Remote monitoring devices more common; misconceptions may impact usage

Oct. 21, 2021

According to recent estimates, as many as 30 million Americans will use remote patient monitoring (RPM) tools by 2024, according to a new report released by InfoBionic.

The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the use of remote monitoring and diagnostic devices, especially among cardiology practices. But many healthcare consumers still don’t trust these technologies. According to some studies, as many as 30% of elderly patients don’t want to share their private patient data with others in person or use RPMs. This can prevent their effective use. These devices are seen as stop-gaps for when traditional, in-person appointments simply aren’t possible.

However, communication between the provider and patient is key for overcoming misconceptions, says Stuart Long, CEO of InfoBionic. For example, a cardiologist can dispel the myth that patients can’t exercise while wearing an RPM. It’s important that the patient continue their regular activities. Cardiologists need this in order to capture data about cardiac events during normal life. To help ensure this happens, and to collect the most accurate data possible, cardiologists need to watch out for any concerns people may have and address them immediately.

Remote patient monitoring and diagnostic devices are used for intermittent or continuous monitoring of patients with heart problems. They range from smartwatches to Holter monitors to Event monitors to near-real-time remote diagnostic devices. In cardiology, remote patient monitors provide cardiac telemetry information including onset, offset, and other supplementary data used in diagnosis and management of cardiovascular conditions.

When used correctly, these technologies allow for ongoing monitoring at home and can help prevent hospitalization and readmission to the hospital. However, patients commonly express concern about wearing or using their device during showering, exercising, or other activities. As a result, many mistakenly assume they need to be inactive for the technology to work correctly.

“The goal is to monitor people during everyday activities because doctors want to see if it’s those that cause cardiac issues. But many people live with the misconception that they need to reduce their normal, everyday activities because they’re wearing a monitor,” Long says,

In terms of functionality, remote cardiac telemetry devices don’t transmit information to doctors immediately. Only more advanced technologies provide information in near-real-time. For many devices, lag prevents data from reaching providers and can impact a doctor’s ability to provide accurate and reliable results, sometimes for weeks to months. This lag also plays into patient mistrust of these devices. Immediate access to data collected from the patient can help cardiologists assuage patient fears that such technology can’t provide real-time benefits.

Infobionic release