In recent years, virtual visits between physicians and patients have become very common, especially with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The willingness of physicians, patients, and insurers to embrace virtual medicine will most likely keep this option popular in healthcare.
Telemedicine is broadly defined as the use of communication technologies to provide remote medical care. Telemedicine has become a valuable tool due to the combined advances in communications, computer science, informatics, and medical technologies.
Telemedicine often involves remote monitoring of blood pressure, heart rate, and other measurements obtained through a device worn by the patient and sent electronically to medical personnel. In addition, smartphones and other intelligent personal devices are increasingly being used for health status collection, dissemination, and analysis due to their growing presence worldwide, including remote and underserved communities.
Remote patient monitoring (RPM) enables monitoring patients outside the clinical setting, such as in the home. Patients wear or carry sensors that collect and transmit physiological data to healthcare professionals wirelessly. MRP can significantly improve a person’s quality of life. For example, in diabetes management, real-time transmission of blood glucose readings allows healthcare providers to intervene when necessary and prevent serious events and hospitalizations. In addition, remote monitoring offers new opportunities for clinical teams to assess patient conditions without the need to be physically present in the same room all the time.
Typically, remote monitoring solutions consist of one or more cameras that, around the clock, capture video footage of high-risk patients housed in temporarily reassigned intensive care units (ICUs) or operating rooms. In this environment, a remotely operated camera offers obvious benefits, as it does not require the physical presence of a person to adjust the field of view or other camera settings. Staff can view the patient and view patient condition information in the room remotely.
Even without installing special video cabling, some systems can carry digitized video footage, audio, and other signals over an IP network in combination with unique cameras. In a nursing room or anywhere else in the hospital, video footage can be viewed via a browser on an authorized PC, tablet, or large screen.
Currently, the monitoring of some implantable cardiac devices such as pacemakers and automatic defibrillators, as well as cardiac resynchronization therapy associated with an implantable automatic defibrillator, are the most frequently used, and their monitoring can be carried out via satellite; therefore, their review and monitoring have increased face-to-face visits in pacemaker and defibrillator clinics. In addition, the satellite-based remote monitoring system is a reliable diagnostic tool, allowing early detection of significant arrhythmias occurring in subjects with implantable cardiac devices.
Video monitoring is not designed to replace the skills of nursing staff. However, it may provide an opportunity for nurses to extend care to a more significant number of patients. Also, ease of use is crucial for remote monitoring solutions in acute care settings, where the focus must always be on the patient. Remote monitoring involves no additional tasks for the nursing staff: the system is effectively “transparent” from the user’s perspective, with no need to operate other complex equipment or install different cabling.