A merging of wireless technology and medical care is still in its infancy, but health systems that began pilot programs with the technology in recent years say they see signs that it is keeping patients healthier.

By enabling doctors to continuously monitor patients, they say, the systems can detect problems well before they grow serious.

“We’ve been able to show significant reduction” in hospital admissions, says Mark Rumans, chief medical officer at Vidant Health, which operates hospitals and other healthcare facilities in eastern North Carolina.

Vidant, which started its program in February 2012, has 600 to 700 patients with congestive heart failure, diabetes and high blood pressure participating in its remote-monitoring program at any one time. Hospital admissions for these patients fell 74% in 2013 and dropped 54% during the first eight months of last year from the same period a year earlier, to 192, according to Dr Rumans.