition to catching potential exacerbations early, CRPM provides peace of mind for worried patients and their families, who can rest easy in the knowledge that the health care team is engaged and watching at all times. As the technology behind CRPM evolves and these devices become more closely integrated with artificial intelligence (AI) software that can predict the future, the potential for improving quality of care in nursing homes will only grow.
Continuous Real-Time Monitoring for Improving Quality of Care in Nursing Homes
CRPM is an advanced form of patient monitoring that enables a patient’s vital signs to be transmitted to care teams twenty-four hours a day. The capability to enable continuous monitoring comes from the use of wearable devices that measure multiple types of vital signs and transmit them over wireless networks. The capability is exceptionally relevant and crucial for individuals who have chronic health conditions that can flare up at any time.
Patients wear the devices on their wrists like a smartwatch. But the devices are neither gadgets nor novelties. They meet hospital-grade standards for data collection, ruggedness, reliability, and security.
The data streams provided by CRPM devices enable doctors to spot troubling signs in patients that may require a medical response, sometimes before the patients even realize it. By recognizing problems as they develop, doctors can potentially head off situations that will force patients from their nursing home residences to the hospital. Repeated hospital stays are stressful on patients and costly for nursing homes.
CRPM capabilities offer the vast potential for improving quality of care in nursing homes in various ways, not the least of which is easing the tremendous care burden on already overworked nurses and healthcare aides.
CRPM Helps Reduce the Risk of Hospital Readmissions
Hospital readmissions are persistent problems in connection with nursing home care and happen at an alarmingly high rate. Excessive readmissions tremendously strain patients and their families due to costs, worry, and uncertainty. Many nursing home patients are also at risk of injury, even just from the transport to the hospital.
Readmissions also pose enormous challenges for nursing home operators. The prospect of losing a patient is never easy on staff, but it is also costly for the home and the health care system. The homes temporarily lose income while the patient is away at the hospital.
CRPM provides a potential solution. It enables doctors to see problems as they develop and respond to them. This can happen in various ways. For example, blips in vital signs such as blood sugar or respiration levels might signal an oncoming attack.
In addition to prevention, CRPM data helps produce better, more customized care through the use of artificial intelligence. Integrated AI software that monitors the data can recognize the moment that a patient diverges from normal patterns. Early action can head off more serious problems, while keeping a nursing home resident where they prefer to be: at home.
Oxitone and CRPM
Oxitone is dedicated to creating easy-to-use clinical devices that extend the sophistication and application of patient-monitoring capabilities. The Oxitone 1000M is a wrist-worn device designed to capture key vital sign parameters, such as respiratory rate, skin temperature, motion, sleep patterns, blood oxygen, pulse, and heart-rate variability. The 1000M wirelessly feeds this data into electronic health records and medical information systems for professional evaluation. The device also uses automation tools for improved care, enabling doctors to set alarms should a patient fall off their baseline.
An example of how Oxitone 1000M helps improve nursing home care is its application to chronic conditions. For example, many nursing home patients suffer from recurring health challenges such as COPD. One vital for monitoring COPD is oxygen saturation. The 1000M includes pulse-oximeter capabilities that can monitor and report the amount of oxygen in the patient’s blood and can call for a response if levels suddenly fall off.
The Context for CRPM
Remote patient monitoring has long been discussed by the healthcare industry as a way of reducing costs and improving care. Clinical measurements that once took room-sized devices to make can now fit into something as small as a watch.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought greater emphasis and momentum to the CRPM movement. Health care providers have recognized that they need to find a way to evaluate and treat patients remotely, to keep from spreading the virus. This is especially crucial for nursing homes, as they have suffered greatly during the pandemic.
Here at Oxitone, we boost value-based healthcare by delivering extraordinary patient, clinical, and economical outcomes at reduced medical utilization and cost. Patients need a prompt response to emergencies. Physicians need an easy and timely follow-up with patients. Our mission is to transform chronic disease management and help save lives worldwide.
Let’s save lives together! To see how we help remote patient monitoring companies and physicians improve the management and care of high-risk patients, contact us today!