Optimize Health has long reported on the clinical benefits of remote patient monitoring (RPM). From hypertension and heart failure to diabetes and chronic kidney disease, the research is clear that RPM is effective. But just reading the population-level data can sometimes obscure the positive impact that RPM has on individual patients.
It’s an impact the team of Optimize Health remote monitoring nurses sees in their work each and every day. And one we’d like to share with you in a new, ongoing blog series devoted to real-life RPM patient stories from the field, How Remote Patient Monitoring Changes Lives: Real Patient Stories.
Finding the Root Cause of Hypertension Symptoms
A patient in one of our managed RPM practices complained of ongoing dizziness and fluctuations in her at-home blood pressure readings. During her office visit, the physician could not diagnose the cause of the dizziness. He ordered RPM and the patient agreed. An Optimize Health monitoring nurse began reviewing her daily blood pressure readings and quickly identified that the patient’s blood pressure dropped in the evenings by about 20%. She called the patient to assess the situation and discovered the patient was taking her prescribed hypertensive medications twice. The patient misunderstood the directions on the prescription which called for the patient to take the medication once a day in the morning.
The situation was escalated to the referring physician, who reeducated the patient on the prescription instructions. The monitoring nurse continued to reinforce the medication regimen during her routine communications with the patient. The patient’s blood pressure stabilized and the dizziness ceased. Without RPM, the incorrect medication administration likely would have continued. RPM probably prevented a more adverse outcome and certainly improved the patient’s quality of life.
The Impact of Diet and Real-Time Health Coaching
A relatively stable RPM patient with hypertension started having a 50% increase in pulse rates on Mondays. The monitoring nurse observed this trend and conducted a wellness assessment with the patient to determine the root cause. The nurse discovered that the patient’s family started having “Pizza Nights'' on Sunday and the patient admitted to over indulging during these family events. The nurse was able to show the patient the direct correlation between overeating high fat/cholesterol, high sodium foods on Sunday and the impact on her cardiovascular system on Monday. The patient was genuinely surprised at how significant the impact of her dietary choices had on her pulse and blood pressure.
RPM gave the clinical team an opportunity to provide real-time diet coaching in a way that was impactful and meaningful to the patient. The patient has limited her pizza intake and the irregular Monday readings have decreased. In addition, the overall patterns in reading were concerning to the nurse who escalated the data to the referring physician. The patient was diagnosed with early-stage heart failure. With early detection, the physician was able to adjust the patient’s medication to minimize the impact of heart failure on her daily life.
Connecting Mental Health and High Blood Pressure
Another important aspect of RPM and preventative medicine is taking a more holistic approach to healthcare. We know mental health can impact physical health, but the connections can be difficult to uncover during infrequent, short office visits. Because RPM provides continuous care with a trusted clinician, they have more opportunities to assess the total patient.
An Optimize Health nurse was monitoring a patient with hypertension who routinely took her readings and medication. Despite the adherence to her care plan, her blood pressure was persistently high. In ongoing conversations about diet and lifestyle choices, the nurse uncovered signs of anxiety and depression. She worked with the patient’s primary care physician to refer the patient for behavioral health services. As the mental health issues were addressed, the patient’s blood pressure began to decline.
See If RPM Can Help Change Your Patients' Lives for the Better
By providing continuous, remote care, we know RPM saves and improves patients’ lives. We are proud of the work our amazing nurses do every day to help their patients. If you want to learn more about how to improve hypertensive outcomes at your practice, check out the recording from our recent webinar RPM for Cardiovascular Disease: Expanding Cardiac Care beyond the Practice Walls or schedule a free consultation with one of our RPM experts.
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