Remote physiologic monitoring (RPM) technology, also referred to as remote patient monitoring, is playing a vital role in connecting patients to their care teams, providing the real-time clinical data needed to control symptom and disease progression. With the continuing spread of COVID-19 our country faces unprecedented challenges of managing the health of our patient population in a safe and effective manner. Time and resources are valuable commodities for all healthcare organizations as medical professionals battle this pandemic. RPM technologies allow clinicians to quickly monitor, assess and address their patient’s health by instantly receiving vitals and data from wearable devices such as thermometers, pulse oximeters and blood pressure monitors. With these type of real-time insights, providers can quickly respond to alerts to better prioritize cases, triage patients, and speed up the overall delivery of healthcare when every minute counts.
Patients no longer have to rely on their own discretion as to whether their rising temperature or feelings of shortness of breath warrant a visit to the nearest emergency room. RPM technologies provide them the reassurance that they are being monitored, and any changes in their health status will be immediately conveyed to their care team for review and response. RPM expedites the delivery of medical care in a safe and virtual manner, as face-to-face treatment now poses too large of a risk potential in many cases. In recognition of the significant role RPM plays in treating COVID-19, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently released new regulations allowing patients with one or more acute conditions to be covered for these services, in addition to those previously covered with chronic conditions.
Although the recent healthcare crisis has put a spotlight on RPM and patient wearable devices as valuable tools in the management of patient outcomes, their use became much more common in 2019 with the release of several new RPM Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) codes. CMS published these CPT codes to more clearly represent and improve reimbursement for the work typically performed around RPM service programs. These services include training patients on equipment, suppling devices, receiving and collecting electronic transmissions, monitoring clinical data and alerts and interactively communicating with patients.
These new released codes successfully boosted physician adoption, as reported by Spyglass Consulting Group’s 2019 survey which confirmed that 88% of healthcare providers have either purchased or are evaluating the adoption of RPM technologies. They also reported that providers have found RPM valuable in managing their high-risk populations and expansion of chronic care management programs which aid in the successful transition to value-based care models. Countless studies have shown RPM to be highly effective in treating some of our nation’s most prevalent diseases including diabetes, congestive heart failure, hypertension, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma and others; substantially reducing readmission rates and overall costs of care.
In 2020, CMS further relaxed their RPM guidelines to allow clinical staff to perform these services under the supervising physician’s general supervision based on CMS’ incident-to guidelines. This allows care providers to work efficiently to the full scope of their licensure, freeing up physician time for more complex treatments and procedures. This change permitting general supervision also expands the potential operations and business models for RPM programs, no longer requiring the physician to be on-site at the same physical location while the associated services are performed.
DocsInk uniquely positions medical professionals to successfully implement a RPM program with its ability to seamlessly connect to any wearable device, customize clinical alert notifications, create templated patient surveys, streamline interactive patient communications and instantly bill for all professional services rendered. While working to gain control over the current global health crisis, navigate value-based care, manage chronically-ill patient populations, or simply provide on-going coaching to promote general health and well-being, DocsInk’s RPM solution offers a strong ROI, improved workflow efficiencies, and the tools to achieve patient goals.