Patients that live in rural areas have an undeniable disadvantage in accessing quality healthcare services which leads to disparities in health outcomes. Many rural areas have a shortage of doctors, specialists, and hospitals, making it difficult for patients to receive timely and/or specialized care. This can result in delayed diagnoses, inadequate treatment, and ultimately poorer health outcomes.
Lack of public transportation also plays a major role, making it challenging to travel long distances to reach healthcare facilities. This can lead to missed appointments, delayed care, and reduced access to preventive services.
It’s only been in the last 5 years that the technology exists for Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) to be a common solution for the challenges that rural communities face. With RPM those chronically ill patients that are only seen every few months, are now able to have their physicians observe their key vitals daily. This then enables physicians to catch and react timely with appropriate care before it turns into an emergency, readmission, or other unfavorable outcomes.
Even though this is significant for rural areas, RPM is improving patient outcomes nationwide. With RPM, patients can use wearable devices or home monitoring kits to collect and transmit their health data, such as blood pressure, heart rate, glucose levels, and oxygen saturation. This information is then securely transmitted to healthcare providers, who can review and analyze the data in real-time. If any abnormalities or concerning trends are detected, healthcare professionals can intervene promptly, whether through a quick phone call, medication adjustments, or other interventions.
As an added benefit, remote monitoring typically motivates better patient engagement and self-management. By actively involving patients in their own healthcare and knowing that their physician sees their measurements everyday, RPM empowers them to take charge of their health and make informed decisions. It also holds them accountable when they have an opportunity to make a decision that can be a positive or negative effect on their current medical condition.
While remote monitoring is becoming one of the most impactful medical solutions in any community, it has been even more significant for rural areas. By bridging the gap in healthcare access and enabling proactive and personalized care, RPM can contribute to better health outcomes and a more equitable healthcare system for all.
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