Pros and Cons of Cardiac Remote Monitoring

Gayle Morris, MSN
Updated March 8, 2023
    Cardiac remote monitoring was underutilized before COVID-19. Discover how the advantages and disadvantages of the system highly influence the future growth of the industry.
    Featured ImageCredit: Su Arslanoglu / Getty Images
    • Cardiac remote monitoring was an underutilized system until the COVID-19 pandemic ushered in a new era of virtual and telehealth opportunities.
    • The application rate is expected to grow since the technology can improve care for cardiac patients who are not mobile or live in remote areas.
    • Technological advancements together with greater patient education and engagement are expected to have a significant impact on improved patient outcomes and lower healthcare costs.

    According to, the cardiac remote monitoring market will exceed $31.67 billion by 2028 from a market share of $4.97 billion in 2021. Cardiac remote monitoring is one arm of telehealth, which has enabled patients with heart conditions to undergo continuous monitoring while living at home.

    These advances are welcomed by patients. Yet, there are advantages and disadvantages to using the technology. As we focus on cardiovascular health during American Heart Month, let’s review the pros and cons of remote heart monitoring and the potential future of the technology.

    What Is Cardiac Remote Monitoring?

    Put simply, cardiac remote monitoring is a technology that allows healthcare professionals to monitor heart activity remotely. Heart failure is a major health challenge throughout the world. Remote monitoring can help improve healthcare for those who have mobility issues or live in remote areas.

    The history of cardiac remote monitoring dates back to the 1970s when the first implantable cardiac pacemakers were developed. They helped regulate a patient’s rhythm and were equipped with remote monitoring capabilities. Today, smartphones and mobile apps have revolutionized the field. Wearable heart monitors, such as smartwatches, can now track a range of cardiac data that was once limited to devices prescribed by your physician.

    The development of this technology has had a significant impact on telehealth. It is especially important for cardiac patients with chronic conditions that may need to be regularly monitored.

    Telehealth grew in popularity, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, which highlighted the need for remote healthcare options. It is an important tool for providing service to underserved communities and rural areas.

    Impact of COVID-19 on Cardiac Remote Monitoring

    During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare facilities were forced to limit in-person visits, which led to a rise in cardiac remote monitoring. This allowed patients with heart conditions to receive care from home. It also helped reduce the risk of infection and alleviate the strain on healthcare facilities dealing with a high volume of patients.

    Additionally, remote monitoring helped reduce healthcare costs as cardiac patients avoided expensive hospital stays and emergency room visits when the monitoring devices and cardiac nurses detected changes in heart conditions before they became an emergency. Roughly 70% of respondents from one 2022 survey said the majority of cardiac rehabilitation occurred remotely.

    Before the pandemic, the technology was underutilized, potentially because of a lack of transparency about data transfer and privacy. The necessity of virtual care ushered in a new era of remote monitoring. The COVID-19 pandemic influenced the use of cardiac remote monitoring in several ways, including:

    • Increased demand for remote monitoring devices as patients were advised to stay home
    • Reduced hospital visits as patients received home monitoring, which reduced the need for in-person visits
    • Cardiovascular teams gained a greater knowledge of monitoring and managing cardiac health remotely, intervening as necessary

    As technology continues to evolve, it will be important for healthcare providers to adapt and find new ways of using remote monitoring to improve patient care.

    Pros of Cardiac Remote Monitoring

    The increased use of cardiac remote monitoring during the COVID-19 pandemic revealed a unique set of advantages to patients.

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      Cardiac remote monitoring reduces healthcare costs by decreasing the need for in-person visits, emergency room care, and hospital stays.

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      One of the biggest advantages for patients is an increase in the convenience and comfort of receiving care at home. Patients who have mobility issues or live in rural areas might experience the greatest benefits.

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      Increased monitoring frequency

      Inpatient visits are scheduled infrequently and may not provide healthcare professionals with enough information to react quickly to a deteriorating cardiovascular problem.

      In contrast, remote monitoring gives cardiac patients the option of having their vital signs monitored daily. This can provide healthcare professionals with more data to make more accurate and timely decisions.

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      Patient reach

      Cardiac remote monitoring allows cardiovascular teams to reach a wider patient population. One 2020 study found that both patients and cardiac nurses were assured by the data from cardiac remote monitoring and believed it offered reliable information, improving safety to patients.

    Cons of Cardiac Remote Monitoring

    While there are many advantages to patients and healthcare providers, cardiac remote monitoring does have some disadvantages that must be considered.

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      Administrative burden

      Until cardiovascular teams integrate software to reduce the excessive administrative workload, it may lead to high turnover rates for highly trained cardiac nurses. High turnover rates increase the healthcare facility’s overhead and interrupts the workflow. However, remote monitoring software can automate data management.

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      Lack of connectivity

      Patient-centered cardiovascular teams have reported improved patient outcomes. Yet, nearly 50% of physicians surveyed said only 20% of their cardiac remote monitoring patients are consistently connected to the system.

      Despite ranking their program as good or excellent, one report found that connectivity was lacking, which reduces the ability of the system to capture actionable warning signs. Advancements in technology are not enough to solve the challenges of virtual care. Instead, it must be paired with effective management and automated workflows.

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      Limited diagnostic capability

      The system relies heavily on data collection, which provides limited information. For a complete diagnosis, in-person visits with healthcare professionals offer patients personal interaction. This can give them the opportunity to ask questions or get the support they need to function at home.

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      Technical issues

      One of the biggest challenges is ensuring individuals have access to the necessary technology. Another challenge faced by healthcare providers is ensuring patients understand how to use the technology, which requires additional education and support.

      Not all patients will have access to the necessary equipment and technology, such as smartphones or tablets, to participate in cardiac remote monitoring. This makes it especially difficult for cardiac patients living in rural areas to receive adequate care. Remote heart monitoring also requires that the patient understand and use the technology.

    Future of Cardiac Remote Monitoring

    Remote monitoring improves care delivery and clinical outcomes when the data is used and documented appropriately. Remote devices require checking several times a year to read and print the data and scan it into the patient’s electronic medical record. These visits and the additional time to collect and manage the data can be burdensome.

    Cardiac remote monitoring is advancing to streamline cardiac device data management, which would increase the number of patients who can use the system. Another area of growth is the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. These can help analyze large amounts of data and provide healthcare professionals with greater insight into a patient’s condition.

    AI can help identify patterns and predict potential health problems before they occur.

    The growth of wearable devices, such as smartwatches and fitness trackers, can help identify potential health issues in patients with heart conditions. Another expected development includes advancements in patient engagement and education that allow patients to have greater interactive and engaging experiences as they are being monitored. This not only can improve their knowledge but also their compliance with treatment plans.

    The future of cardiac remote monitoring is bright. It relies heavily on technological advancements within the healthcare system to improve patient outcomes. The combination of wearable devices, AI, and advancements in patient engagement means that remote monitoring will continue to be a valuable tool in the management of heart conditions.