There are many areas of medicine in which these new technologies are being used. The use of telemedicine for ambulatory monitoring is one example. The idea is that the patient does not have to visit the hospital periodically to check his pacemaker or defibrillator. Still, using a transmitter placed on his bedside table, it is possible to access the data sent to a web page of the affiliated hospital. The service controls the perfect functioning of the device.
These new monitoring systems are called telemedicine; medicine practiced at a distance that includes diagnosis and treatment and medical education. It is a technological resource that makes it possible to optimize healthcare services, saving time and money, and bringing peace of mind and quality of life to patients.
Home monitoring is applying data transmission technology from a device implanted in a patient to the specialist’s office. For this to be possible, the Holter, pacemaker, or defibrillator must be capable of transmitting, and the patient must have a device at home to transfer this information.
Since the first pacemaker that could be monitored via mobile telephony was launched, the evolution of these systems has been immense. Today some companies have home monitoring systems and, although some use mobile telephony, others fixed telephony; some are automatic, and others require some collaboration from the patient; they are all along the same lines and aim to offer a new tool to the physician responsible for monitoring these devices, which allows them to obtain valuable information without the need for the patient to come to the office.
Monitoring currently includes pacemakers, implantable defibrillators (ICDs), subcutaneous Holter, and cardiac resynchronization devices (CRTs). These implantable systems offer multiple programmable aspects and can store large amounts of diagnostic information related to devising function, arrhythmia rate, patient activity/status, and so on.
Within remote patient monitoring, remote follow-ups in which the patient plays an active role allow the patient not to go to the hospital and the patient himself to transmit the information to the clinician. Another formula is remote patient monitoring, in which the patient does not need to share information. It works as an alert system, and we can see when there is an alarm condition. Both are very efficient and reduce the workload and the need to go to the hospital. In addition, remote patient monitoring allows us to intervene in the patient’s prognosis thanks to the fact that it provides excellent records that will enable us to see that the more adherence to remote patient monitoring there is, the more survival because we can get ahead of it before damage occurs.
The advantages of remote patient monitoring systems are transparent and extendable to different pathologies, including respiratory, cardiac, diabetes, sleep apnea, allowing physicians to have more information for diagnosis and follow-up.
Safety, cost-effectiveness, lack of knowledge of the new technologies on the part of the elderly population, in some cases, or the degree of acceptance of the clinical/health care group and the patients themselves are aspects pending evaluation. For this reason, it is necessary to be cautious and to involve professionals trained in the field of health technologies, who are undoubtedly the most significant difference between the new technologies and the patients themselves.