Remote patient monitoring is not a new phenomenon. The first recorded instance of the remote monitoring of patients was when NASA monitored astronauts’ vital signs in the 1960s. Thanks to technological advances, the COVID pandemic, and an aging population, remote patient monitoring is a $50 billion global industry.   

Let’s take a closer look at remote patient monitoring and the dynamics of this industry. 

  • What is Remote Patient Monitoring?

Remote patient monitoring (RPM) uses digital technology to record a patient’s medical and personal health data. Once a physician has diagnosed the ailment, the patient uses various devices to collect and transmit their vital data in real-time to the healthcare provider for review. Physicians use this data for further diagnostics and provide feedback and guidance to patients, including altering medication and dosage. 

RPM is beneficial in monitoring and treating chronic ailments like diabetes and cardiac diseases. Once the condition is diagnosed, the focus shifts to monitoring the data on the patient’s vitals and altering the medication accordingly. Thanks to remote patient monitoring, the patient is saved from the hassle of repeated visits to medical centers for testing; it also eases the physician’s workload. As well as this, monitoring patients remotely also empowers the elderly or disabled to live more independently.  

  • How Does RPM Work?

The process starts with the healthcare provider identifying the patient’s ailment. The patient is then enrolled in a remote patient monitoring program and provided relevant devices like glucose meters, blood pressure devices, and spirometers that help monitor and collect data on the patient’s vitals. These devices are connected to the healthcare providers’ database via cellular networks or Bluetooth. 

Once the device is calibrated and set up, the patient’s health data is captured and transmitted from the patient to the provider in real-time. The healthcare staff at the provider then analyzes the data and provides the patient wellness guidance and further directions based on the results.

  • Benefits of Monitoring Patients from Remote

RPM offers advantages to both patients and healthcare service providers. Let’s look at the top five benefits of remote patient monitoring that drive its rapid adoption.

Lower Risk of Transmission

Remote monitoring means fewer trips to hospitals and clinics, reducing the chance of patients infecting others or catching another illness. This is particularly critical for older patients with weaker immune systems.

Better Optimization of Hospital Resources

The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the acute shortage of medical staff and hospital facilities, including available beds. Shifting patients with common ailments to remote monitoring reduces the workload on the medical staff and hospital facilities, allowing providers to focus resources on emergencies and critical cases. 

Patient Convenience 

Remote monitoring is convenient for older patients and those with mobility issues. The patients can now receive the required care in their homes without visiting a hospital or clinic. The technology also cuts down on transportation costs and long-distance commutes. 

Real-time Access to Patient Data

The patient’s remote monitoring devices provide real-time health data, thus enabling practitioners to stay in the loop and provide timely feedback to the patient. This feedback reassures the patient and provides added confidence.

Cost Reduction

According to a report published in The American Journal of Emergency Medicine, the cost saving per televisit for the patient is $91-121. A drop in hospital readmissions for healthcare providers also translates into substantial savings. Fewer in-person visits translate into better cost-efficiency and help free up the physician’s time. 

The growing consumer demand for cost savings associated with healthcare is driving insurance companies to offer “virtual-first” health plans, thus making remote patient monitoring both viable and popular. 

  • Common RPM Devices

The benefits of remote patient monitoring for healthcare providers and patients are well established. Let’s look at some of the standard RPM devices and understand each device’s application. 

    • Blood pressure monitor: The wrist-worn device measures and tracks your blood pressure to effectively manage hypertension and high blood pressure.
  • Blood glucose monitor: Monitoring blood glucose levels is critical for diabetic patients. The device can save a patient’s life as physical symptoms only manifest when the patient is dangerously close to hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) or hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Healthcare professionals can look at real-time data and react instantly.
  • Spirometer: Spirometers measure the volume of air inhaled and exhaled by a patient. This data is crucial for monitoring conditions like asthma and diagnosing lung diseases.
  • Weight monitor: According to CDC, over 42% of Americans suffer from obesity. It is a fact that obesity can lead to ailments like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and stroke. Hence, weight monitoring is critical to prevent these ailments. Patients on special diets also need constant weight monitoring to avoid excessive weight loss that could lead to dehydration and fatigue, besides weakening the immune system. 

Besides these typical devices, depending on the patient’s ailment, doctors may prescribe specialty devices like electrocardiography devices to monitor heart functioning and maternity care monitoring devices.

  • Financial Consideration of Monitoring Patients from Remote

According to the Center for Connected Health Policy, as of April 2022, Medicare covers remote patient monitoring in some form across 30 state Medicaid programs. Many commercial insurers voluntarily included telemedicine (which provides for RPM) in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

For healthcare providers, remote patient monitoring is one of the better-reimbursed Medicare programs. 

Credit: Welkinhealth

Even financially, remote patient monitoring works well for the patient and the healthcare providers. For example, the healthcare provider is reimbursed $21 for signing up a patient, and after that, the reimbursements work as follows:

  • Base monthly reimbursement for monitoring device readings – $64 per patient
  • 20 minutes of clinical staff time for patient interface – $119 per interaction
  • 40 minutes of clinical staff time for patient interface – $163 per interaction
  • 60 minutes of clinical staff time for patient interface – $207 per interaction

  • How to Execute a Successful Remote Monitoring Program

For healthcare providers, implementing four basic steps with patients leads to a successful roll-out of a remote patient monitoring program. Let’s look at these steps.

Step 1 – Explain Remote Monitoring to Patients

Securing patient buy-in begins with ensuring your patients grasp the concept of RPM. Some patients may not be familiar with the concept, while others may confuse it with telemedicine. Hence, educating them on what the program does and how it works is essential. This policy document explains how to monitor patients remotely. 

Step 2 – Explain the Value of Remote Monitoring to Patients

The patient benefits you should highlight include the following:

  • Cost savings
  • Greater collaboration between the patient and service provider.
  • The overall objective of keeping patients healthy by monitoring them 24×7.
  • Fewer trips to the hospital

Some additional benefits to highlight, RPM enables the patients to be more engaged in their care and allows elderly patients to stay longer in their home environment before moving to a special care center. 

Step 3 – Provide Instructions and Train Patients on Using Remote Devices

When onboarding patients to an RPM program, explain what the device does and how it works. Cellular devices require additional steps, like downloading and installing smartphone apps.

Step 4 – Deliver Remote Monitoring Education Across Multiple Channels

Give patients access to remote monitoring information across multiple channels. Some people prefer an in-person consultation, while others prefer to engage via video conferencing. Provide follow-up information through videos and blogs on your website. 

Follow these four steps to inform, engage, and build patient confidence in your remote patient monitoring program.


Remote patient monitoring is here to stay. The rising awareness of the benefits of remote patient monitoring drives has increased adoption across different participants, including patients, healthcare providers, Medicare, and private health insurers. Rising technological sophistication and greater patient and practitioner understanding and adoption will continue to make remote patient monitoring a high-growth industry.