Both within the medical community and outside of it, remote patient monitoring (RPM) devices are becoming commonplace. From fitness trackers and smartwatches that gather physiological data to targeted medical devices like continuous glucose monitors and smart blood pressure cuffs, the amount of information doctors can track is growing by the day.
This shift from in-house care to remote monitoring has many proven benefits for doctors and patients alike. Within the diabetes market, RPM has increased positive outcomes for millions living with this disease. And yet, there are still untapped areas within this niche where RPM could have a profound impact.
Below, we’ll look at the untapped potential within the diabetes care community and how innovative remote patient monitoring solutions could help doctors and patients connect for better outcomes. We’ll also take a look at how popular cloud platforms are making it easier for innovative companies to create these connections.
Benefits of RPM and Cloud-Connected Applications
The benefits of remote patient monitoring have been well-documented through countless studies(1). As these products become more innovative and less restrictive, the benefits will only continue to grow.
Advantages of Remote Patient Monitoring for Medical Providers:
- Early detection of illness
- Real-time tracking of symptoms
- Continuous monitoring for more complete data
- Prevention of worsening symptoms
- Reduced hospitalizations
- Improved communication
- Higher patient intake vs square footage
- Lower brick-and-mortar expenses
- Improved patient experience
Advantages of Remote Patient Monitoring for Patients:
- Ability to perform normal daily activities during monitoring
- Fewer invasive medical interventions
- More timely emergency medical care
- Customized care plans
- More direct care at a lower cost
- Fewer complications from chronic illness
- Reduction and prevention of untimely deaths
Given the many benefits of this particular arena of medical care, it is no wonder that the RPM market has been growing rapidly for the past decade. Technological improvements and access to cloud computing and storage have allowed for massive innovation that will only continue to grow as we move into the future.
Remote Patient Monitoring in the Diabetes Market
Even within a market as narrow as the diabetes community, RPM has proven highly advantageous in many forms. Most notably, continuous glucose monitors (CGMs) have allowed for better control and more accurate doctor intervention for millions on insulin therapy. Applications capable of integrating pump and smart pen data, blood glucose readings, CGMs, and diet information have helped patients and doctors see the bigger picture for more informed medication adjustments.
Studies have shown that the more aspects of the disease that are monitored, the higher the reduction of secondary complications and premature death. The clear connection between these facts has led to much innovation within the industry. And yet, there is still a slew of untapped potential for those looking to develop new RPM devices.
Untapped Opportunities for Continuous Glucose Monitoring Devices
CGMs have long been used to track blood glucose data in type 1 diabetics and type 2 patients on insulin. These connected devices lend themselves easily to use with cloud-connected platforms for simple remote monitoring. Traditional blood glucose meters are used much less frequently for RPM despite most having the capacity for app connectivity.
By ignoring the opportunity for connecting finger-stick meters to RPM platforms, we are overlooking a huge portion of the diabetic community. Approximately 69% of people living with diabetes do not require insulin therapy(2). Most of these patients do not have access to CGMs due to insurance coverage constraints. This means they are forced to use finger-stick monitors exclusively in order to track their blood sugar.
A study from England looking into the effects of remote patient monitoring of glucose-meter utilizing, non-insulin-treated type 2 patients, found an increase in favorable outcomes with RPM(3). Compared to the control group, which received traditional care, the test group showed clinically important improvements to their blood sugar levels through the nine-month RPM period.
This improvement was achieved despite the use of less advanced reporting technologies that required a fair amount of work on the part of the subjects. Other studies have shown the importance of patient activation and engagement with RPM, and the necessity of less invasive strategies, in the overall success of the therapy (4). There is no doubt that providing type 2 patients who do not utilize a CGM an easier way to engage in RPM would result in even greater improvements.
This is just one of many examples of holes in the market that could be easily filled by the right SaMD Software Developer. Other studies have revealed the need for further innovation centering around hypertension monitoring and blood pressure cuff data integration within the diabetic community. The use of contactless image-based monitoring in diabetes care is another field brimming with opportunity.
Innovative Cloud Platforms for Easy Connectivity
Creating a device for collecting finger-stick data, blood pressure measurements, or advanced image-based sensing is just the first step to creating an RPM system. Another major piece of the puzzle is finding a cloud platform to host and analyze your data so it can be used by the patient and their caregiver.
Luckily, many of the major cloud providers have created IoT-specific offerings for the healthcare industry. These end-to-end packages make it easier than ever to connect RPM devices and SaMD to the cloud.
Amazon Web Services has created IoT 1-Click to allow device manufacturers an easy way to onboard their device and make it discoverable as a plug-and-play option by other companies. Microsoft has recently unveiled its Azure service, which has packages specifically designed for helping companies with RPM devices integrate and scale with added security and AI capabilities. Salesforce Health Cloud is a one-stop shop for companies in need of a platform to store and process data for their RPM-connected devices.
These larger companies represent only the tip of the iceberg for options when creating cloud-connected RPM tools.
Bringing Device, Software, and Cloud Together
The many benefits of remote patient monitoring will continue to drive expansion within this field, leading to new opportunities and a constant need for innovative devices to take advantage of them. Within the diabetes niche, alone, there are currently a number of untapped markets just waiting to be explored. Companies looking to fill those needs will require cloud applications and storage solutions to connect their device to patients and caregivers.
Finding the right cloud platform and creating software capable of taking advantage of all it has to offer are not easy steps to take alone. If you need help taking your device from a brilliant idea to an integrated, scalable, unstoppable RPM solution, Sequenex is here to help. Connect with us today.