By Emmet Seibels, President and Co-Founder of Verustat
Remote patient monitoring (RPM) can be extremely helpful in healthcare settings, allowing physicians and nurses to provide care directly to the patient from the comfort of their own homes for an extended period of time. However, due to misconceptions surrounding prior RPM installations and older technologies, they are not as widely adopted as expected.
Times have changed, and technology—plus technological literacy—continues to improve. I have broken down three common misconceptions about remote patient monitoring and why these systems can be worth implementing at clinics, practices and other medical facilities.
Misconception 1: It’s difficult and time-consuming to run an RPM program so it doesn’t generate enough profit for the practice
It’s no secret that staff members are restricted to a certain amount of time they’re able to tend to patients each day. Many healthcare practices think they are not able to allocate this precious time to maintain and facilitate an RPM program.
After all, financial considerations are key to implementing any new system in a workplace. It’s true that some RPM programs force your staff to spend valuable time calling patients who don’t monitor and check on routine alerts and this can cost more money than makes sense. This is true in situations where RPM vendors only provide the technology, but that’s not necessarily accurate in every case.
Clinics can and do make money off RPM programs where a team employed by the RPM vendor handles all but the most urgent alerts. In this model, the majority of the cost to bill each code is taken on by the RPM vendor. When managed this way, not only is great care provided, but the positive financial impact to the healthcare clinic or practice can be significant.
At Verustat, for example, we have a care coordinator team that acts as the primary RPM contact for patients and they only escalate clinical issues or questions to the provider.
Many modern RPM vendors also make billing extremely easy to ensure audits are passed. By offering a billing service for the practice, the vendor can gather time, the number of phone calls and review work, alerts and interactions with physicians into one convenient report. This makes it very easy for Medicare to find all the information they need and for practices to meet all coding requirements.
Misconception 2: RPM is difficult for staff and patients to use correctly and conveniently
The technology used in today’s RPM programs is very different than that used in the past. The changes that have been made lead to greater usability and allow the devices to automatically upload information so that doctors can check the system for real-time updates.
The principles of RPM technology are quite simple and are designed for anyone to use, whether it be a technologically challenged patient or a busy staff member. This “passive” technology weaves into patients’ everyday lives seamlessly. Devices simply need to be turned on, and they will send data automatically when used.
RPM models like Verustat’s don’t require additional work for nurses or staff, either. Verustat absorbs the administrative burden and only passes clinical issues on to the practice’s medical team.
Misconception 3: RPM is only for those with severe chronic illness
RPM is a longitudinal service that can benefit the severely ill as well as those with common chronic conditions like COPD, diabetes, heart failure and hypertension. In these instances, RPM is treated as a long-term at-home care solution used to prevent acute conditions or flare-ups before they arise.
Some have concerns about patients missing the element of human interaction, but a phone call is required to bill some codes, and it’s important that your vendor provide the staff to do this work. RPM is a tech-enabled service that relies on the vendor’s staff and not just their technology to provide the power of connection that helps enable patients to thrive.
At Verustat, we place a massive emphasis on our care coordinator team. They interact with patients many days a month, speaking with them on the phone no less than once a month to ensure all requirements are being met and readings are being taken. Many of our team members have even developed friendly relationships with their patients. It may go without saying but this can drive patient satisfaction.
Implementing a modern RPM program will improve the overall healthcare experience for your patients and, in turn, increase patient satisfaction. This will, bring down healthcare costs for your patients. That’s a real win-win.
Emmet Seibels is the president and co-founder of Verustat. Prior to founding Verustat, Seibels co-founded and was president of SnapWorx and Verus Healthcare, where he grew the companies to over $80 MM in combined revenue in seven years before the companies were sold to Brightree and Adapt Health, respectively. Prior to Verus, he founded FrontStream Payments and led the company through its formation, three acquisitions and all fundraising efforts creating a company with ~$13.5 MM in gross revenue in less than three years. Previously, Seibels was the second employee and part of the founding team at Verus Financial Management, a company that sold for $325 MM to Sage Group in 2006. Before his time with Verus, Emmet worked in investment banking at Robinson-Humphrey Company and worked for two start-up software companies.
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