Cool Stuff

Digital Health Week 2022 - Remote Patient Monitoring

It’s Digital Health Week from the from the 5th to the 8th of December, and we thought it would be the perfect opportunity to reflect on some of our movements in the digital health space over the last few years.


One project we undertook was a trial of Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM). RPM refers to the use of health monitoring devices to track a client’s health metrics, so that care can be delivered both remotely and preemptively. With an increasing aging population, and the growing cost of services, we recognized a need to provide alternative ways of caregiving. We saw that while no technology can completely replace an in-person visit, RPM can make virtual home care visits possible, when and where it makes sense. The implementation of Remote Patient Monitoring devices would allow us to receive up-to-the-minute data – such as heart rate, blood pressure, oxygen saturation – which would enable preemptive care that can either prevent unnecessary hospital visits, or promote more efficient interactions between clients and their care team.

To get a better picture of the experience of using an RPM device we spoke to Tony, who had been using one to monitor his heart after developing pericarditis. Through our pilot with the devices, we were able to provide the knowledge and the technology to assist him.

“I went to my GP and he suggested that I get my heart problems caught – if I could – on a device so he could see what was going on. So, I got a hold of one, and then I could monitor it myself. It was concerning to me that I was having my heart skipping half a beat all the time, and I was having really bad vibrations when exercising; so it was for my own monitoring I guess. I would only check at night-time because when I’m at work – I’m a builder – I don’t really feel it when I’m walking around. It was when I was relaxed at bed time, that’s when I would feel it, so that’s when I would monitor it.”

Although RPM devices don’t provide treatment, but rather a means to check and track health metrics, Tony says being able to monitor his own health did make him feel a bit better.

 “Did it make me feel better? That’s a good question. Yes, I think it did actually. There’s always that concern in the back of your mind with your heart not functioning like you’re used to. Because I’m usually a fairly fit person and I’ve done sports all my life, I’m not used to my heart doing that, so it was quite concerning to me. So yeah, I guess it did make me feel a little bit better, but there is always the anxiety in the background of your heart not doing what it normally does.

I changed doctors during this time because the guy I was with still wasn’t having face-to-face appointments – this was well after the big Covid wave had gone through – but yeah, they were only letting people in one at a time and when I got in, he talked to me down the hall of his practice. So going up there to get my heart monitored just wasn’t going to happen, so it was really good to have it at home. And it not only monitored my heart’s electrical pulses but it gave me my blood oxygen level and my heart rate. So that was kind of assuring, to see they were really good as well.”

Tony said that he found using his device very simple, although he found that he couldn’t just use it ‘on the go’, he had to have some preplanning around when he was going to take readings.

“I usually read before I go to sleep and that’s when I could feel it, but then I’d reach for the device and the movement would sort of upset the regularity of it. So when you go to use the device to capture that irregular heartbeat, sometimes it doesn’t work so well. So, the thing is, if you’re going to do it, you have to have the device there, ready, turned on and ready to go.”

We are glad we went through a thorough trial of RPM, because it means we better know how to support those who have a monitoring device. Although we believe the logistics of rolling out RPM across our company could take away from our focus on service delivery, and our mission to provide the highest quality of in home care, we can support those who have this technology on an individual basis.