Quebec is an early adopter of Remote Patient Monitoring, having used remote personalized care for almost 15 years.

In 2015, the province chose Orion Health’s RPM platform for widespread use. In the first year, more than 1,500 patients were managed on the program and preliminary results are excellent. Patient satisfaction is at 90 percent, which reflects the readiness of the patient to use such tools. When patients adopt a prescribed treatment plan, these empowered patients take part in care decision making, which results in better and more sustainable patient outcomes. For patients living with a chronic condition, every day can be a challenge. As those with chronic diseases or conditions understand, treatment is less about curing a disease and more about learning to live with it – a feat that can be challenging without sacrificing an independent and fulfilling life.

Fortunately, solutions like Remote Patient Management (RPM) have eased the lifestyle shifts that chronic diseases can encumber. In one case, a Quebec patient put on an RPM program last year was able to get back into running multiple times a week – despite the fact he had stopped physical exercise for many years due to his illness. This patient was not cured by the program. However, he learned how to live with his chronic condition more easily. While not all patients will end up with such an extraordinary outcome, the empowerment and sense of security that comes from an RPM program can improve a patient’s health status and quality of life. RPM is the personal health assistant, elevating patients and family-caregivers’ expertise effortlessly through interactive daily health activities. It fosters empowerment and improves a user’s sense of security about their condition.

This is because they can manage their health independently, reacting quickly to symptoms and thereby avoiding unnecessary ED visits. Simultaneously, patients have direct access to care providers should the need arise. Furthermore, although patients with chronic conditions are often primary targets, services delivered through RPM are expanding. Value services such as pre- and post-surgery monitoring, highrisk pregnancy, oncology, etc., are generating excellent outcomes for patients and value for healthcare administrators.

At this point, it’s hard to doubt the benefits of RPM, so the real question is: “Can healthcare organizations integrate this tool widely in conventional care processes?” The first consideration must be the solution’s ability to exchange information with external systems. Interoperability is important considering most patients targeted by RPM programs have complex chronic diseases with information in several systems.

As well, self on-boarding processes and simplicity of use is important so that patients can become familiar with RPM at their own pace, on their own time. In short, simplification of logistics and reduced costs surrounding patient support, facilitates mainstream deployment and improves ROI.

As the Certified Professional in Healthcare Information & Management Systems (CPHIMS) handbook states, “Sustainability (of our healthcare system) is most likely to be achieved by effectively engaging patients as active participants in managing their own health,” which is precisely what RPM does. RPM is a solution that balances better patient outcomes while significantly lowering the costs of complex chronic patients. And patients are now demanding it.

This article originally appeared in the Canadian Healthcare Technology April 2017 issue which can be accessed via the canhealth website.