RPM – The Right Tool for COVID-19 and Beyond

RPM – The Right Tool for COVID-19 and Beyond

Remote physiologic monitoring (RPM) technology, also called remote patient monitoring, is playing a vital role during the current pandemic. It excels in connecting patients to care teams, providing real-time clinical data needed to control symptom and disease progression. As COVID-19 continues to spread, our country faces the unprecedented challenge of managing health in a safe and effective manner.

Time and resources are valuable commodities for all healthcare organizations — especially as medical professionals battle this pandemic. Clinicians adopt RPM to monitor, assess and address patients’ health, instantly receiving vitals and data from thermometers, pulse oximeters and blood pressure monitors. With real-time insights come fast response, better prioritization and triage of patients, and faster delivery of healthcare when every minute counts.

Patients no longer have to rely on their own discretion as to whether their rising temperature or shortness of breath warrant a visit to the nearest emergency room. With RPM technologies, they have confidence that they are being monitored; a change in their health status will be immediately conveyed to their care team. 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. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently released new regulations covering these services for patients with acute conditions.

CPT Codes and RPM Adoption

The recent healthcare crisis put a spotlight on the value that tools like RPM and wearable devices in the management of patient outcomes. It was in 2019, however, that their use became more common. That is when CMS published several new RPM Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) codes. These CPT codes more clearly improve reimbursement for the work typically performed around RPM service programs. This includes issuing devices to the patient and training them on its use. It also supports electronic transmissions, monitoring clinical data, and interactively communicating with patients.

These newly released codes successfully boosted physician adoption. In Spyglass Consulting Group’s 2019 survey, 88% of healthcare providers reported either purchasing or evaluating RPM technologies. Providers have found RPM valuable in managing high-risk populations. It also led to expansion of chronic care management programs, aiding in the successful transition to value-based care models. RPM is highly effective in treating prevalent diseases, such as diabetes, congestive heart failure, hypertension, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and asthma. Studies demonstrate that they play a significant role in substantially reducing readmission rates and overall costs of care.

In 2020, CMS further relaxed their RPM guidelines. Clinical staff can now perform these services under the supervising physician’s general supervision based on CMS’ incident-to guidelines. This allows care providers to work efficiently, freeing up physician time for more complex treatments and procedures. It also expands the potential business models for RPM programs, as the physician doesn’t have to be in the same physical location while the services are performed. 

Medical Benefits of RPM

DocsInk uniquely positions medical professionals to successfully implement an RPM program. It simplifies the day to day use of remote patient monitoring for medical professionals by seamlessly connecting to any wearable device. Additionally, it offers customizable clinical alert notifications, facilitates templated patient surveys, streamlines interactive patient communications, and instantly bills for all professional services rendered.

We are all working to gain control over the global health crisis. Yet we must simultaneously navigate value-based care, manage chronically-ill patient populations, and provide general health coaching. That’s why we created a new solution. DocsInk’s RPM solution offers a strong ROI, improved workflow efficiencies, and the tools to achieve patient goals.

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5 Benefits of DocsInk’s Telehealth Solution

5 Benefits of DocsInk’s Telehealth Solution

Both medical professionals and patients alike greatly benefit from telemedicine services. For example, the adoption of communication based technology services (CBTS) is becoming widespread; Medicare, Medicaid and many private insurance payers have relaxed their administrative guidelines and improved their reimbursement models. FH Health Indicators reports that telemedicine visits grew 53% nationally from 2016 to 2017. Here are the top five reasons for clinicians to adopt DocsInk’s Telehealth Solution:

1. Better Access to Care

Making medical care more available is essential to achieving a healthy patient population. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 46 million Americans, 15% of the U.S. population, live in rural areas. The nearest medical center is 20+ miles away. With restricted access to public transportation, DocsInk’s Telehealth Solution allows them to get the care they need when they need it. Patients are more likely to be compliant and engaged when they have easy access to prompt, quality medical treatment. In many rural areas, telemedicine provides direct access to specialists which would not otherwise be accessible by patients. In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic makes it every more critical for clinicians to reach patients at home.

2. Cost Effectiveness

As the healthcare industry continues to transition from fee-for-service to value-based care, it is critical to reduce expenses. Avoidable readmissions account for $17B  in expenses, and preventable emergency use represents $8.3B in costs each year. Both of these numbers may be reduced with improved patient/care team communication via telemedicine visits. Further prooft comes from the Veterans Administration, which reaped an annual savings of $6,500 per patient when using telemedicine services. Other studies have shown a 50% reduction in emergency room visits and 90% reduction in overall hospitalizations of chronically-ill patients. DocsInk’s Telehealth Solution allows for quality value-based care and reduction of readmission costs.

3. Improved Patient Outcomes

Convenience and access to care have proven to be key in maximizing patient engagement and compliance. DocsInk’s Telehealth Solution facilitates high-touch, efficient care options for patients who require frequent monitoring. Whether the impetus is prescription adherence, post-surgical care, chronic disease management or inpatient discharge instructions, this option delivers.

Johns Hopkins reported that medication nonadherence is one of the largest factors negatively impacting health outcomes. In short, these issues can be addressed with DocsInk’s Telehealth Solution, and is recommended the Health Information Technology Playbook

4. Boost Patient Satisfaction and Engagement

Patient satisfaction is a key indicator for measuring the quality of healthcare. Patient satisfaction scores help ensure optimal reimbursements and higher patient retention rates. But a satisfied patient is also more apt to be engaged in their overall health. 

Telemedicine has proven to increase patient satisfaction scores, and in turn, health outcomes. In a Massachusetts General Hospital study, 68% of patients rated their telemedicine visits a 9 or above on a 10 point scale. Their quality of care and convenience of access expectations were exceeded. Another study published in the Annals of Vascular Surgery shows that telemedicine may significantly improve a patient’s satisfaction with postoperative care — as well as their views on quality of life. DocsInk’s Telehealth Solution can help you stay on top of your patients overall quality of care satisfaction and in turn, their overall health outcome.

5. Improved Revenue

There are a number of ways that DocsInk’s Telehealth Solution impacts revenue. Because it’s convenient, virtual care can translate into fewer no-shows and cancellations. These cost practices a great deal of time and money, ranging from 3 – 14% of total clinic income. Telemedicine also facilitates a more efficient clinical schedule with increased billable time. Plus, it allows for the transition of non-paid patient phone calls into revenue generating visits and virtual check-ins.

Finally, DocsInk’s Telehealth Solution can substantially reduces overhead costs per visit, which then promotes improved staff productivity and time savings.