Telemonitoring is a medical practice that involves remotely monitoring patients who are not at the same location as the health care provider. In general, a patient will have a number of monitoring devices at home, and the results of these devices will be transmitted via telephone to the health care provider. Telemonitoring is a convenient way for patients to avoid travel and to perform some of the more basic work of healthcare for themselves.
In addition to objective technological monitoring, most telemonitoring programs include subjective questioning regarding the patient's health and comfort. This questioning can take place automatically over the phone, or telemonitoring software can help keep the patient in touch with the health care provider. The provider can then make decisions about the patient's treatment based on a combination of subjective and objective information similar to what would be revealed during an on-site appointment.
Some of the more common things that telemonitoring devices keep track of include blood pressure, heart rate, weight, blood glucose, and hemoglobin. Telemonitoring is capable of providing information about any vital signs, as long as the patient has the necessary monitoring equipment at his or her location. Depending on the severity of the patient's condition, the provider may check these statistics on a daily or weekly basis to determine the best course of treatment.
Telemonitoring is common for patients with diabetes or hypertension. These patients can take advantage of regular vital sign monitoring and regular provider feedback without having to commute to the health care provider. Telemonitoring is particularly effective for people with diabetes and hypertension, because it is extremely important for the vital statistics of such patients to be consistently observed.
There are a number of advantages of telemonitoring for both the patient and the health care provider. For the health care provider, telemonitoring is an efficient way to gather necessary patient information without a great time commitment. This efficient means of gathering information is also relevant to disease-based research, because a large amount of information can be gathered and recorded with little effort. Telemonitoring is useful to patients because they can receive health care provider feedback on their vital statistics much more often then they otherwise might. Also, because the patient is more involved in his or her own treatment, the patient will become more aware of his or her vital statistics and possibly gain a better sense of what affects these statistics and how the statistics in turn affect how he or she feels.