Can Remote Patient Monitoring Improve Post-Surgical Care and Recovery?
April 29, 2022
Every individual deserves the best of healthcare – from quick and accurate diagnoses to continued health monitoring and timely health insights. Remote patient monitoring has facilitated this, along with enhanced healthcare, that includes steadfast assessment features and remote access to most healthcare services. It has enabled a quick diagnosis of chronic conditions, definitive preventive measures to tackle them, and a reduced cost in overall long-term healthcare expenses. However, there is still plenty of scope to explore the entire potential of remote monitoring. For instance, a large area around whether remote patient monitoring can improve post-surgical care and recovery is still untapped.
A patient’s surgery can be daunting and post-surgery recovery can be overwhelming. As a patient, you will need to remember the long list of post-discharge medications and your medical practitioner’s verbal instructions to ensure effective aftercare. An improper post-discharge recovery can lead to severe post-surgical complications and even readmissions. Remote patient monitoring has proven to alleviate the patient’s stress around post-surgery recovery care by offering reliable features. Some of them include increased communication between the medical practitioner and patient, automated reminders, cautionary alerts based on constant monitoring, and effective at-home care without additional readmissions. Studies have proven the efficiency of remote patient monitoring in post-surgical care and the technology will continue to show steady growth.
What research indicates…
Post-operative remote care is still under scrutiny and a subject of scholastic research. However, most of the fact-finding has shown positive results.
- A study was conducted by a group of healthcare professionals to test the efficiency of post-discharge after surgery virtual care with Remote Automated Monitoring (RAM). The results were promising with a higher detection rate for drug errors.
- Research published in the National Library of Medicine showed a reduction in the number of emergency department visits and readmissions in post-surgery patients, along with an improved quality of life.
- The National Library of Medicine also published a study on post-operative care in cardiac patients who underwent monitoring using remote devices. The primary benefit of the remote monitoring system was that many hospital readmissions were avoided, saving patients additional costs. This was only possible due to the accurate measurements of vital parameters and quick responses to the hospital application requests. Moreover, about 6.1% of serious medical complications were averted due to an early diagnosis by remote devices.
Benefits of remote patient monitoring for post-surgical care and recovery
These studies offer concrete proof of the reliability of remote monitoring systems and wearable devices in efficiently managing post-operative care. Patients can now avoid the excess hospital charges by remaining at home and avoiding readmissions. The telemedicine system promises to deliver the following post-operative care features to every individual patient:
- Constant communication with their medical practitioner
The pandemic proved how crucial alternate means of communication were, especially in the healthcare sector. The ability to stay in touch with your doctor or nurse, as and when the need arises, can be a life-saver. It saves crucial time that can be lost in transportation and is accessible to patients even in the more remote areas. Instead of piling the patient with post-surgery instruction booklets, the doctors can guide them remotely in a planned manner. Moreover, they can be easily notified of any unforeseen changes or side effects during recovery.
- Constant monitoring
The remote patient monitoring system comes equipped with wearable devices and other tools to measure vitals that can enable constant monitoring. The devices can track patient compliance, symptoms, and recovery progress by assessing temperature, pain levels, incision photos, etc. They can then transmit this data to the healthcare practitioner to encourage quick interventions in case of an emergency. This can save time that would be wasted on transportation and in the waiting rooms of clinics and hospitals.
- Self-care alerts for patients
The remote devices can also be programmed to offer self-care guidance and automated workflows that rely on AI. For instance, the device can offer periodic reminders to take medications, change the dressing, or provide first-aid solutions to minor emergencies.
Post-operative remote monitoring has grown exponentially during the pandemic, due to the incessant demand for no-contact care. At UCLA, patients who have undergone heart surgery can benefit from their Cardiac Telehealth Program. The program offers constant monitoring and instant relaying of crucial health data to the medical staff. Apart from that, the patient can electronically send daily recovery updates, pictures of the incision site, and other important data such as weight, height, heart rate, blood pressure, and blood oxygen levels using the tools provided with the program kit.
According to statistics, 88% of patients from a US target group did opt for remote healthcare in 2021 and around 4% were even willing to switch doctors for this. Patients want the best care that they can receive and remote patient monitoring offers this at a reduced cost in the long term. Being connected to your healthcare service providers and digitally tracking your vitals can really help mitigate post-surgery distress, especially for patients who live by themselves.
Read more about the top healthcare technology trends in 2022.