A 2018 survey of America’s physicians by the Physicians Foundation found that doctors are seeing an average of 20.2 patients per day, up from 19.5 in 2014. With a standard patient load, it can be difficult to give each patient the attention they deserve. This can be even more challenging when the patient is managing a chronic condition (or more than one). One way to help manage the care of these high-acuity patients is to adopt a Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) system.
5 things you should consider when evaluating RPM systems
Your patients’ goals
Are your patients asking how they can manage their condition(s) without multiple in-person doctor visits, especially in the time of Covid-19? Or perhaps they are trying to avoid costly hospitalizations. Also consider whether they are (relatively) tech-savvy and willing to embrace a technological solution.
=> If the answer to these questions is yes, then RPM may be a good fit for your practice.
RPM costs and revenue opportunities
While RPM typically offers cost savings in the long run, there may be initial costs that need to be considered. The Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare found that equipment purchasing, servicing, and monitoring cost of RPM programs can range from $275 to $7963 annually per patient. These costs can vary depending upon whether you opt to purchase and manage an RPM system yourself or if you partner with a third-party provider. Some RPM providers may work with you to bill Medicare and pass any insurance savings onto your practice, resulting in additional passive revenue.
=> Savings and revenue may increase down the line with a self-administered system, but you may need to bear the up-front costs associated with it. Partnering with an RPM provider may lessen downstream revenue but can eliminate start-up costs and negate the need for additional staff to manage the system.
Insurance/Medicare billing requirements
Many insurance companies and Medicare are beginning to reimburse for RPM expenses. Keep in mind, however, that there are specific requirements regarding the number of vital signs collected over a period of time and the type of device used to take the readings, as well as regular appointments with the patient.
=> Does your practice have the capability to research and administer additional billing requirements for RPM? If not, consider partnering with an RPM provider who can manage the billing requirements.
Getting patient/staff buy-in
Whether you opt to institute a self-managed RPM solution or partner with a third-party provider, there are requirements that your staff and patients need to manage. Communication is key. Clearly delineate the process so that everyone is aware that, while it may seem burdensome at the outset, RPM can improve the lives of your patients and actually decrease patient management for your staff over time.
=> Patients will need to have in-person appointments less frequently and can have the peace of mind knowing that any anomalies in their vital sign readings will be transmitted to their physician immediately.
Choosing an RPM provider
If you opt to partner with an RPM provider, rather than adopting a self-administered system, some factors to evaluate are:
- Do they have a medication adherence protocol for your patients?
- Do they provide patient coaching or simply have a technology offering?
- What is their protocol for transmitting readings outside of normal parameters?
- Do they offer a billing file and support documentation to make insurance/Medicare reimbursement simple or do they offer to manage billing on your clinic’s behalf?
- Is there a cost to partner with the provider or do they utilize a revenue share model?
A turnkey solution
Community Wellness is a full-service RPM provider that provides the devices to your patients and trains them how to track their vital signs, has a robust data analytics tool that seamlessly integrates with most EHRs, and offers a unique clinical coaching system for your patients that has shown to increase patient compliance with vitals measurement and medication adherence.