From hospitals to independent practitioners, the majority of U.S. healthcare providers have not yet begun billing for remote patient monitoring (RPM), despite the immediate availability of dedicated CPT codes, technology, and support services. When delivered in tandem, telehealth and RPM serve the healthcare system as a whole, including patients, providers, and caregivers.
Benefits of Telehealth and Remote Patient Monitoring
There are many significant benefits to consider, from increasing access to virtual care, patient-provider communication opportunities, and patient involvement in self-management, to reducing COVID-19 spread, as well as the behavioral, mental, and addiction-related needs that are still emerging and being unmet.
TBHI Telehealth.org is delighted to offer short summary articles of currently developing technology to keep you informed and provide a quick summary of information for those of you writing grants or developing budgets for your groups. These are this week’s top 13 benefits of telehealth and remote patient monitoring for your easy reference.
1. Improves Evidence-Based Clinical Decision Making
RPM can benefit providers by improving their clinical judgment and insight on the status of patients in between office visits and offers them tools to inform proactive care delivery. With RPM, the provider can understand how symptoms develop and change over time, allowing the provider to identify patterns or alter a patient’s treatment plan accordingly.
2. Helps Patients Improve Self-Management & Care Plan Adherence
RPM can provide patients with available, condition-specific, and simple tools to manage their condition in various patient populations. Conditions can range from single or multiple chronic comorbidities, COVID-19 diagnosis, post-surgical rehabilitation, maternal and child needs to malignant neoplasms. RPM gives patients readily available, condition-specific, and easy-to-use devices to maintain their condition.
3. Lowers Cost of Care for Providers & Payers
Not until now have the decades of research showing the decrease of cost of care been evident. RPM has demonstrated significant influence in decreasing avoidable emergency department (ED) utilization. In addition, RPM has demonstrated a reduction in unnecessary hospital admissions and readmissions. It enables ED diversion and discharges from acute settings, resulting in shorter stays and lower care costs. RPM enables the flow of appropriate levels of acute care and services and chronic care monitoring into the home, ultimately reducing the high costs of inpatient services.
4. Decreases Patient’s Costs & Increases Work Productivity
The patient can avoid the associated costs of in-person visits when receiving care via telehealth and remote patient monitoring. Patients avoid the inconveniences and expenses of travel, childcare, parking, and needing to take time off of work.
5. Remote Patient Monitoring Improves Access to Care
When it comes to access, RPM removes a barrier by providing care to patients wherever they are, when they need it. It also works as a great way to decrease no-shows. Additionally, RPM can be used to reach those located in rural areas, where they otherwise wouldn’t have access to specialists.
6. Builds Patient Engagement
Because RPM provides patients with the right tools to help them understand their health, it’s a great way to promote patient engagement. When a patient fully understands their condition, treatment plan, and their responsibilities in bettering their health, they’re much more likely to have positive outcomes in treatment. Having convenient access to education and information materials can additionally encourage engagement.
7. Optimizes Clinical Staff Productivity
RPM helps clinicians prioritize their care delivery and triage every patient/case based on approximate real-time patient status. Many RPM tools can integrate with the provider’s EMR, which in turn reduces duplicative documentation. By allowing clinicians to provide care virtually, Remote Patient Monitoring helps lessen the burden of overscheduled in-person health visits when staffing emergencies occur. It balances a team-based care design that provides for provider flexibility.
8. Stops the Spread of Infectious Diseases & Hospital-Acquired Infections
Patients don’t need to visit the hospital or clinic with RPM, which reduces their risk of contracting an infection. Avoiding in-person visits can eliminate the risk of unnecessary exposure, particularly for vulnerable populations like the elderly, chronically ill, pregnant, or immunocompromised patients. See TBHI’s previous article about Remote Patient Monitoring & Telehealth Interventions for Loneliness.
9. Advances Caregiver Engagement
Many RPM tools available today include the patient’s caregiver in the care plan by allowing access to vital sign records and development. With RPM, the caregiver can engage in and impact their loved one’s care and treatment outcomes. In addition, it can provide caregivers with an additional layer of support in case an emergency arises.
10. Improves Patient Experience & Satisfaction
Telehealth and remote patient monitoring conveniently meet patients where they are, in a place they want to be. By removing the burden of a hospital visit or stay, RPM allows patients to receive effective, safe, and proper care from the comfort of their homes.
11. Expands Referral Possibilities & Increases Retention Rates
Offering remote patient monitoring programs to referring hospitals and specialists can result in increased referrals and revenue. Offering access to innovative care by using technology can set a competitive advantage while attracting new patients and improving existing patient retention. Consumer-driven care recognizes that patients increasingly value convenience, and they maintain loyalty to providers that offers that service.
12. Improves the Clinician-Patient Relationship
RPM provides several opportunities for communication, which ultimately strengthens the patient-provider relationship. At the same time, it can provide patients with reassurance and an accurate perception that their provider is there for them. In turn, patients are more satisfied and loyal to their providers.
13. Remote Patient Monitoring Improves Net Patient Revenue
The Physician Fee Schedule 2022 includes the remote therapeutic monitoring codes. The 2022 Physician Fee Schedule suggests that transformations in digital health policy initiated in response to COVID-19 are beginning to have some permanence. The main difference between RPM and the new RTM codes is that RTM codes can specifically be used to monitor medication adherence and include instances when the patient self-reports clinically relevant health information, such as symptoms or side effects. Other advancements in digital health reimbursement include virtual check-ins, where a provider reviews a photo or video submitted by a patient, and e-visits, in which a patient checks in to a provider via an online portal. It cost less to treat patients/clients online than in brick-and-mortar practices. Net patient revenue can improve when a company adopts RPM, improves workflow efficiency, enhanced staff productivity, and reduced administrative costs. RPM also presents possibilities for reimbursement and a competitive edge. See TBHI’s previous articles Remote Patient Monitoring Telehealth Can Increase Revenues while Improving Care and Increased Reimbursement for Remote Patient Monitoring for more information.
Telehealth and remote patient monitoring are clear and consistent wins for the payer, provider, patient, and caregiver.
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