According to CDC, 85 million people have been vaccinated from COVID-19 in the United States to this date. While the fight is still not over for this pandemic, vulnerable patients such are still at risk for acquiring this deadly virus.
Many health care industries paved their way to improve health care in the digital age. The rise of teleconsults and remote patient monitoring are becoming more inevitable as it promotes more engagement among patients and health care providers. Will pregnant patients benefit from RPM as well?
Originally intended for chronic patients, telehealth has expanded its services to more specialties in medicine. Pregnant patients, who are included in the vulnerable population, are placed with so many challenges among health care providers. Despite efforts to improve maternal well-being, pregnant women still do not regularly attend medical follow-ups.
Being pregnant in this unprecedented time has caused more anxiety, especially to first-time mothers and expecting mothers with comorbidities such as hypertension and diabetes. Health care models continue to innovate and improve in order to optimize services to patients while minimizing COVID-19 exposure.
For a healthy pregnancy, regular prenatal checkups are advised every month during their 4th to 28th week of pregnancy. On the 28th to 36th week, doctors advise one prenatal checkup every two weeks. Furthermore, one prenatal visit is required per week for the 36th to 40th week of pregnancy. Monitoring is different among patients who have more comorbidities and should be individualized by health care providers. But generally, they have more checkups than their healthy counterparts., one prenatal visit is required per week for the 36th to 40th week of pregnancy. Monitoring is different among patients who have more comorbidities and should be individualized by health care providers. But generally, they have more checkups than their healthy counterparts.
In the traditional clinical setting, follow-ups from HCPs require scheduled appointments to the doctors. Sometimes, walk-in patients are welcomed. When the pandemic hit, the workload in hospitals took a great toll in caring for sick patients.
The number of patients arriving at the doctor’s clinic became limited, and patients have restrained their time with doctors in the hopes of trying to limit possible exposure to the virus. This situation has created a barrier and contributed to a lesser number of regular checkups with their doctors.
Telehealth made innovations by providing virtual checkups for pregnant patients. Contrary to the belief that RPM is only for tech-savvy patients, most patients have a good response to telehealth by giving fewer hassles of scheduling appointments with doctors. Both health care providers and pregnant patients are saved from acquiring potential infections by limiting exposure to diseases. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends maximizing telehealth services to maintain access to prenatal and postpartum care during the COVID-19 pandemic. Expanded access to telehealth modalities like remote patient monitoring and durable medical equipment should be considered for broad-scale and long-term implementation beyond this pandemic.
As a medical doctor, the best thing about remote patient monitoring is preventing complications brought about by pregnancy-related diseases. Preeclampsia caused by hypertension has an incidence of 5% in the United States alone. With regular BP monitoring, HCPs will be alerted of potential risks brought about by uncontrolled blood pressure. Pregnant patients can be remotely monitored to control their weight and improve their diet. Prevention of complications with regular remote patient monitoring will lead to lesser hospital admissions, which will be more economical.
While more studies are emerging regarding the effectiveness of RPM, more prenatal classes have been offered by health care providers, in addition to breathing classes and online community groups, which have immensely helped mothers reduce anxiety. Working mothers and mothers caring for older children will have less burden of leaving work for a prenatal checkup. RPM is bigger than the monitors they provide. Knowing that someone will be happy to assist you with your pregnancy journey will be of big help even if you are confined at home.
Will RPM be here to stay even if the pandemic is gone?
Mothers can attend their postpartum checkups through teleconsults and remote patient monitoring. RPM is a health care model designed for long-term conditions. More patient satisfaction is expected from health care providers because with continuous assistance, remote patients are more empowered to improve health conditions. After the pandemic, our current “new normal setup” of integrating technology with hospitals will remain and become the future of the health industry.
While certain laboratory tests such as urinalysis and ultrasound imaging are done at a clinic, the future leans on having a more holistic approach for pregnant patients where scheduled checkups will be more optimized to save time, money and limit exposure to diseases.
About DrKumo Inc.
DrKumo is a technology leader in massively scalable, continuous, real-time Remote Patient Monitoring solution for Chronic Disease Management, Acute Care, Post-Operation, and Hospital Care At Home.
It solves the most painful problems in healthcare with a user-friendly solution powered by its state-of-the-art, HIPAA-compliant, mobile-enabled, continuous real-time monitoring, and AI/ML engine. Then company’s Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) technology enables patients to manage their health conditions in the comfort of their homes and supports healthcare providers with real-time intelligence for timely intervention. DrKumo revolutionizes the way people access quality health care across the world. With a culture that is innovative, collaborative, and technology-driven, DrKumo provides the most effective solutions to both patients and healthcare providers.