Remote patient monitoring (RPM) is proving to be beneficial to both healthcare providers and the millions of people who live with chronic disease. As machine-to-machine (M2M) technology grows, more providers can collect data from patients wirelessly in real time than ever before, leading to improved clinical outcomes and lower costs.
The current medical device industry has a market value of $110 billion and is expected to grow to $133 billion by 2016. With over 6,500 medical device companies in the U.S. alone, the need for capable M2M networks has never been more important.
However, it's not just new equipment that works with M2M technology. Retrofitting existing devices for cellular will prolong the life of your telehealth hardware and take advantage of the benefits of cellular connectivity.
Some of today's older devices use either PSTN landlines or SD cards that patients are tasked with mailing back to their hospital or healthcare provider. Some also use a PC-based solution that is connected to the Internet. As technology advances and the world goes mobile, these older devices are becoming obsolete for the following reasons:
• Many people are abandoning and disconnecting their landlines at home
• SD cards are unreliable and get corrupted
• SD cards depend on the patient to send in their data
With technology developing, there are a variety of analog-to-wireless converters coming to market that use the most up-to-date transmission technology. You can also fit a new cellular module into an existing device, including devices that previously used Bluetooth and Wifi, or other wireless modules. For example, medical alert systems, which typically operate from phone lines, can be retrofitted for cellular to increase mobility or assist when phone lines are down.
Additionally, cellular-based solutions have been gaining popularity due to their low cost, availability and reliability. Aeris Communications, in particular, provides migration to a cellular-based solution using an external modem that can sit alongside an RPM device and transmit data via cellular connectivity. External modems are "plug and play," streamlined solutions that do not require any changes to be made to the monitoring devices, allowing for new and existing patients to quickly adopt the use of cellular connectivity for their remote monitoring needs.