Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.
No one knows for sure where this proverb first originated, but one thing is certain is – it still applies to many aspects of 21st-century life. It’s one of the core concepts driving the growth of remote patient monitoring (RPM), promoting self-care and empowering the patient to become masters of their health.
Remote Patient Monitoring empowers patients to take control of their health by learning how to monitor and assess their vital signs and then manage existing chronic conditions. RPM also gives patients extra accountability and motivation in living a healthy lifestyle.
Essentially it encourages self-care, which will be at the heart of this post. If you want to know more about self-care and remote patient monitoring, read on!
What is Self-Care?
Self-care is considered a primary form of care for patients with chronic conditions who make many day-to-day decisions or self-manage their illness.
Becoming educated in self-care allows patients to live the best possible quality of life with their chronic condition.
An article published in the Advances in Nursing Science defined self-care as three things:
- Self-care maintenance
- Self-care monitoring
- Self-care management
We’ll look at each one in more detail soon, and to kick off here is a quick overview.
|Self-care maintenance||Leading a lifestyle which improves both physical and mental health|
|Self-care monitoring||Checking, understanding, and measuring your vital signs|
|Self-care management||Knowing what actions to take when you see “red flags”|
Let’s take a closer look at each one, and how remote patient monitoring supports each.
What is Self-Care Maintenance
As mentioned above, self-care maintenance refers to the daily actions you take which lead to a healthy lifestyle.
This could be:
- Physical activity
One way remote patient monitoring promotes a healthy lifestyle is because patients know someone is monitoring their vital signs and therefore they feel more accountable. This could be the healthcare provider or a family member.
We all know that having an active lifestyle can lead to better health, yet only one in five adults in the US meets the CDC physical activity guidelines of 150 min of aerobic activity and 2 days of muscle-strengthening activity per week.
Studies have also shown that fitness trackers incorporated into RPM devices have the potential to significantly impact public health. Behavior change techniques such as goal setting, feedback, rewards, and social factors are often included in fitness technology
Walking is an excellent, low-impact exercise for over 65s to take part in which can help achieve this 150-minute goal set out by the CDC.
RPM and Nutrition
You are what you eat!
Nutrition plays a huge role in our overall wellness, especially for patients suffering from chronic conditions.
For example, patients with diabetes have to be aware of what they eat so they can control blood sugar levels. Healthline has a useful article here on recommended foods for diabetics to eat.
How Does RPM Improve Self-Care Maintenance
As well as the increased accountability gained due to someone else being aware of your vital signs, the concept of educating the patient is another key benefit of RPM.
As patients have consultations with their caregivers remotely – it becomes essential for the healthcare provider to “coach” the patient on:
- a general overview of what the vital signs mean
- how to interpret the data and know if something is wrong
- what action to take
One such method was coined as “teach-back” published in the Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing.
The concept is that after educating the patient remotely, the doctor will have the patient answer some concept checking questions to help cement the knowledge and also allow the doctor to identify any knowledge gaps.
This leads us on to the next pillar of self-care….
There are 2 things at work here:
- Taking measurements
- Being able to understand and interpret the results
Advances in technology have allowed patients and healthcare providers to track and monitor vital signs remotely such as:
- Blood pressure
- Blood oxygen
- Heart Rate
- Body Temperature
To read more detail about these vital signs, take a look at our post here.
With remote patient monitoring, the patient will wear a device that can be used to track and measure these vital signs in real-time.
Once the patient gets the readings, they then need to be able to interpret the results so they can take appropriate action.
Being able to continuously monitor these vital signs allows patients to take preventable action and stop problems from escalating.
A bonus for families peace of mind is that not only can the patient track these vital signs, but they are also transmitted instantly to the patient’s healthcare provider for monitoring and assessment.
Understanding the results is one thing, knowing what TO DO is another.
On to our third and final factor. Remote patient monitoring helps patients take control of their health by managing their illnesses and conditions when action is required.
The great thing about RPM is that when help is needed it can be done remotely and immediately. No need to worry about racing to the clinic or the ER (except in extreme cases) and being stuck in traffic.
Patients can get immediate help and consultation when necessary from their doctor remotely via phone or video.
This is a huge benefit for patients who live in rural areas or for patients who have difficulty traveling. Being able to get consultation and advice on how to manage their condition from the comfort of their own home is a fantastic advantage of remote patient monitoring.
Read: 5 Benefits of Remote Patient Monitoring for Patients
We’ve looked at HOW patients can take control of their health with remote patient monitoring, let’s finish up by driving home the WHY.
Knowing “WHY” we do things in life inherently increases our motivation.
So, WHY do we want to encourage self-care and empower patients.
Improved self-care leads to the following 5 benefits for patients:
- Better health outcomes by knowing when and how to take appropriate action
- Fewer visits to ER as problems are prevented before escalating
- More time spent in the home with family due to fewer ER visits
- Improved education of personal health management
- Increased accountability and motivation of personal health and lifestyle
To discover more about the power of remote patient monitoring, visit our website and see how the remote patient monitoring service from 247 Health Solutions LLC can help you take control of your health.
Wishing you all a happy and healthy day!