Remote Monitoring To Aid Chronic Disease Care
New technologies will provide continuous, remote monitoring to tens of millions of U.S. residents with chronic diseases such as heart failure, diabetes and mental illnesses, the New York Times reports.
The technologies - developed by medical device companies such as Medtronic, Boston Scientific and Abbott Laboratories - will allow:
- Regulation of heart rate and delivery of shocks when necessary;
- Wireless Internet communication between patients and physicians;
- Blood pressure, glucose and weight monitoring; and
- Alerts about lung and circulatory problems.
The "main use of the data gathered by the newest devices is to reconstruct events that send patients to emergency rooms," but the technology also could result in "more effective use of drugs, fewer and shorter hospital stays, and longer stretches between routine visits to physicians' offices," the Times reports.
According to a recent Department of Veterans Affairs study that followed 70 patients over three months, remote monitoring of their heart implants reduced the time their physicians would have spent on office visits by eight days. However, even innovative systems do not provide a complete view of chronic diseases, and many physicians face reimbursement concerns, according to the Times.
In addition, because many physicians rely on data collection services run by the device companies and independent monitoring services to warn them of anomalies that might require prompt attention, they "fear that plaintiffs' lawyers will try to pin legal responsibility for recognizing warning signals on them," according to the Times (Feder, New York Times, 9/9). This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.