Caitlin Clement|3/9/2023|3 min read

Remote Patient Monitoring Reduces Postpartum Readmissions

Studies find RPM devices useful in postpartum care

remote patient monitoring reduces readmissions in postpartum patients

Women’s health needs have historically been unmet, unheard and under invested within healthcare. Even today, we see this in the rise of maternal mortality rates in the U.S., the highest of any developed country, at 23.8 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2020.

However, the popularization of telemedicine has shaken up the traditional healthcare model and prompted the birth of digital health companies focused on women’s health. These virtual care companies cover specialized areas of care such as sexual and reproductive health, postpartum, pregnancy, contraceptives and the introduction to women+ health services. 

In addition to these specialized digital health companies, there are tools gaining popularity for their asynchronous data collecting capabilities and easy adoption. In two recent studies, the use of remote patient monitoring (RPM) devices in postpartum hypertension has shown promise in lowering readmissions.

Postpartum and women+ care is still not where it needs to be, but tools like RPM could be a solution to some of the challenges providers face.

Women+ Health: What is it?

Let's take a moment to define some new language. You may or may not have recognized the term, but there’s been a push in healthcare to adopt more inclusive language when discussing women’s health. This has led to the use of more inclusive terms like “women+” to acknowledge the inclusivity of different identities pertaining to gender. 

It’s another indicator that the discussion around women+ health is finally attracting more attention. Providers and organizations are noticing the gap in research for women+ care, and with the help of social media advocates, the way they approach it is changing. 

The use of RPM devices in postpartum hypertension

According to a study published in 2021, The Journal of Maternal-Fetal & Neonatal Medicine and one published in 2022 by the University of California, Los Angeles, patients with postpartum hypertension saw reduced readmission rates and increased adherence rates when using RPM devices. 

The RPM study done by the University of California, Los Angeles saw an overall retention/adherence rate of 100% in their study population. Additionally, no readmittance visits were documented. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), in 2018, only 40% of women attended a postpartum visit. 

Additionally, a 2022 postpartum visit study published in the National Library of Medicine examining studies from 1995 to 2020 found a mean attendance rate of 72.1%. It’s a positive sign for the future utilization of RPM devices in increasing postpartum care and recovery. 

Patients are able to measure and keep track of their blood pressure without ever leaving their home. If a higher than normal reading is detected, either the device or patient can notify their care provider and determine next steps. This allows for the prescription of any antihypertensive medication or change in care before hospitalization is required. Reducing readmission rates and creating better patient outcomes. 

RPMs could save the US $31 million in healthcare costs

The use of remote patient monitoring devices for postpartum recovery and chronic care management can be a cost-effective and cost-saving healthcare tool. When utilized correctly, these devices can reduce the amount of hospitalizations and clinic visits by giving providers a more updated report on patient health. This then allows them to prescribe or change care plans for the negative change in data.

In the 2022 study published by The Journal of Maternal-Fetal & Neonatal Medicine, the researchers performed a cost-effectiveness analysis using data from the hospital, device manufacturer supplied charges and utilities. They calculated a cost saving of $93 per patient and with an estimated 333,253 pregnant women with hypertension, telehealth could reduce healthcare costs in the U.S. by $31 million a year. 

This is good news for payers, providers and patients alike. A healthier postpartum population means less resources used, more manageable workloads for providers and fewer reimbursements. Telehealth tools like RPM can be used at every point in the pregnancy journey, not just postpartum. This means even greater cost-efficiency and positive patient outcomes.

Why invest in RPM for women+ health?

If you’re still not convinced that remote patient monitoring can be a viable model of care, here are seven ways it can benefit your patients. 

  • Extends physician reach throughout pregnancy/postpartum journey

  • Decreases healthcare costs

  • Combats clinician staffing shortages and improves workflow

  • Improves patient care plan adherence

  • Results in better patient outcomes

  • Expands access to care for rural/minority patients

  • Widens access to more patient data

Powering women+ health care

Ready to expand your women+ health care services but need some support? OpenLoop partners with health systems, hospitals and clinics to provide them with a suite of telehealth delivery and digital health services built to scale. OpenLoop matches your patients with our nationwide network of gynecologists, obstetricians, OBGYNs and other maternal health care providers to ensure quality care at every touchpoint. 

Interested in what our services can offer your organization? Get in touch here!

Our full suite of Telehealth Support Services include: