Background: Remote patient monitoring (RPM) can be deployed as part of a tiered approach to open up hospital bed availability by allowing earlier discharge of patients with continued virtual monitoring. We describe the impact of RPM on length of stay (LOS) for patients with COVID-19. Methods: We deployed RPM during two COVID-19 surges at a tertiary academic hospital from March to June 2020 as a feasibility pilot to establish the infrastructure for RPM including electronic health record changes and virtual health center (VHC) protocols, and October 2020 to February 2021, during the second surge of COVID-19. Discharging patients received a wearable vital sign monitoring device, allowing real-time data transmission to the VHC using a smart phone application. The data, monitored 24 h a day for 8 days by a technician, had built-in escalation protocols to nurses and/or attending physicians. Results: We compared patients discharged with RPM with those discharged without RPM during both phases using a two-to-one-matched case-control design including age, sex, Charlson comorbidity index, and limited English proficiency. After including discharge with home oxygen therapy as an effect modifier, there was a significant association between shorter LOS and RPM for patients discharging without home oxygen (p = 0.0075) compared with patients not discharging on RPM. Discussion: Our study shows a strong association between a reduction in LOS for patients discharging with RPM but without home oxygen therapy, which can assist with hospital capacity. Conclusions: Home telemonitoring after discharge for patients with COVID-19 may reduce LOS.
Keywords: COVID-19; length of stay; remote patient monitoring; telemedicine; telemonitoring.