Remote Patient Monitoring has been in use for years, helping healthcare providers collect patient medical data to support ongoing care. RPM solutions can enable clinicians to collect this important information while still meeting with patients remotely. Like virtual visits, RPM enabled continuity of care during the pandemic by providing a lower risk alternative to collecting patient data – as opposed to traditional office visits. In the longer term, RPM can improve quality of care, increase access, reduce complications and hospitalizations, and improve health outcomes.
The number of patients using RPM devices that transmit data directly to EHRs is expected to grow to 30 million, or more than 11% of the U.S. population, by 2024. That doesn’t account for other RPM solutions that aren’t yet connected directly to EHRs, which currently represents that vast majority of remote sensors. In fact, only 14.5 % of medical professionals say their patients’ devices feed data directly into EHRs or patient portals, but the majority feel that connected devices would be more valuable to patient care, and almost a third say a lack of integration with EHRs will be a barrier to connected health use going forward.
As many see light at the end of the tunnel and see hope for many things returning to normal, healthcare providers have an opportunity to leverage RPM and other connected health services to make progress against the financial and operational inefficiencies it has faced for years. Remote patient monitoring can help support ongoing initiatives to drive growth, efficiency, and care quality.
For chronic disease patients, health conditions can change rapidly, resulting in complications. While repeated office visits can provide periodic data, a continuous flow of data can help physicians more effectively treat patients. Remote patient monitoring enables connected devices to collect and deliver regular health data to providers, providing timely insights. Wearable devices can be set to take readings at whatever intervals providers deem appropriate based on patient conditions and risk. The right RPM program can deliver valuable data to drive effective treatment plans.
Actionable Health Data
Accurate data is critical for appropriate care, but reviewing patient data can be time-consuming task. Connected RPM devices can simplify the data collection and review process by automatically delivering patient data into healthcare records. Automated systems and artificial intelligence engines can then scan the data points and, if anomalies are detected or if data reaches a defined threshold, physicians can be alerted. RPM solutions can not only increase the amount of patient data that is collected, but when combined with holistic connected health solutions, can improve physician response time and quality of care without increasing workload. In fact, with automation tools and AI, physicians can use their time more efficiently.
As many as a quarter of hospital patients end up being readmitted within a month of discharge. One of the factors is patient simply weren’t aware their conditions were deteriorating. Remote patient monitoring and consistent reporting of health data can help physicians better understand patient conditions and allow them to adjust treatment before hospital readmission is necessary.
Value-based payment models, like Quality Payment Program (QPP) and the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program (HRRP), can provide additional incentive for providers to promote and use remote patient monitoring and other connected health services. In addition, specifically related to remote patient monitoring, CMS revised its Physician Fee Schedule to clarify time requirements in order to bill for RPM services. Essentially, the clarification makes it easier for providers to bill for RPM services by allowing for in-person and connected health channels to be included. It makes sense, since RPM is itself a connected health service and the clarification may help drive additional use of connected health tools.
While data drives care, successful treatment requires appropriate intervention. When data necessitates communication with patients, that engagement should be simple. It may not require an in-person visit. Rather, a brief, same-day telehealth visit may allow physicians to communicate concerns to patients and resolve potential issues immediately. Likewise, when patients have questions, they should have an easy means of interacting with their providers. Holistic connected health platforms that integrate RPM and other telehealth tools can simplify the communications process, reducing the time and effort required for interventions, and even allowing additional specialists to be included for collaborative treatment.
Connected health tools can extend care beyond the traditional clinic setting, allowing patients – including high-risk and chronic disease patients – to receive data-driven, timely care without the costs and hassle of repeated office visits. As existing challenges continue to be overcome – including EHR integration and regulations – remote patient monitoring usage can continue to grow, new use cases can be developed, and massive volumes of data can be leveraged to develop better treatments and preventative care models. Patients and providers both will enjoy the benefits of an improved healthcare system and a technology-drive shift in healthcare deliver.
To learn more about how remote patient monitoring can improve patient care, connect with us here.