What is Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM)?
Updated: Apr 19, 2022
Remote Patient Monitoring, is a specific type of telehealth, that uses FDA-approved devices such as blood pressure cuffs and glucometers, to enable patients to take physiological readings at home and automatically transmit data to a clinician for review and monitoring.
RPM is typically used as a compliment to an in-person visit, not a replacement. RPM enables facilities to shift from a reactive to proactive care management approach. Clinicians can intervene between patient’s visits to change treatment plans, adjust medications, and potentially prevent adverse events.
RPM does not require a diagnosis and can be ordered to monitor acute or chronic conditions. Some of the most common conditions managed with RPM include hypertension, diabetes, heart failure, and COPD. It is also frequently used in conjunction with Chronic Care Management.
With the ability to collect data over time, chronic conditions can be treated in the broader context of a person’s lifestyle, leading to more impactful, timely education opportunities and improved outcomes. Hypertensive patients using Optimize Health’s managed RPM service have seen a 5-point decrease in systolic BP within the first three months of monitoring and 7 point decrease in 6 months. Diabetic patients have experienced a 11-point reduction in blood glucose measurements in just 2 months and a 20-point drop within 12 months.
The Clinical Benefits of RPM
RPM offers several key benefits that can impact how your facility delivers patient care:
Shift from Reactive to Proactive Care: In the traditional world of in-office visits only, providers are limited to once-in-awhile care or reacting to ER visits and/or hospitalizations. With RPM, you can provide daily care to prevent ER visits and hospitalizations.
Drive Patient Behavior Changes: RPM drives real-time interventions. Patients are more motivated to take readings when they know someone is checking on them. And they may be more willing to reach for an apple over a bag of chips when they know someone will be looking at their blood pressure in a few hours’ vs a few months.
Expand Reach of Clinical Care: 12 million Americans live in a hospital desert, which means they have to drive 30 minutes or more to reach a medical facility. With RPM, facilities can use technology and innovative care to literally meet people where they are, making care convenient and accessible even in rural areas.
The Financial Benefits of RPM
In 2018, CMS introduced a set of CPT® codes that provided an incremental stream of revenue for Remote Patient Monitoring. The cost of caring for patients with chronic conditions is increasing rapidly. CMS can’t add more hours to your days for in-office visits, but they can reimburse you for technology that helps you manage more patients. CMS has continued to invest in RPM because it is effective in reducing hospitalizations, readmissions, and overall costs.
RPM is a financial and clinical win-win-win for patients, providers, and payors, which is exactly why many commercial payors are reimbursing for RPM as well.
RPM Staffing Options
Effective remote monitoring does require clinical staff to review patient data and engage with patients remotely on a daily basis. There are two options for staffing your RPM program:
Self-Managed RPM: This could be the right solution for providers that either have staff with extra capacity or are willing to hire, train, and manage additional clinical staff for RPM.
Partner Managed RPM: If you would prefer to keep your staff focused on their current responsibilities and outsource monitoring to experienced nurses that become an extension of your own staff, Optimize Health offers partner managed RPM. When we do the monitoring, you can grow your program at any pace without adding extra burden to your team.
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