Guest Column | October 22, 2018

Virtual Monitoring & How It Can Improve The Patient Experience

By Perry Price, Revation Systems

Patient Monitoring System

In today’s digital world, customer experience is everything. In nearly every industry, consumers who are unsatisfied with the service they receive or by an experience they have with an organization will seek that service elsewhere. The healthcare industry has been known for lacking a positive patient experience, with grumblings of frustration with the healthcare system heard across the country.

So, what is patient experience? And why are healthcare organizations today focusing on improving it? The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality defines patient experience as the range of interactions that patients have with the healthcare system, including their care from health plans, doctors, nurses and staff in hospitals as well as other healthcare facilities.

Although the new digital technology has offered numerous benefits to various organizations and their customers, it also has significantly altered patient expectations. For example, today’s patients expect communication with a healthcare provider to be instantaneous and from any mobile device wherever they happen to be at a given time.

As a result, many healthcare organizations are turning to virtual patient monitoring as a way to expand the reach of their care outside the traditional four walls of a clinic or hospital. In a 2017 KPMG survey, researchers found that one-third of healthcare providers currently use virtual patient monitoring to improve patient engagement and access to care. Virtual monitoring can benefit patient communication with physicians/nurses by streamlining care for chronic conditions and providing remote care to rural areas, all of which can deepen the provider-patient relationship through better, more consistent communication.

Streamlining Care For Chronic Conditions  

The National Health Council cites that in 2009 approximately 133 million Americans were affected by chronic illness, a number expected to reach 157 million by 2020. Chronic care is one particular area that can use advancements in technology to its advantage by improving the overall experience.

For example, today’s virtual patient monitoring technology can help chronically ill patients as they face frequent travel to and from medical facilities.

Consider the following: Samuel has suffered from rheumatoid arthritis for many years and must visit his doctor at least once a month. With help from his daughter, Samuel has to keep track of (and secure transportation for) increasingly regular appointments with his doctor to monitor his condition and treatment plan. With virtual monitoring solutions, however, such as wearable devices that track his vital signs, Samuel can decrease his in-office visits to once a quarter instead of monthly. As a result, he and his loved ones don’t have to deal with the hassle of constant in-person appointments, and he receives an enhanced quality of care for his condition.

Improving the patient experience should be a top priority for healthcare organizations because of its impact in streamlining care for patients with chronic conditions. Today’s new technology and expanded capabilities can be easily employed to transform the experience of those living with chronic conditions and the care they receive both inside and outside the walls of a health provider’s facility.

Expanding Remote Care To Rural Areas

In a similar way, virtual monitoring benefits patients living in rural areas. For those located a distance from the nearest clinic, in-office visits for even semi-routine procedures or checkups can often prove a difficult hurdle as patients may live as many as 80 miles away from the nearest specialist.

As a result, they need to carve more time out of their schedule for the travel and sometimes forgo treatment altogether because of the burden. In the same way virtual monitoring devices can eliminate the need for patients with chronic conditions to physically travel to see their provider, however, this new technology can allow rural patients the opportunity to schedule virtual visits with their doctors via video — and even from a mobile device — in place of a visit to the clinic.

This type of virtual care and monitoring enhances the patient experience, while often providing preventive care as well, which benefits both the patients and providers. Healthcare organizations that utilize digital technology to offer remote care to patients residing in rural areas not only improve the patient experience, but also can help save lives from a distance.

As digital transformation continues to surge, the future of virtual patient monitoring is promising. With continued advancements in technology constantly raising the bar for virtual monitoring solutions, the care that patients receive is certain to transform even further — offering an enhanced patient experience along the way.

About The Author

Perry Price is CEO/president of Revation Systems. In this role, Price builds and grows the customer base, recruits qualified talent, and streamlines internal operations. Price utilizes his deep domain expertise in IP networking and communication applications, including telephony, unified communications, call-center technologies, and messaging.