Digital health technology : the top 5 benefits that self-monitoring can bring to patient care
Digital technology has changed the way we live our lives. This is evident by the way in which today we communicate with one another, shop, book our travel and even bank. More recently, the NHS is beginning to engage with digital technology to provide patients with the means in which to self-monitor their health. Listed below are the 5 ways in which self-monitoring can provide benefits to both patients and healthcare professionals in enhancing care:
1.Reducing unnecessary appointments
Enabling patients with the ability to self-monitor reduces the number of routine appointments. This releases capacity for the NHS meaning the same resource can be reach more patients. Additional to NHS savings, the financial burden on patients could similarly be reduced. Associated costs with regular routine appointments such as travel expenses, parking and time taken from work could be reduced for the patient, without the quality of care being compromised.
2. Clinical decisions are based on up-to-date patient information
Patients who take objective measurements of their health indicators are able to provide a continuum of data. If the patient data is able to flow into the patient record, it enables healthcare professionals to make better informed decisions on their patients’ health. Any areas of concern with the data can also be identified early, meaning the appropriate alterations can be made to their car.
Self-monitoring means patients can manage their condition from the convenience of their own homes. They are no longer bound to the next available GP appointment or out-patient clinic opening hours, meaning patients are free to go about their daily lives, holiday and work. Patients can self-test at a time and a place which suits them without disruption. Patients can also choose to submit their data through various channels including by phone, on-line, SMS and apps. Providing patients with a wide range options means that the service can be used by the majority of the population, regardless of technical ability or internet access.
4. Peace of mind
Patients can be reassured that their health is being remotely monitored by their care team who will be in contact if there are any reasons for concern. With self-testing, alerts can be set up which directly contacts your health professional if readings fall out of agreed parameters. Studies carried out at County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust found 100% of patients would recommend self-testing of their INR levels to their friends and family.
5. Improved outcomes
Self-monitoring enables patients to become more engaged and knowledgeable around their conditions. Patients are often more easily able to identify cause and effect and make beneficial changes to their lifestyle accordingly. Studies consistently show that self-testing INR improves a patient’s time in therapeutic range, with a recent study in the UK suggesting that elderly people could benefit the most from self-testing ¹.