Home » Digital Health » Remote monitoring can boost care for patients during pandemic

Emma Line

UK Manager, Professional Medical Business, OMRON

Paul Stevens

Director, Connected Services and Solutions, OMRON

Digital healthcare solutions are enabling an increasing number of patients to monitor their conditions from home and send their readings and data direct to their physician.

Remote patient monitoring is helping streamline healthcare delivery as the NHS continues to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The use of devices to monitor heart rate, blood pressure, respiratory health and other vital signs at home has risen significantly in recent years, but has been accelerated over the past 18 months.

However, while older patients and those with chronic conditions have benefited, industry observers have also noticed that younger people – who already use wearables and apps – are increasingly expecting their healthcare to be digital.

Younger users

Paul Stevens, from medical equipment and health monitoring company OMRON, says older patients – many of whom had chronic conditions and were shielding – adapted to remote monitoring when it became clear they would not be able to see their physicians regularly because of COVID restrictions.

But younger people making the switch to digital solutions were motivated by a sense of helping alleviate the burden on health systems.

“This age group had become very aware of the constraints on the NHS and other healthcare systems around the world and have been looking at how they can be more proactive in their own healthcare,” says Stevens, who is OMRON’s EMEA Director for Connected Services and Solutions.

The shift to remote monitoring for older patients and those with chronic conditions has seen OMRON collaborating with NHS England, particularly over home blood pressure monitoring.

It comes as healthcare providers increasingly acknowledge the benefit of digital solutions in managing chronic disease remotely for high-risk patients.

Digital solutions

“Before the pandemic we saw a trend towards digital solutions within healthcare as consumers changed behaviour across many areas of their lives and began to expect digital solutions in healthcare provision. But the pandemic expedited this trend,” observes Stevens.

He explains that people with hypertension increasingly manage their condition via digital healthcare tools, such as the OMRON connect app that links in with the OMRON system. Data can be transferred to healthcare providers via the app, which can also create a report for the physician.

Data visualisation tools and algorithms optimise GP workflow, enabling family doctors to spend more time with complex patients and ease pressure on the health systems.

The emergence of increasingly sophisticated home-use devices, for example inclusion of single-lead ECG technology to check heart rhythm alongside blood pressure and algorithms that can detect conditions, such as nocturnal hypertension, have been combined with connected solutions to enable patients and doctors to detect and monitor more conditions from the comfort of home. Something that would have been unthinkable only a few years ago.

Doctor’s dashboard

Other systems are specifically designed for use by healthcare professionals to track and manage hypertensive patients.

Launched in March, OMRON’s Hypertension Plus service includes a patient app connected to their doctor’s dashboard.

Before the current pandemic, long-term chronic disease management was creating significant strain on healthcare systems, with staff shortages common across GP services – this issue has further intensified. Hypertension Plus enables doctors to adjust the intake of prescription medication remotely, based on NICE guidelines and strong clinical evidence. It empowers patients to actively manage their condition to achieve a significant blood pressure reduction, which may result in significantly lower rates of heart attacks and strokes throughout the UK” says Stevens.

Data visualisation tools and algorithms optimise GP workflow, enabling family doctors to spend more time with complex patients and ease pressure on the health systems.

Dr Nav Chana, Clinical Director of National Association of Primary Care (NAPC) says: “COVID-19 has highlighted more than ever the importance of managing cardiovascular risk factors particularly in target populations. Technologies such as Hypertension Plus can help primary care clinicians to appropriately target their workload so that they are using their skills most appropriately and able to support patients with the resources they need to manage their blood pressure.”

Hypertension Plus is interoperable with GP IT systems EMIS and SystmOne ensuring a streamlined onboarding process for patients is GDPR compliant and has passed the NHS Digital Technology Assessment Criteria (DTAC). This demonstrates strong clinical safety and data security, providing a seal of approval for the wider adoption of the technology.

For more information visit www.omron-healthcare.co.uk/rpm.html

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