What is Remote Patient Monitoring?
Remote patient monitoring (RPM) is a form of telehealth, or healthcare delivered remotely. In it, patient-generated data are remotely collected, such as through wearable devices or online portals, stored, and analyzed by qualified healthcare professionals. Patients also receive feedback.
Patients and providers can benefit from RPM due to improved health outcomes, reduced costs, and improved efficiency. These are nine benefits of RPM.
1. Improved Chronic Condition Management
Chronic conditions account for 90% of healthcare costs in the United States, but many of them are preventable or can be better managed with patient behaviors. Remote patient monitoring can improve the management of chronic conditions with collection and analysis of more patient-generated data such as blood glucose in diabetes and blood pressure in hypertension. Knowing what the values are and how to manage them can help patients hit their targets.
2. Reduced Emergent Situations and Readmissions
Chronic conditions cost the U.S. over $3 trillion annually, but improved management of chronic conditions can prevent or delay many costly events such as emergency room visits and hospitalizations. If RPM helps patients keep measurements such as blood sugar within range, risks for serious and costly emergency situations, such as severe hypoglycemia, decrease.
3. Increased Revenue Streams
Remote patient monitoring can increase physician revenue streams due to CPT codes 99457 and 99458, which allow for reimbursement for time spent on activities related to remote care, such as reviewing patient data. Healthcare providers who use devices that integrate into physician workflow and gather large amounts of data effortlessly, as well as improve patient health can potentially profit more from RPM.
4. Reduced Burden on Healthcare Systems
With RPM, patients can get care without going into the office, since data are collected remotely and a qualified provider analyzes and responds to the data digitally, such as via email or text. Benefits of the remote nature of telehealth were highlighted during the COVID-19 pandemic and fears or instances of shortages of facilities including PPE and beds, as well as of transmission of the novel coronavirus at healthcare facilities. In addition, RPM can make patients healthier, which can also keep them away from ERs and hospitals.
5. Improved Patient Outcomes
Possibilities with RPM include catching out-of-range values that can be dangerous, noticing trends that can indicate a need to change the care regimen, and offering coaching on daily choices, such as physical activity, that can often be pushed aside despite their significant impact on chronic conditions. Such benefits can increase when combined with health-promoting support, such as coaching on sleep or stress management.
6. Better Quality of Care
The choices patients make have a major effect on the course of their chronic conditions and health risks. For example, taking medications, managing weight, measuring blood sugar in diabetes and blood pressure in hypertension, and increasing physical activity are all daily behaviors patients can choose and they can all reduce health risks and complications. With RPM, providers can receive more data about how their patients are doing, which offers them the opportunity to provide feedback where they may not otherwise have done so.
7. Increased Education
After patient-generated data are sent to providers and analyzed, providers must provide feedback on it in order to qualify for RPM reimbursement. This means that patients can potentially receive more education and feedback than they would if they waited for regular appointments, such as annually.
8. Increased Patient Accountability
Because of the knowledge that their data is being transmitted to their providers and the feedback they receive, patients know that someone is watching them and cares about their health with RPM. This may improve patient accountability, as might the knowledge that a provider might be alerted if they stray from a health management plan, such as skipping exercise or seeing spikes in blood sugar.
9. Supporting Patient-Centered Based Care
Remote patient monitoring can support components of patient-centered care models such as continuity of care, by following up with patients over time, and improving patient quality of life by allowing them to receive personalized and frequent care while staying at home and away from healthcare facilities. The emphasis on maintaining patient health through preventive care supports value-based care, which is another component of patient-centered care and is an increasingly accepted model.
10. Smoother Workflow
When patients stay out of the clinic, they are not waiting in waiting rooms. Delayed appointments are not a problem, and doctors can work on RPM when they have time and are not scheduled to be with patients. Overall, patients can be more satisfied, and doctors can care for their patients more efficiently.
Lark is a fully digital nurse for chronic disease prevention and management. Lark has the ability to collect large amounts of patient-generated data, such as blood sugar in patients with diabetes and blood pressure in patients with hypertension, and is an infinitely scalable platform that can support RPM. Furthermore, Lark is designed to coach patients on healthy behaviors that can maximize their health and reduce healthcare costs.