Exploring the Benefits of Remote Cardiac Monitoring

By Alena Nikuliak, Senior Business Analyst and Healthcare IT Consultant, ScienceSoft
Twitter: @ScienceSoft

Healthcare providers can now add remote cardiac monitoring (RCM) to their repertoire. Recent advances in RCM has offered a new way for providers to manage the health of patients with heart conditions. As the number of patients with cardiovascular disease and obesity continues to rise, healthcare systems are investing in RCM to provide improved care. This has led to the growth of the RCM industry, which is projected to be worth $1.55B by 2028.

What is Remote Cardiac Monitoring?

Remote cardiac monitoring is a type of technology-assisted healthcare monitoring that can remotely observe and record a patient’s heart activity. The data is transmitted to the relevant healthcare provider, who can remotely monitor a patient’s heart function and detect any irregularities or abnormalities. Remote cardiac monitors include medical-grade devices like Holter monitors, mobile cardiac telemetry (MCT) monitors, and implantable loop recorders (ILR).

Continue reading to explore the benefits of remote cardiac monitoring and RCM solutions are making a significant impact on the healthcare industry.

Uses Cases for Remote Cardiac Monitoring

Remote cardiac monitoring has a wide range of applications within in the healthcare industry that extend over many different disciplines of medicine, such as:

  • Rhythm Monitoring – RCM can monitor the performance of implantable cardiac devices such as pacemakers and defibrillators. Healthcare providers can remotely monitor the device’s performance and suggest adjustments as needed to ensure optimal function.
  • Disease Prevention – Remote cardiac monitoring can also be used to monitor patients with known or suspected heart conditions. By monitoring patients remotely and in real-time, healthcare providers can identify and address any concerning changes, helping prevent the progression of heart disease, arrhythmias, and other abnormalities.
  • Outpatient and Postoperative – RCM can also be used to monitor patients who have recently undergone cardiac surgery or procedures. With real-time monitoring, healthcare providers can address any post-op issues early, reducing the risk of serious complications.
  • Prenatal Monitoring – The incidence of maternal heart disease is rising, with 1-4% of pregnancies presenting these risks. With RCM, healthcare providers can monitor the heart activity of both the mother and the fetus, providing peace of mind and ensuring rapid response to any potential cardiac issues.
  • Sports Medicine – With remote cardiac monitoring it is possible to monitor the heart activity of athletes during training and competition. By monitoring heart activity live, healthcare providers can identify and address any concerning changes, reducing the risk of injury and sudden cardiac arrest.

Advantages of RCM

Remote cardiac monitoring represents a significant advancement in the field of cardiac care, with the potential to dramatically improve patient monitoring under everyday circumstances.

With the ability to monitor patients from a distance, RCM offers many benefits over traditional in-person monitoring methods. The technology has major potential to transform patient outcomes and monitoring accuracy, reduce hospitalizations, all while increasing access to care for patients in remote or underserved areas.

Improved Patient Outcomes
Early research shows that RCM can improve patient outcomes in conditions like obstructive pulmonary disease, Parkinson’s disease, and hypertension. With remote cardiac monitoring, patients can receive live monitoring of their heart activity, and their healthcare provider can receive alerts about any concerning changes in their heart function.

This allows healthcare providers to take prompt action and provide early intervention if necessary, which can help to prevent serious complications.

Reduced Hospitalizations
Remote cardiac monitoring can also help to reduce hospitalizations for patients with heart conditions by up to 37%. With real-time monitoring, healthcare providers can reduce the need for acute care, by catching potential health issues before they become more serious.

In some cases, RCM can catch and notify patients of cardiac, which helps patients to avoid hospitalization altogether and reduces healthcare costs.

Increased Convenience and Access to Care
RCM offers a notable advantage of increased patient convenience and fostering engagement. Remote monitoring allows patients to receive real-time monitoring of their heart activity from their homes, eliminating the need for frequent hospital visits and appointments.

This is particularly helpful for patients with mobility issues or those residing in remote areas, as it reduces the need for travel.

Improved Monitoring Accuracy
The use of remote cardiac monitoring (RCM) can enhance the precision of heart condition monitoring. RCM wearables may alert patients to reposition sensors if the device detects inaccurate readings while also improving diagnostic accuracy by generating a more complete and detailed picture of a patient’s heart activity.

Key Functions of Remote Cardiac Monitoring

Any remote cardiac monitoring solution should cover these vital functions to provide the most effective management of cardiac conditions:

1. Detect Abnormalities
RCM can expertly process signals from monitoring devices to discern the subtle nuances of the patient’s heartbeat and distinguish beats from external noise. By filtering out extraneous signals, this remote monitoring solution delivers accurate and reliable information

With the aid of machine learning, modern RCM solutions can detect deviations from the expected heart rhythm, such as arrhythmias, a-fib, and v-tach. Whenever such changes occur, both parties are promptly alerted.

2. Data Analysis and Reports
An effective remote cardiac monitoring (RCM) system employs artificial intelligence (AI) to automatically record, analyze, and interpret cardiac data, providing insights to healthcare providers.

Advanced AI algorithms are now in use to detect emerging trends and predict potential cardiac events, all while generating interactive visualizations and reports for physicians. With this cutting-edge technology at their fingertips, doctors can quickly adapt treatment plans, training programs, or schedule further examinations, all with the aim of achieving optimal patient outcomes.

Whether it’s spotting early warning signs of cardiac disease or devising individualized treatment strategies, these AI-powered dashboards empower healthcare providers to deliver top-quality care with greater accuracy and efficiency.

3. Customizable Thresholds
Customizable threshold monitoring allows physicians to set individualized monitoring parameters for patients based on their medical history and specific cardiac condition. When the readings surpass the predetermined thresholds, the system automatically sends alerts to both the healthcare provider and the patient.

These alerts may be delivered through email, SMS, or an online portal, enabling timely intervention to prevent adverse cardiac events.

4. Failure Detection
With the advent of IoT-based device tracking, modern healthcare technology has reached a new level of sophistication. By integrating remote monitoring systems into implantable devices like pacemakers, cardiologists can detect potential device failure. In the unlikely event of any issues, patients and physicians are promptly notified, so timely action can be taken.

5. Symptom Log
A symptom log is a powerful tool for allowing patients to record their cardiac symptoms, including palpitations, shortness of breath, stress, and fatigue. A symptom log provides a comprehensive overview of the patient’s health, which can be combined with RCM reports to develop more effective treatment plans.

6. Online Patient-Doctor Communication
A remote cardiac monitoring solution should also provide a suite of online communication tools to remove the barrier between patients and physicians.

Doctors can schedule virtual visits to assess a patient’s health status. RCM is a great tool but does not eliminate the need for patient-doctor relationships. Providers can send care instructions and give feedback on test results directly from an online portal. Patients can also send messages through the portal to report new symptoms or schedule a virtual appointment.

The Future for RCM

One of the key areas of focus for the future of RCM is the development of more advanced and sophisticated monitoring devices that can offer more detailed and accurate reporting on a patient’s heart activity.

Another important trend in the advancement of remote cardiac monitoring is the integration of machine learning and artificial intelligence technologies. These technologies will be able to analyze large amounts of data from remote monitoring devices and provide better real-time insights and predictions about a patient’s health status.

The future of remote cardiac monitoring (RCM) looks bright as advancements in technology continue to drive its growth and impact in the healthcare industry. With the increasing demand for remote monitoring solutions, RCM is poised to play a larger role in the management of heart conditions in the coming years.