Remote patient management is a powerful tool that can significantly improve the healthcare process and outcomes for patients. Benefits include, but are not limited to, improved delivery times, reduced financial burdens, and decreased travel time. In saying that, the solutions are not for everyone. While some patients may benefit, others may actually hinder their care process through remote patient management. That is why it is important to first understand the patient and evaluate factors that could inhibit their ability to participate in a remote patient management program. Clinicians should evaluate a patient’s current health condition, their support network, and their ability to use remote patient management tools in order to understand if they may be a qualified candidate.
Assessing a Patient’s Condition
Often the first step in the care process, assessing a patient’s condition is integral to evaluating their fitness for remote patient management. Understanding their current medical condition, previous history of treatment, and any underlying conditions can help to draw conclusions for their participation in remote patient management programs. For example, a patient with mobility issues may benefit from virtual appointments. Similarly, a patient whose condition presents a heightened risk for health complications and is easily susceptible to colds and flu would benefit from virtual appointments in the comfort of their home. Of course, the inverse is also true. Some patients may present conditions that require in-person appointments. Others may have conditions that inhibit dexterity and affect their ability to operate the mobile devices necessary for remote care. It is therefore imperative that a clinician understand their patient’s condition before qualifying them for a remote patient management program in order to avoid further complicating health conditions.
The Patient Support System
A patient’s support system refers to the friends, family members, loved ones, and caregivers present and able to provide care support within day-to-day life. While not always necessary, the presence of a strong support system can help determine a patient’s candidacy for remote patient management programs. From taking medication to assisting with mobility or daily function, these support systems work to help improve the quality of care delivered to a patient while at home. As previously stated, patients with conditions that limit their dexterity may have trouble accessing or managing remote care solutions. Ultimately, due to the ‘at-home’ nature of remote patient management, it is important that any patient who requires assistance with day-to-day care needs has the proper support system in place.
Consider Technological Literacy
Remote patient management systems rely heavily on technology to facilitate better patient care. In fact, the crux of remote patient management systems is the technology itself. Platforms like aTouchAway deliver care through mobile devices or tablets in order to make the most of remote calling, messaging, and care flows. It is therefore important to gauge a patient’s technological literacy before enrolling them in a remote patient management program. Probing with questions to understand their current technical knowledge and capabilities, while also walking through hands-on demonstrations, can help to gauge a patient’s technological literacy. While doing so, it is important to withhold preconceived notions. Factors like age, ethnicity, gender, and income should not be used to build assumptions when defining a patient’s ability.
A Health Solution for Everyone
Remote patient management is a powerful tool to complement the healthcare process. With an extensive list of benefits, remote patient management applications have certainly proven their worth within the world of health. However, these solutions are not for everyone. While some may benefit, others may actually see a decline in their level of care. Clinicians looking to pursue the use of remote patient management should always remember to first consider whether or not their patients are suited for the platforms.
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