The central mission of remote patient monitoring (RPM) is to optimize health outcomes, which offers significant cost reduction for practitioners and patients alike. This is especially true in relation to chronic care. Conventional chronic care models are heavily reliant on frequent in-person visits or phone consultations which are expensive and inefficient. Recent data indicates that 86% of health care costs are attributed to chronic disease, signaling that traditional chronic care models are not financially sustainable solutions.
To foster greater efficiency, RPM solutions enable patients to remotely transfer their critical health data directly to their healthcare providers from a non-clinical setting, like their home. With RPM systems, medical staff can manage and monitor their patient’s health in real-time, quickly identify issues, and make immediate adjustments to their patient’s treatment plans when needed.
Monitoring health in real-time helps improve patient outcomes and avoid preventable emergency utilization, or similarly associated costs. It is worth addressing that healthcare providers’ reimbursement by insurers is often directly linked to patient outcomes. This makes the financial benefits of remote patient monitoring absolutely essential for hospitals as value-based care reimbursement structures continue to be utilized.
But what specific cost savings does RPM offer physicians and patients? And how does the RPM billing process work? Read on to learn more.
Is Remote Patient Monitoring Cost Effective?
Yes, RPM solutions are extremely cost effective for everyone involved. To offer greater clarity, let’s explore a few common questions related to RPM cost savings and how insurance providers cover these services.
1. How Does RPM Offer Cost Savings for Medical Practitioners?
Hospital readmissions are a notable source of financial strain for medical institutions. For instance, a recent study found that unplanned hospital readmissions cost $15-20 billion per year in the United States. According to the same report, 27% of these readmissions could have been prevented if intervention occurred earlier.
Because remote patient monitoring enables medical teams to identify health problems earlier and quickly adjust treatment plans, hospital readmissions are significantly decreased. This inevitably results in reduced healthcare costs. One leading medical care provider estimated that “for every 500 high-risk Medicare patients with multiple chronic conditions, health systems can realize $5.2 million in annual cost savings.”
In relation to reducing readmissions, RPM solutions can help hospitals avoid financial penalties associated with high readmission rates. For example the Center for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) evaluated 2,213 hospitals and collectively penalized $280 million for excessive readmission rates. In recent years, the number of hospitals reviewed and penalized has increased. In 2021, 83% of 3,046 hospitals reviewed by the CMS were penalized.
Providers who use Harmonize Health’s RPM solution experience:
- 61% Reduction in hospital admissions
- 43% Reduction in ER visits
- $7000+ Cost savings per patient per year
2. How Does RPM Offer Cost Savings for Patients?
According to a 2022 National Debt Survey conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation, half of U.S. adults have difficulty affording healthcare costs. The high prices associated with medical services in the U.S often stop patients from accessing vital care. RPM solutions have been proven to reduce this financial strain for patients by:
- Eliminating commuting costs associated with traveling to and from appointments
- Preventing expensive trips to the emergency room or unnecessary hospital admissions
- Improving treatment outcomes so less interventions and medications are needed
- Reducing the potential of lost wages for taking time off work for appointments or hospital admissions
One of the most compelling use cases for RPM solutions has been rural clinics. Some of the costs we mentioned above are often too much for rural patients to bear. In fact, some rural patients refuse specialized care because costs are too substantial. Since RPM solutions are affordable and remote-based, they can effectively connect chronically ill members of impoverished rural communities to quality and affordable healthcare.
Additionally, because RPM offers patients and hospitals user-friendly remote patient monitoring devices and software, it’s much easier for rural clinics and patients to adopt these solutions. For example, to enable seamless and easily implementation of our RPM platform, Harmonize Health provides:
- Customized digital health tools designed to cater to the patient’s unique needs.
- Mobile-friendly applications for greater convenience.
- Intuitive enrollment and accessible check-ins, treatment plans, and more.
- Enhanced communication with clinical teams using video and chat features.
3. How Are Remote Patient Monitoring Costs Processed?
Payment RPM solutions can be processed in a variety of ways.
- Providers can bill RPM as a fee-for-service if they frequently meet with a patient for a longer period of time.
- Private insurers will also reimburse RPM solutions. Although, private insurance providers most often cover RPM for patients who are not in a critical phase of their health.
- Medicare will only cover RPM for high-risk patients and adheres to strict billing guidelines.
Harmonize Health: Optimizing Efficiency for the Healthcare Industry One Patient at a Time
Ultimately, adopting remote patient monitoring solutions is about more than saving money. RPM leads to happier patients, additional referrals, greater patient engagement, and more. At Harmonize Health, we’re here to help you efficiently deliver quality remote care to all of your patients in need. Although this may sound like a huge undertaking, we have the technology and expertise to help you deliver remote care in a comprehensive, convenient, and scalable way. Watch our free demo and discover how we can streamline your RPM.