The Ultimate Guide to Remote Patient Monitoring in Healthcare Apps
Published at September 21, 2023

The digital transformation in healthcare is changing rapidly with evolving patient needs and emerging trends. Healthcare app plays a crucial role in transforming the industry to provide efficient and patient-centred care.

One of the articles stated that in Malaysia, key components in the Digital Economy Blueprint and National 4IR Policy that are healthcare-related include a Malaysian health-data warehouse, blockchain-based solutions, national standards for data formats, guidelines for healthcare robotics and drones, and the use of emerging technologies to enhance service delivery.

One of the notable advancements in healthcare apps is the integration of real-time notifications and alerts. This innovative feature, commonly known as remote patient monitoring (RPM), has revolutionised the way telehealth and patients interact.

RPM keeps patients and healthcare professionals connected, improving patient outcomes and adherence to treatment plans. Patients also benefit from timely notifications about their health.

Let’s delve into RPM and how to create an effective RPM that can change the way you experience healthcare.

An Overview of Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM)

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Remote patient monitoring (RPM) is a feature of healthcare apps that allows telehealth to send real-time notifications to patients, regardless of their location.

Through RPM, telehealth can effortlessly stay connected with their patients, providing them with vital updates, reminders, and personalised care instructions.

Healthcare apps that use RPM become essential tools for bridging the gap between telehealth and patients, fostering a stronger bond, and improving health outcomes.

What are the Benefits of RPM?

RPM is a revolutionary tool for telehealth, empowering them to effortlessly establish a robust connection with their patients. Here are other benefits of RPM, including:

1. Timely Medication Reminders

Real-time notifications in healthcare apps serve as personalised medication reminders, ensuring you never miss a dose.

Whether it is a daily vitamin or a prescription medication, these alerts help you stay on track with your treatment plan.

2. Vital Sign Monitoring

For individuals with chronic conditions or those recovering from surgery, RPM can be a lifeline. 

Healthcare apps integrated with remote patient monitoring devices can send alerts if there are significant fluctuations in vital signs like blood pressure, heart rate, or glucose levels.

3. Appointment and Telehealth Reminders

Missed medical appointments can lead to delays in diagnosis and treatment. 

RPM can remind you of upcoming appointments, whether they are in-person or virtual telehealth visits.

4. Personalised Health Insights

Modern healthcare apps analyse your health data in real time and provide personalised insights.

For example, if you're tracking your fitness goals, the app can send notifications with recommendations for improving your workout routine or adjusting your diet based on your progress.

5. Emergency Alerts

Real-time notifications can also serve as emergency alerts. For instance, if a healthcare app detects a severe health event, such as a sudden drop in blood oxygen levels, it can trigger an emergency notification to your designated emergency contacts or telehealth.

What are the Examples of RPM?

According to Strategic Market Research, the market for remote patient monitoring was valued at USD 1.45 billion in 2021. It is expected to reach USD 4.07 billion by 2030, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.74%.

Here are a few examples of how remote patient monitoring can be used in healthcare apps:

  • Medication reminders: Patients receive real-time notifications to remind them to take their medications on time and at the correct dosage.
  • Appointment reminders: Real-time notifications are sent to patients to remind them of upcoming appointments.
  • Vital sign alerts: If a patient's vital indicators, such as blood pressure or heart rate, go outside of a normal range, they can receive real-time notifications.
  • Medication interaction alerts: RPM will sent if a patient is taking prescriptions that interact with one another,
  • Lab result alerts: Patients will receive alerts when their lab results are available.
  • Disease management alerts: Patients with chronic diseases like diabetes or heart disease can get real-time alerts to manage their condition. For instance, a patient with diabetes could receive an alert for high or low blood sugar levels.

How to Create an Effective RPM

Here are how to create effective real-time notifications and alerts for healthcare apps:

1. Define Clear Objectives

Before implementing real-time notifications, it is essential to define clear objectives.

Determine the specific goals you want to achieve with these alerts. Are you focused on medication adherence, vital sign monitoring, or appointment reminders? 

Having a clear purpose will guide the development of effective notifications.

2. Personalise Notifications

Personalisation is key to engagement. Healthcare apps should use the data they collect, such as health metrics and user preferences, to deliver tailored notifications. 

For example, if a user has diabetes, the app should send reminders related to glucose monitoring and insulin administration, rather than generic health tips.

3. Leverage Automation

Use triggers and algorithms to automate the sending of alerts based on specific conditions. 

For example, if a patient's blood pressure exceeds a predetermined threshold, the app can automatically generate an alert for telehealth.

4. Ensure Relevance and Timing

Ensuring that remote patient monitoring is sent at the appropriate time and only when necessary can greatly enhance the overall patient experience.

Irrelevant or excessive alerts can lead to user frustration. For instance, medication reminders should align with the user's dosing schedule.

5. Offer Customisation Options

Not all users have the same preferences or needs. Users should be able to personalise their notification preferences. 

Provide options for adjusting the frequency, timing, and type of notifications they receive. Some individuals may prefer daily reminders, while others may only want weekly summaries.

6. Maintain Data Security and Privacy

Healthcare data is highly sensitive, so data security and privacy must be prioritized when implementing real-time notifications.

Ensure that the app complies with relevant regulations, such as PDPA (Personal Data Protection Act) in Malaysia, and employs robust encryption and authentication measures.

7. Seek User Feedback

Encourage users to provide feedback on the notifications they receive. Use the feedback to refine and optimise the notification system.

Also, conduct user testing to gauge the effectiveness and user-friendliness of the alerts.

Wrapping Up

Remote patient monitoring (RPM) in healthcare apps marks a significant leap forward in patient care.

Embrace timely medication reminders, vital sign monitoring, appointment notifications, personalised health insights, and emergency alerts. These notifications are your allies for a healthier tomorrow.

If you are developing a healthcare app and trying to add an RPM feature, consider working with a VirtualSpirit expert who can assist you. Discuss your project here.

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