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The Connected Patient: Charting the Vital Signs of Remote Health Monitoring

Jane Sarasohn-Kahn, THINK-Health

This report describes the range of technologies that can enable remote health monitoring and examines the prospects for these applications in the current health care context.

Remote health monitoring technologies — devices that gather a patient's health data and relay it to a care provider — have been the subject of much study in recent years. Proponents have lauded the technology's potential to reduce health care costs and improve patients' quality of life, while skeptics have pointed to the lack of persuasive clinical evidence supporting such claims. Meanwhile, technology vendors have begun testing the waters, launching both pilot projects and products into what they hope will prove to be a robust market.

Whether those expectations can be met remains an open question. Although numerous research projects have tested the benefits of remote health monitoring, the results continue to be mixed, at best. And difficult questions persist about who wants, who needs, and who stands to benefit from remote health applications, as well as who should bear the cost.

This report describes the range of technologies that can enable remote health monitoring, along with the evidence for and against their efficacy and the forces that are driving and impeding broader adoption. The analysis concludes that even if all the remaining issues are favorably settled, widespread use will require a fundamental shift in the way health care services are structured and paid for.

The complete report is available as a Document Download.

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