Wireless Connectivity: A Powerful Factor In Remote Patient Monitoring Success
Remote patient monitoring (RPM) increased in scale and importance as the COVID-19 pandemic necessitated minimizing one-to-one contact, at the same time maintaining high quality health care. As a result, companies are rapidly innovating to meet RPM demand, but RPM as an industry is still in its infancy. The learning continues. RPM companies need to figure out all the elements in delivering a reliable, secure, easy to use RPM application.
“Telehealth has been the missing element to how we deliver healthcare,” said Mei Kwong, executive director for the Center for Connected Health Policy. “But now people are familiar with it. They now have the experience and will want to see it used more often.”
VeeMed President and co-founder agrees stating, “Patients have responded well to telehealth and find it a comfortable option. Rather than think of telehealth as an adjunct option, it is time to make telehealth a regular part of the new normal environment in which people now work and live.”
Working closely with connected healthcare solution providers to ensure the delivery of telemedicine services, Aeris provides statistics that show the impact RPM has, and will continue to have, on the healthcare industry. With industry-leading IoT and Machine-to-Machine cellular communications, Aeris also offers reliable and flexible CDMA, GSM, and LTE connectivity for the most demanding customer including healthcare device manufacturers.
Healthcare facilities and providers should have a plan for deploying RPM at a level of reliability and security that benefits the patient, while using provider efficiencies to control costs. It is important to keep in mind best practices in deciding which type of wireless connectivity to use, from whom to procure it and how to configure it cost-effectively for optimum performance.
Best Practices in RPM Wireless Connectivity
- Choose the right IoT provider. Look for a provider with a core network designed and operated specifically for IoT applications.
- Control connectivity costs. Check for features that help control costs like flexible rate plans that can be adjusted according to usage data.
- Ensure overlapping coverage. Confirm your connectivity provider offers access to more than one carrier network to provide consistent device communication.
- Reliably connect devices indoors. Virtually all RPM applications need to be able to reliably connect indoors. Use cellular technologies that can more easily penetrate walls. Depending on geography and application requirements, either LTE-M or NB-IoT is likely to be an ideal choice, as both can even reach underground and into basements.
- Operate with end-to-end visibility. Down to the device level, service delivery teams must be able to detect, diagnose and resolve issues.
- Secure endpoints by direct control. The optimum route is a provider that directly controls policy definition and enforcement, authentication and operations. Then the provider can prevent device communication with unauthorized endpoints, and pinpoint issues in the system.
Two of the most critical and often underappreciated elements are the type of wireless connectivity to use and how to configure it correctly. At the most basic level, every minute that RPM devices are unable to transmit data as intended—either as a result of incorrect setup by the patient or an issue somewhere in the end-to-end connected system—puts patients at risk.