Many Texans, particularly the poor and elderly, live in areas that are far from medical care. Telemonitoring, the use of technology to monitor a patient’s health status remotely, is an emerging medical practice intended to help these patients.
Dr. Hye-Chung Kum, of the Texas A&M School of Public Health, along with the Texas A&M Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering and the health care industry have collaborated on a report that reviews the importance of telemonitoring technology for the Texas population. The report reviewed the successful implementation of a semi-autonomous home health monitoring system that measures the blood pressure and/or blood glucose level of a patient and alerts medical staff when either hits a dangerous level.
If an alert occurs, the staff would then contact the patient to determine if the situation reported by the system was accurate and if they need medical assistance. This report is a beginning step to show how telemonitoring technologies can positively impact individuals, especially those living in rural areas.
According to Dr. Kum, “This system can help clinicians focus on the patients that need the most attention, even if they are located remotely. Cost-effective, semi-automated telemonitoring systems have the potential to improve the health of the population through increased access to quality medical care.”
While the report found that telemonitoring provided many benefits, there are still some challenges. The way a clinician’s office is set up can create a disconnect between the individuals receiving data and those making decisions based on the data. This disconnect can block the effectiveness of the telemonitoring system and these challenges will be addressed in future research.Tags: Friday Letter Submission, Publish on August 09