Remote patient monitoring technology helps to improve outcomes and brings peace of mind to high-risk patients.
Medication and healthy lifestyle habits are critical for managing chronic health conditions such as diabetes and hypertension. But Kaiser Permanente member David Collins counts another tool as equally important: his phone.
The Southern California native has conscientiously monitored his blood sugar levels since he was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, using his smartphone and Bluetooth-enabled glucometer to conveniently track and share readings and notes directly with his Kaiser Permanente care team.
“I can see exactly where my blood sugar levels have been and what I was eating or doing at the time,” said Collins. “My Kaiser Permanente team has the same information at the same time, so we can work together to do more of what is working and fix what isn’t. It’s convenient and accurate — I don’t have to depend on my memory — and it encourages me to do the right things more often.”
Collins is one of more than 45,000 members nationwide enrolled in Kaiser Permanente’s remote patient monitoring program for diabetes and hypertension. The program, which is one of the nation’s largest, empowers members with diabetes and hypertension to better manage chronic conditions by monitoring blood pressure or blood sugar levels from their homes and securely sharing this data electronically with their care providers in real time. The care team can use this information to better assess a patient’s health over time, provide ongoing feedback about progress or response to a medication change, and detect new treatment needs.
The program has proven particularly useful during the COVID-19 pandemic as one of the many ways that Kaiser Permanente is safely providing members with the care they need. Participants can save time and money associated with office visits, while helping protect members, doctors, nurses, and staff.
Remote patient monitoring combines state-of-the art technology with clinical expertise and connection. Kaiser Permanente members who have diabetes or hypertension use prescribed Bluetooth-enabled glucometers and blood pressure monitors — along with a free smartphone app — to transmit readings in real time directly to their electronic medical record at Kaiser Permanente. Using the app, the member can also share notes that provide further insight if a reading is higher or lower than the desired range.
Clinical data is securely delivered straight to the medical team members, who can view information detailing each patient’s participation in the program and set alerts for out-of-range readings that could require follow-up via telephone, video, or office visit. The result is a better patient experience, improved engagement, and ultimately better outcomes.
“I am an analytical, research-oriented person, and remote patient monitoring helps me understand not only what is happening but why,” said Collins. “Every day, I try to get my numbers more consistent. My medication has gone down by 80%, and I do the right things more often than not. Remote patient monitoring is simple, and it works.”
Remote patient monitoring is one of a wide range of telehealth services offered by Kaiser Permanente that includes telephone visits, secure email, online physical therapy, and 2-way video visits, as well as doctor-to-doctor consults. Through kp.org, members can also schedule visits, fill prescriptions, view lab results, and access their health records.