Last updated: April 26, 2023
According to the World Health Organization – WHO – chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is the 3rd leading cause of death in the world. That’s more than 3 million people yearly. It’s a worldwide epidemic that affects people of all ages, 90% of deaths of those under the age of 70 occur due to lack of equipment, lack of resources, and in remote areas. One of the biggest factors in fighting this trend is diagnosing the issues quickly — COPD is progressive and persistent, and the sooner you can treat it the more likely you are to slow down its evolution. In recent years, there has been an uptick in the use of remote patient monitoring – RPM – for COPD patients. Automated tech has done wonders for curbing many chronic diseases. RPM is a type of technology that allows patients to be monitored remotely by their healthcare providers. Let’s explore some of the many benefits of using RPM for COPD patients.
What are remote patient monitoring devices?
Remote patient monitoring devices are a type of medical device that can be used to manage and supervise patients who are not in the same location as the physician. These devices have become more common in recent years due to their accuracy and convenience.
Remote patient monitoring devices are either worn or installed externally on the body. They provide vital signs such as heart rate, blood pressure, respiratory rate, and oxygen saturation. This data is transmitted to a remote location where it is monitored by a medical professional. The data is also stored on the device so that it can be accessed later.
These small, multifunctional, highly dynamic, and easy-to-use gadgets can help people with COPD as symptoms start to develop – normally from their mid-life onwards. As the condition progresses, Remote Patient Devices can be leveraged to check critical vital signs, such as heart rate and oxygen levels.
What is COPD?
COPD is a chronic lung disease that is characterized by airflow limitation that usually gets worse over time. COPD can lead to serious complications such as respiratory failure and death. The most common cause of COPD is smoking, but it can also be caused by other factors like exposure to air pollution, or genetics.
Abnormalities in the small airways of our lungs can lead to complications. The most common symptoms of COPD are:
- Difficulty breathing or breathlessness.
- Chronic cough, with phlegm.
- Life-threatening fare-ups.
- Cough or wheezing.
RPM AND COPD
Remote patient monitoring devices are used in the detection and treatment of COPD. A remote patient monitoring device can detect early signs of COPD by measuring oxygen levels, heart rate, and other vital signs. It can also monitor the severity of symptoms and help doctors diagnose COPD more quickly than with traditional methods.
A remote patient monitoring device is a small, wearable tool that essentially supervises key vital signs. It’s usually worn on the chest or wrist.
Currently, these types of devices are at the frontline of detection and treatment of COPD
Benefits of remote patient monitoring for COPD
COPD is a progressive condition, with no magic bullet remedy that can heal the lung’s obstruction or damage fully. It is a condition that needs rehabilitation and management constantly — including healthy lifestyle changes, pulmonary rehabilitation, counseling, tobacco cessation, and the ability to adopt clean household energy initiatives.
A huge part of dealing with COPD comes down to self-care — the patient has to want to take care of themselves. Why? Because it is a chronic condition, one that gets worse over time, one that leads to other issues such as osteoporosis, heart disease, lung cancer, musculoskeletal disorders, depression, and anxiety. And ultimately it is a condition that has to be treated daily and one that the patient has to deal with on their own 90% of the time. Remote patient devices are just one more tool they can use in their battle.
Let’s look at some of the benefits.
RPM devices nowadays are incredibly affordable. What was once cost-prohibitive is now low-cost. Why is that? Because these types of devices have become mainstream. Tech companies invested heavily in them, reducing their size, their production value, and making them incredibly easy to acquire.
Reduces the risk of hospitalization
By constantly monitoring the vital signs of a patient, hospitals and clinics can reduce the need for hospitalization. Thanks to Big Data and AI tech these devices can analyze patterns and predict when a flare-up might occur — this is critical because doctors can strategies on how to prevent or contain scenarios that would have led to a hospitalization.
Improves patient outcome
At their core, COPD monitoring devices can be used to improve outcomes by creating a unique and detailed – not a template – strategy for care. One that adapts to a patient and their habits.
Easy to use
One of the main factors as to why Remote Monitoring for COPD has become so widespread is the fact that at its core the tech is intuitive — it’s incredibly easy to use. Doctors as well as patients can master how to properly employ it in less than a day.
Less in-person visits
Remote Patient Monitoring Devices promote, well, remote care. That’s its main function allowing doctors to digitally supervise a patient’s condition. This limits visits and eases the cost of medical treatment.
Better patient engagement
Finally, RPM gadgets give patients key insight into their condition. It educates them and ultimately makes them responsible for their care. This is a critical factor to consider when dealing with a chronic condition — most of the heavy lifting or care will have to be done by the patient.
The importance of continuous monitoring of lung capacity and blood oxygen levels to detect and treat COPD timely
COPD is a progressive lung disease, which means it will continue to get worse unless it is treated.
The disease is caused by inflammation and scarring of the airways, which makes breathing difficult. It can also cause chest pain, a chronic cough, and an increased risk of lung infections. Monitoring lung capacity and blood oxygen levels can help detect COPD early on and provide treatment before the condition worsens.
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