The elderly population in developing countries is projected to almost triple to 1.5 billion by 2050. With such growth, remote patient monitoring services will become a requirement for managing chronic medical conditions.
What Is Remote Patient Monitoring?
Remote patient monitoring is a technology used to monitor the patients’ health when they are not in their physician’s immediate care.
RPM technology includes daily monitoring devices for chronically ill patients with diabetes and heart or blood pressure concerns. Data can then be sent to a physician’s office by using a special telemonitoring software system and app installed on the patient’s Internet-capable computer, smartphone or tablet PC.
By utilizing this technology to collect data from patients remotely, healthcare providers can realize benefits ranging from reduced readmissions to shortened hospital stays and improved clinical outcomes.
Key Benefits of Remote Patient Monitoring
Simply put, remote patient monitoring helps lower costs and improves chronically ill patients’ quality of life without the necessity of hospitalization. Here are some interesting statistics about RPMs:
- Remote Patient Monitoring Program Reduces Readmissions to 2%. Studies indicate that remote monitoring is useful for reducing readmissions in patients with single conditions that are easily tracked through monitoring data from simple vital readings. Sentara Healthcare in Chesapeake, Va., announced a two percent readmission rate for patients in its remote monitoring program, compared to a 15 percent readmission rate for the hospital at large.
- Significantly Improve Patient Satisfaction (85%): By examining data from large telehealth programs run by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Partners HealthCare in Boston, and Centura Health, based in Colorado, researchers found that home monitoring programs can cut costs and raise patient satisfaction up to 85%.
- 51% Reduction In Readmissions. Partners HealthCare used telehealth to aid a group of 1,256 cardiac patients. Following the program, they saw a 51% reduction in hospital readmissions related to heart failure and a total savings of $10.3 million.
- Remote Patient Monitoring Correlates With a Sharp Drop in Hospital Charges. The devices regularly measured each patient’s weight, blood pressure, heart rate and pulse oximetry; that information then was passed from the devices to a secure Web portal for a nursing care coordinator to review. Overall, the average number of hospitalizations decreased 44 percent from 3 to 1.7, while average days hospitalized decreased 64 percent from 13.2 to 4.8. Average total charges dropped a whopping 72 percent, from $129,480 to $36,914.
The United States, along with other countries around the world, is embracing remote patient monitoring technology because it will lower healthcare costs, emergency room visits and hospital readmissions, therefore improving the quality of healthcare services and outcomes in the industry.
Why Do Patients Like RPM?
92% of all Americans have smartphones and many are willing to use it in lieu of visiting a doctor’s office. There are 3 main reasons why patients benefit from remote patient monitoring: Easier access to care, improved feedback, and saves them money.
- Easier access to care. As you can imagine, it is difficult for chronically ill and elderly patients to get around and drive. Plus, many get cranky having to wait in a doctors office for appointments. Access to caregivers from the comfort of their own home is a major point of satisfaction for patients.
- Improved feedback. Given the daily back and forth between the patient and caregivers, remote patient monitoring gives patients an expanded level of feedback on their health, which leads to improved daily habits & routines, and this overall daily information with support can make a significant difference in terms of their health outcomes.
- Saves them money. Reduced clinic visits equal reduced payments for patients, and proactive monitoring results to fewer emergency room visits.
No matter how nice of a doctor you are, visiting your clinic is always going to rank among the least favorite activity for people to do, so any technology doctors can use to minimize visits will be greatly appreciated by your patients.
In the video below, we discuss how remote patient monitoring can help physicians better treat chronically ill patients:
How Does Remote Patient Monitoring Benefit Doctors?
Again, RPM is the next big thing in patient care, projected to keep growing, and your patients love the benefits. Some other reasons why physicians will benefit from remote patient monitoring include the ease in which they can access patient data, ability to deliver higher-quality care, fewer readmissions, fewer revisits, fewer opportunities for burnout, the ability to assign to clinical staff, higher reimbursements thru Medicare and lower overall costs.
In November of 2018, Medicare created new CPT codes to financially incentive doctors to utilize this service. The new Chronic Care Remote Physiologic Monitoring codes are:
- CPT code 99453: Initial setup. Pays approximately $21. “Remote monitoring of physiologic parameter(s) (eg, weight, blood pressure, pulse oximetry, respiratory flow rate), initial; set-up and patient education on use of equipment.”
- CPT code 99454: Device/transmission fee. Pays approximately $69 per month. “Remote monitoring of physiologic parameter(s) (eg, weight, blood pressure, pulse oximetry, respiratory flow rate), initial; device(s) supply with daily recording(s) or programmed alert(s) transmission, each 30 days.”
- CPT code 99457: Monitoring and treatment. Pays approximately $53 per month for 20 minutes of time spent viewing data and communicating with patients. “Remote physiologic monitoring treatment management services, 20 minutes or more of clinical staff/physician/other qualified healthcare professional time in a calendar month requiring interactive communication with the patient/caregiver during the month.”
What Is Different About The New CPT Codes For RPM?
There are 3 main differences between the new CPT codes and CPT code 99091:
- Separate payment for initial set up & patient education: Being able to be reimbursed for setting up the equipment and training the patient is a smart decision as physicians will now be incentivized to start using their technologies with their patients.
- Clinical staff now allowed to perform: Under 99091, only Physicians and QHC professionals can administer RPM, which is a lot of time to use highly trained professionals for a $58/mo reimbursement rate. It just isn’t cost effective. Now, these services can be performed by clinical staff!
- 20 minute per calendar month time requirement: CPT 99091 requires at least 30 minutes per 30-day period (which becomes difficult to align with recordkeeping and claims submission), whereas CPT 99457 requires only 20 minutes per calendar month (33% less time than CPT 99091).
Summary of Benefits of Remote Patient Monitoring
Patients love RPM, receive better care, and physicians benefit greatly as well – it’s just that simple! Want to learn more about how remote patient monitoring, how it can benefit your office and your patients, and how you can easily & affordably acquire the equipment & software? Contact us today for a complimentary in-office demonstration of how our technology can help you provide better care for your chronically ill patients!