Remote monitoring systems such as wearable trackers, apps and monitors, can play a crucial role in ensuring the efficient delivery of healthcare services and improving patient access.
The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the benefits and versatility of such systems, particularly for patients with chronic conditions.1
Remote monitoring services allow the measuring of vital signs from home, for example using wearable blood pressure monitors or trackers for physical activity, heart rate and oxygen levels, and automatically transferring this data to the treating healthcare professional for analysis and decision-making support. The collected data can provide the professional with a comprehensive picture of the patient’s health status, including information about their daily activity, medication and results of laboratory tests. It can also support the early detection of warning signs for health deterioration or disease progression and thereby improve survival rates for diseases such as hypertension or diabetes. For patients with a disease such as diabetes, this type of devices can also significantly ease pain and required efforts to manage their condition: they can automatically receive information on their blood sugar levels through a sensor or a pump, and, through the same device, apply insulin for adjustment.
For many patients with chronic conditions, in-person clinic visits may be a sporadic occurrence and provide the treating healthcare professional with a limited snapshot of a patient’s state of health. Patients with diseases such as multiple sclerosis might experience significant physical and mental changes between visits, which will not always be evident at the time of examination. For these patients it is critical to assess symptoms and body function on a continuous basis to effectively manage disease activity and reduce the risk of worsening their condition.
For people with long-term diseases such as cancer, digital health solutions can also support an improved communication experience between patients and professionals. Cancer treatments take a long time and patients might not always have easy geographical access to their treating healthcare professional. If questions or new symptoms arise between physical visits, digital health solutions provide an opportunity to connect patients with their treating professional independent of their location.
Remote monitoring systems can ease the pressure on healthcare institutions by reducing the need for hospital visits and savings in incurred treatment costs, while also increasing patients’ awareness and engagement with their disease management process.
Interest in the use of artificial intelligence in healthcare has grown substantially in recent years, ranging from drug development to healthcare provision. AI is expected to have a positive impact on access to healthcare and patient treatment, as well as on the optimisation of resource allocation and health systems functioning. Some of the main applications of AI include medical image analysis, disease prediction, medical robotics, telemedicine and virtual doctors.3
AI-driven virtual care solutions have the potential to provide personalised health coaching to improve healthy lifestyle behaviours, reduce stress levels and decrease risk factors for conditions such as heart disease or diabetes. Personalised digital coaching techniques allow for the continuous development of personalised care paths as well as for the patient to take an active role in the management of their condition.
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death globally and one of the costliest conditions for healthcare systems to treat worldwide. Staff and resource shortages, limited collaboration among multidisciplinary teams and rising treatment costs often result in insufficient care for the prevention and management of common CVD conditions.
Based on several behavior change frameworks,
Digital health solutions can provide patients with accessible tools to monitor and manage their disease, while keeping them in close contact with healthcare professionals. Using options such as remote monitoring, the burden of having to physically attend regular examinations can be decreased, thereby helping improve quality of care creating improvements in patients’ quality of life and improving operational efficiencies, thus generating significant savings for healthcare systems overall.