Monitoring patients with chronic illnesses is one of the most difficult challenges of modern healthcare. With the state of these individuals changing from day to day, it is often impossible to ensure their safety purely with regular check-ups. So, how to ensure that they always receive adequate and fast treatment?
The answer is: with technology. There are many digital solutions that enable remote monitoring for chronic conditions, based on the newest innovations and capabilities of the tech at our disposal. In this article, we describe them, presenting examples of digital diagnostics tools utilized for this purpose.
Chronic disease treatment faces numerous challenges, from administration to patient’s self-managementDigital solutions such as mobile apps, IoT devices, and AI may aid patients in their self-monitoring and provide their care teams with relevant information.Many of the digital solutions for chronic conditions are too expensive to be given to everybody, thus their accessibility should be the priority in the upcoming years.
The Current Challenges to Optimal Chronic Disease Treatment
Before we proceed with listing the digital solutions for chronic conditions, let us stop for a minute and focus on the challenges that this kind of treatment faces. It will help us better understand the role of each of the technologies listed further in this article.
There are several obstacles that chronic illness treatment faces on a regular basis. What are they in particular?
• Complex communication – The care team of individuals with chronic diseases is often large. Yet, this leads to communication issues. Phoning, mailing, faxing, seeing in person – it consumes time, slows down the treatment, and hinders its quality.
• Limited support for self-management – Most medical facilities include only the simplest solutions to a patient's chronic condition self-management. This is most frequently due to high costs.
• Difficulty in tracking progress – Progress is the buzzword of any individual suffering from a chronic condition. However, care teams often find it difficult to control and record all the measures that were undertaken, thus making progress monitoring more tricky.
Digital Solutions for Remote Monitoring of Chronic Conditions
The options for better monitoring and controlling the state of patients suffering from chronic conditions vary. Some are simple, other embrace the newest technologies, but what is most crucial – all of them are effective. What are the examples of such solutions? We present you with a short list:
As simple as this might sound, dedicated mobile applications are among the key tools used to improve chronic disease patients’ self-management. Their key principle is to send reminders for taking medicine or undertaking other measures advised by physicians. However, most of these applications also measure the available metrics of the patients, with the data accessible in the app. This makes it easier for patients to approach a physician, since they may quickly provide them with the information on their condition between the visits.
Unfortunately, most applications do not share data with healthcare providers. There are, however, some that operate in cloud-based systems and do that, though in most cases patients would be required to take different measures to send live information to their care team.
Mobile applications are also excellent at keeping track of the treatment and its progress. Even when a patient changes their provider or care team, they still have quick, easy access to all the data they need to present to the new physician, who is thus able to maintain treatment continuity.
Internet of Things (IoT) Devices
Intelligent health monitors and trackers are also among the digital solutions used for chronic conditions treatment. Let us take a look at some more detailed examples of how they work:
Smart inhalers – They are used for those suffering from chronic respiratory conditions. They do not only provide patients with the medicine they need but also measure their parameters at the same time, and send this information to the healthcare provider.
Smart pill dispensers – These devices are used to ensure that the patient takes their medicine regularly, in proper time intervals.
Emotion AI, being widely used in marketing, has also found its usage in healthcare. Wristbands created on the basis of it are designed to monitor pulse, blood oxidation, or even the emotions a person feels. The purpose of this is simple: quick reaction time.
Devices based on emotion AI can quickly spot when something happens to the patient. When combined with a tracking system, they are able to evaluate the risk and send automatic calls for help to the healthcare provider.
An excellent example of chronic condition patients that can benefit from this are those with diabetes. With low sugar levels, they are prone to pass out. An AI-based remote diagnostic tool will quickly send the information about the low sugar levels to the healthcare provider and monitor other key metrics to check whether the patient is conscious, thus enabling the quickest reaction possible.
Is Remote Monitoring the Key for Chronic Condition Treatment?
With numerous digital solutions, controlling the state of patients suffering from chronic diseases becomes easier than ever before. However, we are just at the beginning of the road. Many of the technologies are still too expensive to be introduced on a large scale. Thus, the current aim of the healthcare industry should be to make these devices accessible to everybody.
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