May 21, 2024 1:27:37 PM | 5 Min Read

Understanding the Value of Remote Patient Monitoring for Your Practice

Understanding the Value of Remote Patient Monitoring for Your Practice

Remote monitoring of patient vital signs has been around for decades, with physicians often recommending patients keep regular track of their blood pressure, oxygen levels, and blood glucose at home for better management of chronic conditions. In fact, according to an editorial in Harvard Health in 2022, nearly 50 million patients reported the use of remote home monitoring devices (https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/whats-the-future-of-remote-patient-monitoring). The downside to all of this monitoring is that it relied on archaic recording methods and could only be interpreted at physician office visits as these devices typically don’t send the results to the physician’s office for timely interpretation and intervention. 

 

All of this changed with the advent of technologically advanced remote monitoring equipment and platforms. The value of regular real time monitoring of patient vital signs can be seen in enhanced patient outcomes, improved cost efficiency, and increased patient empowerment. CMS officially recognized the value of these interventions in 2019 when they assigned billing codes to compensate physicians for the time spent initiating and maintaining a RPM (remote patient monitoring) program for their chronically ill patients. 

The targeted and correct use of RPM technology can be a boon for physicians and their patients. Here are some keys you should know before getting started.

What is RPM?

Remote Physiological Monitoring (RPM) refers to the collection of patient-generated health data outside of the traditional office setting by a patient or care-giver, that is then digitally stored and forwarded to a physician or clinical staff under the supervision of a physician in real time for care management and treatment plan intervention. These devices must be FDA approved for the purpose of vital sign collection accuracy and the transmission of data must occur automatically (i.e. not entered by the patient) in order for the technology to qualify for reimbursement. 

Who Qualifies for RPM?

Any patient with a chronic or acute illness can qualify for RPM. The RPM must meet the criteria of medical necessity, meaning that the goal of monitoring must be clearly stated to be used for development and management of a patient treatment plan. This documentation, as well as the consent of the patient, must be included in the patient medical record.

What is the Value of RPM?

  1. Improved Relationships and Access to Healthcare Professionals: The Washington Post reported that the average wait time for an established patient to get an appointment with a primary care physician is about 26 days. For those in rural areas the wait time could be up to 3 months. Most patients no longer have a strong relationship with their primary care physician or the healthcare system and because of this, their health is declining. With RPM patients feel connected to their health and their physician again. They know that they can receive reliable and timely information relating to their chronic conditions and that these conditions can now be managed in real time. “I have confidence in you and feel and really feel like I am being heard.” is feedback we have received from real patients.
  2. Enhanced Patient Outcomes: Real time and continuous monitoring of patients allows for more timely intervention when their vital signs begin trending outside of the normal range. This has been shown in a VA study to reduce hospital admissions and bed days and improve outcomes for patients with heart disease and diabetes. We have had patients who are reducing the number of medications that they are taking for their existing chronic conditions, and those who have been successfully redirected from the Emergency room to telehealth appointments based on their recordings and interactions with staff. 
  3. Increased Cost Effectiveness: Not only does RPM generate additional monthly recurring revenue for your practice for work that you have already been doing in caring for chronically ill patients, but it can decrease the need for lengthy in-person visits opening up space in your clinic to address urgent patient needs and spend more time doing things that are important to you. By delivering just 20 minutes of remote patient monitoring per month, each Medicare beneficiary can generate reimbursement of more than $1000 over per year. 

 

Ready to Get Started?

When you are ready to launch an RPM program for your patients, ViTel Health is your trusted partner for a reliable, legally compliant, and technologically secure program. Running an RPM program can cause significant administrative and compliance burden, not to mention the time associated with getting patients to initiate and maintain their participation in the program. 

As a physician myself I know that you need a program that provides not only great patient outcomes, but also takes care of you, the physician. 

Let’s chat about how our vertically integrated solution can help you take better care of the health of your patients and your practice. 

Topics: Practice Management, Remote Patient Monitoring

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