I think many of us would agree that life has been somewhat strange for the past several weeks as we globally battle COVID-19. As I sat with my 10-year old daughter attempting my best to be a home schoolteacher, she looked up at me and said, “has anything like this happened before?” I told her there have certainly been pandemics before, but none that have directly affected us like COVID-19.
Our household has experienced so many emotions during this weird time of social distancing — we have been sad, anxious, silly, stressed, fearful, happy enjoying our time together and of course getting on each other’s nerves. Everyone is anxious to return to their “normal,” although I think that our normal may be forever changed — especially in the world of remote patient care and monitoring.
The fact of the matter is that the current global health crisis has brought about changes that are actually positive, and honestly should have been implemented sooner. We who work in the RPM industry have always known the positive benefits of remote care; however, there were always barriers that prevented the acceptance of this model of care.
A Greater Need for Self Management
If COVID-19 has taught us anything, it's that patients can indeed be cared for in their homes. Our health system has proliferated the notion that in order to receive quality healthcare services you must be in a hospital or traditional clinic. As an acute care nurse practitioner who previously worked at Vanderbilt Medical Center, I certainly understand that there is a time and place for a hospital admission and regular clinic visits. But today more than ever, there's also a rapidly growing need for a different model of care.
'If COVID-19 has taught us anything, it's that patients can indeed be cared for in their homes'
For decades, our conventional healthcare system has perpetuated the notion and expectation of patients being dependent on their physician for the management of their conditions. In reality, though, we should continually encourage self-management as much as possible. Not only does it enable more home-based care, but patients feel more empowered and confident when they learn how to self-manage components of their condition, which can lead to better outcomes, too.
Self-management is one of the key behaviors that's improved when a patient participates in an RPM program. The benefits of RPM extend to providers, too. Physician offices are often inundated with phone calls, appointments, and patients in need of care; thus, the more that patients can be self-sufficient, the less frequently they'll feel compelled to visit the office. And we've learned that, for virtually any health condition, there are components that can be managed at home with the appropriate guidance and oversight.
As COVID-19 has halted many of life's normal activities, so too has it accelerated the demand and need for care in the home. In this era of Amazon Prime and Instacart, where convenience is king and people have the power to interact on their own terms, how we spend our time is meaningful to us — and healthcare can be treated the same way.
Finally Seeing the Value of Remote Patient Care
When I work in traditional medicine, I often saw patients who struggled to get to our clinic — it was a taxing journey, and it often included a long wait time when they did arrive. And many of these visits could have easily been managed via a video conference within an RPM program.
COVID-19 has quickly forced our healthcare system to recognize the value and meaningfulness of remote patient care. It has also forced hospital systems to review criteria and conditions that define who requires hospitalization and who can be treated at home. And the RPM solutions offered by Care Innovations are uniquely positioned to assist with both concerns, arming clinicians with tools to virtually monitor a patient's vital signs, review current symptoms and even interact face to face via virtual visit technology.
In the best of times, the hospital is not a comfortable place to be. In the current setting of COVID-19 it can be actively harmful by increasing the risk of patient exposure to the virus. Patients are more comfortable at home anyway, and RPM provides an effective and efficient mode of healthcare delivery that's more convenient and less taxing on the patient.
The negative impact that COVID-19 has created globally will forever impact our lives, but I do believe that there will be positives that will emerge from this pandemic. The importance of RPM and the growing acceptance of remote patient care is definitely a positive. Care Innovations is so proud to offer a comprehensive COVID-19 program in addition to more than 60 other clinical programs. It is a privilege to be able to help provide patients with exceptional healthcare while staying in the comfort and safety of their own home.
We wish you, your staff, patients and community the best of luck and good health in these difficult times. If you're interested in learning more about how our remote care services can help your patients achieve new levels of self management, please contact us here, or call us at 855-885-CARE (2273).
About Lesley Mathis, RN, MSSW, MSN, ACNP-BC
Prior to entering the healthcare technology industry, Lesley worked as a bedside nurse in CCU/CVICU and then became the Nurse Practitioner for the Chief of Cardiac Surgery at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Several years later, Lesley went to work for Care Innovations where she plays a key role in developing strategies for large payers, providers, and pharma. She is devoted to helping her customers drive critical adoption of RPM, development of unique protocols, and working on population health with the business intelligence (BI) platform at Care Innovations.
Lesley is very passionate about the importance of healthcare technology and is truly an ambassador for the RPM community. Lesley earned her MSSW from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville and her Master’s in Nursing from Vanderbilt University. She is a board-certified acute care nurse practitioner and lives in Nashville, Tennessee.