Managed Healthcare Executive has named remote patient monitoring (RPM) as one of healthcare’s top healthcare trends—and with good reason. Numerous advances, including a move from telephonic to mobile RPM (mRPM), have made the technology much more feasible and effective for patients, health plans, and providers.
Few healthcare stakeholders, however, have extensive experience with RPM. That means some dated misconceptions about RPM still linger in the industry. In particular, these views often fail to consider how to leverage mobile technology popular with Americans of all ages for efficient and cost-effective RPM programs.
With that, the following are five interesting updates about RPM that you may not know:
1. RPM can be delivered on a convenient schedule
RPM is often associated with phone calls from the doctor’s office to the patient, with many missed connections, or with live, video-based virtual visits that require the provider and patient to be sitting at their computers or mobile devices at the same time. Synchronous encounters can be useful in some circumstances, but are not always effective or efficient for ongoing patient monitoring.
Instead, when it is convenient, a patient can be prompted on their mobile device to check in with their physician approximately once a week, or whenever deemed clinically relevant, and answer a short series of subjective and objective questions (including social determinants of health), and enter biometric data such as blood pressure readings. The provider can then review the requested patient-reported data before it is entered into the EHR.
This type of asynchronous, automated mRPM does not require both parties to be available at the same time, nor does it require configuring any telemedicine software, ensuring there is an adequate internet connection, or any of the other technical requirements of a live video-based encounter.
Like a virtual visit, mRPM offers higher quality monitoring and patient-reported data than other RPM modalities, such as a phone call, text message or email. The latter two methods also typically require the patient to log in to a separate patient portal, which can be an RPM adherence obstacle. Using a disciplined, clinically-relevant communication schedule integrated into a prescribed care plan, mRPM also prevents providers from being deluged with non-meaningful patient-reported data—data that does nothing to improve outcomes. The focus is on identifying clinically relevant trends or red flags that are actionable and may require an intervention to improve outcomes.
2. RPM isn’t just for chronic care management
In our value-based care era, RPM is often utilized for chronic care management (CCM), which is an excellent application of the technology and has been recognized with increased reimbursements by public and private payers.
However, RPM—particularly mRPM—can be highly useful for a wide range of other use cases, including oncology, non-chronic cardiology applications, and monitoring members post-procedure—especially in bundled care payment scenarios.
Post-surgical monitoring of members who receive a total hip or knee replacement, for example, is an ideal application of mRPM. From their homes, members can answer questions about healing, pain, medication and mobility, and even take photos of the incision site. This approach saves members from making an inconvenient and uncomfortable trip to a medical facility when it is not necessary, and it gives providers important progress information, including identifying issues that may need intervention to improve outcomes and prevent readmissions.