Article Text

Original research
Does remote patient monitoring reduce acute care use? A systematic review
  1. Monica L Taylor,
  2. Emma E Thomas,
  3. Centaine L Snoswell,
  4. Anthony C Smith,
  5. Liam J Caffery
  1. Centre for Online Health, Centre for Health Services Research, The University of Queensland, Woolloongabba, Queensland, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Associate Professor Liam J Caffery; l.caffery{at}


Objective Chronic diseases are associated with increased unplanned acute hospital use. Remote patient monitoring (RPM) can detect disease exacerbations and facilitate proactive management, possibly reducing expensive acute hospital usage. Current evidence examining RPM and acute care use mainly involves heart failure and omits automated invasive monitoring. This study aimed to determine if RPM reduces acute hospital use.

Methods A systematic literature review of PubMed, Embase and CINAHL electronic databases was undertaken in July 2019 and updated in October 2020 for studies published from January 2015 to October 2020 reporting RPM and effect on hospitalisations, length of stay or emergency department presentations. All populations and disease conditions were included. Two independent reviewers screened articles. Quality analysis was performed using the Joanna Briggs Institute checklist. Findings were stratified by outcome variable. Subgroup analysis was undertaken on disease condition and RPM technology.

Results From 2050 identified records, 91 studies were included. Studies were medium-to-high quality. RPM for all disease conditions was reported to reduce admissions, length of stay and emergency department presentations in 49% (n=44/90), 49% (n=23/47) and 41% (n=13/32) of studies reporting each measure, respectively. Remaining studies largely reported no change. Four studies reported RPM increased acute care use. RPM of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) was more effective at reducing emergency presentation than RPM of other disease conditions. Similarly, invasive monitoring of cardiovascular disease was more effective at reducing hospital admissions versus other disease conditions and non-invasive monitoring.

Conclusion RPM can reduce acute care use for patients with cardiovascular disease and COPD. However, effectiveness varies within and between populations. RPM’s effect on other conditions is inconclusive due to limited studies. Further analysis is required to understand underlying mechanisms causing variation in RPM interventions. These findings should be considered alongside other benefits of RPM, including increased quality of life for patients.

PROSPERO registration number CRD42020142523.

  • health services administration & management
  • international health services
  • telemedicine

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  • Twitter @csnoswell, @DrLiamCaffery

  • Contributors This research was conceptualised by LJC. MLT, EET, CLS, ACS and LJC contributed to the study design. Searches and data extraction carried out by MLT and EET under guidance from CLS and LJC. Data analysis was performed by MLT, EET and LJC. Manuscript was drafted by MLT, EET and LJC. Critical review of manuscript was undertaken by all authors. All authors approved the final manuscript.

  • Funding This research is conducted for the NHMRC Partnership Centre for Health System Sustainability (Grant ID #: 9100002) administered by the Australian Institute of Health Innovation, Macquarie University. Along with the NHMRC, the funding partners in this research collaboration are: The Bupa Health Foundation; NSW Ministry of Health; Department of Health, WA; and The University of Notre Dame Australia. Their generous support is gratefully acknowledged. While the NHMRC, The Bupa Health Foundation, NSW Ministry of Health, Department of Health, WA and The University of Notre Dame Australia, have provided in-kind and financial support for this research, they have not reviewed the content and are not responsible for any injury, loss or damage however arising from the use of, or reliance on, the information provided herein. The published material is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not reflect the views of the NHMRC or its funding partners. EET is supported by a Postdoctoral Fellowship (105215) from the National Heart Foundation of Australia.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement All data relevant to the study are included in the article or uploaded as supplemental information.

  • Supplemental material This content has been supplied by the author(s). It has not been vetted by BMJ Publishing Group Limited (BMJ) and may not have been peer-reviewed. Any opinions or recommendations discussed are solely those of the author(s) and are not endorsed by BMJ. BMJ disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on the content. Where the content includes any translated material, BMJ does not warrant the accuracy and reliability of the translations (including but not limited to local regulations, clinical guidelines, terminology, drug names and drug dosages), and is not responsible for any error and/or omissions arising from translation and adaptation or otherwise.