Forty-six million U.S. residents, or approximately 14% of the U.S. population, live in a rural or nonmetropolitan area. Rural areas are defined by their low population density, sparse housing, and considerable distance from urban centers. Unfortunately, these areas are also marked by higher rates of chronic disease and premature deaths than their urban counterparts.
Some contributing factors to the rural disparity in chronic disease include:
Demographic: Rural residents are older and more ill than urban residents. As age increases, so does the prevalence of chronic disease. Nonmetropolitan residents report higher rates of multiple chronic conditions, with 22.6% managing two to three health conditions and 5.1% managing four.
Geographic: Specialty, subspecialty, and technologically sophisticated healthcare services are less likely to be accessible without substantial travel to a more urbanized area. This distance burdens ill patients who may not have reliable means of transport or live in areas poorly served by infrastructure.
Economic: Rural Americans experience higher rates of poverty and unemployment and are less likely to have private health insurance.
Environmental: Industries common in rural areas may contribute to residents developing a chronic health condition. These include pulmonary disease for miners and cancers for agricultural workers who have prolonged exposure to chemicals and the sun.
Social: Nonmetropolitan populations have higher negative health behaviors, such as cigarette smoking, lack of exercise, and poor eating habits.
As a result, patients living in rural areas are more likely to die from the top five causes of mortality: heart disease, cancer, unintentional injury, chronic lower respiratory disease (CLRD), and stroke, than those in urban areas. But, there is a reason for hope: the number of preventable deaths is higher in rural areas than in more densely populated regions. Through the use of technology, such as RPM (Remote Patient Monitoring), physicians can take a meaningful step toward reducing mortality by extending their clinical reach into the homes of chronically ill rural patients.
To help mitigate rural health disparities and decrease patient mortality, many clinicians are turning to chronic care management technologies such as RPM to keep geographically isolated patients actively engaged in their own care and connected to their clinicians between visits.
Through easy-to-use devices such as blood pressure monitors, weight scales, and oxygen sensors, RPM effectively reduces hospital admissions and readmissions by allowing early and remote clinical intervention should a patient’s vital signs indicate disease progression or exacerbation. This function is essential in rural settings where a trip to the emergency room is not always the most efficient or appropriate way to access timely treatment. In addition, RPM supports positive patient behavior, such as weight management and medication compliance, which could fall by the wayside if a patient lacks regular contact with a clinician.
RPM also provides geographically isolated patients with the peace of mind that comes from knowing they are not alone in managing their health conditions. No matter how distant their nearest healthcare provider is, care is just a phone call away.
If you are looking for more information about how RPM can transform your rural practice, Cardiac RMS, a trusted leader in the remote monitoring industry, is ready to help you implement a solution to suit your needs.
Cardiac RMS offers clinicians nationwide a wide option of cellular-enabled home monitoring devices that safely record your patients’ vital signs from their home devices and securely transmit them to our experienced, passionate, and certified team of experts. Actionable data is reported to your clinic, ensuring distance is never a hindrance to your care.
To learn more, visit https://cardiacrms.com/
Cardiac RMS LLC is a clinical service partner with expertise in remote monitoring of patients who have a cardiac pacemaker, implantable cardiac defibrillator, implantable heart failure device, or implantable loop recorder. Services also include Virtual Care Management, utilizing Remote Physiologic Monitoring (RPM) and care management to remotely support the treatment of patients with chronic conditions.