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Connectivity: Choosing the Best Remote Monitoring Devices

Selecting the devices for your remote patient monitoring program can be difficult with so many variables involved. When choosing your remote monitoring devices, be cognizant of the population of patients you are working with including demographics such as age and socioeconomic status, plus each device's clinical accuracy, clinical measures, your program scope, budget, etc. These determinants may lead to using one type of patient device connectivity over another.

There are three main types of connectivity for patient monitoring devices designed to be used at home: Bluetooth, WiFi, and LTE / cellular connection. Explore what types may work best for your monitoring program.

Bluetooth

Bluetooth devices can be extremely useful across programs with patient populations that have high tech literacy, have access to smartphones and other smart devices, or with programs where a cost is a concern.


Bluetooth devices tend to be more affordable but can come with high barriers for patients to use devices and transmit readings.


Bluetooth Pros:

  • More affordable than other options

  • Good for tech-savvy & younger populations

  • Connect anywhere (no cell service or wifi required to sync)

  • One-Time Cost for devices (no service subscription required)

Bluetooth Cons:

  • Harder for older or less tech-literate patients to use

  • Devices require setting up data syncing

  • Requires a ‘hub’ such as a smartphone & app or LTE hub

  • More patient tech support is needed

Some Bluetooth-enabled patient devices can also be augmented through the use of LTE or WiFi hub. These hubs make the Bluetooth device always 'on' and connected, thus lowering some technology barriers for patients.


WiFi

Wifi-connected devices have started to gain popularity. As WiFi becomes more ubiquitous, devices connecting through Wifi become a no-brainer as most patients have experience in connecting with WiFi - both old and young. In addition, these devices can sync directly to the cloud and be updated remotely, unlike Bluetooth options.


WiFi Pros:

  • Continued syncing

  • Large familiarly with ‘wifi’ set up

WiFi Cons:

  • Requires a WiFi connection to sync data

  • More expensive than Bluetooth devices

  • Fewer WiFi devices on the market

One of the biggest hurdles with WiFi-enabled patient devices is there may be 'unconnected' homes without WiFi or who have limited bandwidth and data. However, this is a great option for patients who may struggle with the setup and the syncing required for Bluetooth devices.


LTE

LTE or cellular-connected devices have become increasingly popular in recent years due to their easy setup and an increase in LTE connectivity throughout the US. These devices are made by fewer vendors and tend to be more expensive than WiFi and Bluetooth devices. However, LTE devices work amazingly well in patient populations with limited technical literacy, WiFi connectivity, or smartphone access.


LTE Pros:

  • Simple device set up (nearly none)

  • Automatic data transmission (no syncing)

LTE Cons:

  • Ongoing annual cellular fee

  • Higher upfront cost per device

LTE-enabled patient devices are generally the easiest to use and can help your program increase patient retention and engagement. However, these devices can be less cost-effective with their higher device cost and additional cellular service fee. These devices are a great option if you're looking to build a streamlined and highly efficient remote patient monitoring program.


 

Interested in learning more about remote patient device options? Get access to Impilo's catalog of connected devices and find the best devices for your program.