What Qualifies as Remote Patient Monitoring?

What counts as remote patient monitoring? What is RPM used for? What is the difference between telehealth and RPM? Learn these answers and more.

October 31, 2022
What Qualifies as Remote Patient Monitoring?

Remote patient monitoring (RPM) is the use of technology devices to gather, monitor, and report individual health data to healthcare providers. RPM is ideal for both patients and providers, with major benefits for both. Patients can use simple devices like blood pressure monitors or thermometers to collect their own vital signs and easily transmit the information to their doctor from the comfort of their home on their own schedule. Providers are able to have better datasets, establish baselines, and monitor for any unusual signs that need immediate attention. The biggest benefit, however, is that with remote patient monitoring, cost is typically far less than other healthcare interventions and it can greatly reduce the cost of healthcare. 

In general, any non-invasive monitoring devices that can track and transmit health information could be included as part of a remote patient monitoring setup. Each patient will have their own selection of devices, depending on the information that their healthcare provider has deemed necessary to collect and monitor. There is a wide variety of remote patient monitoring devices available today, so we’ll take a look at some examples in a moment. 

How Does CMS Define Remote Patient Monitoring?

Because Medicare and Medicaid often cover RPM, looking at how the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) define this practice can be helpful. CMS defines remote patient monitoring as ‘‘the collection of physiologic data (for example, ECG, blood pressure, glucose monitoring) digitally stored and/or transmitted by the patient or caregiver or both to the home health agency.’’ The agency counts RPM as part of the home health services, and it’s important to note that the CMS guidelines for remote patient monitoring may change. Providers need to stay up-to-date and follow the latest changes to make sure RPM is still covered for their patients. 

What Is Remote Patient Monitoring Used For?

First and foremost, remote patient monitoring is used for keeping patients healthier. Additionally, RPM helps bring down the cost of healthcare. These two benefits are vital for medical facilities looking to qualify for value-based care (VBC) and accept Medicare and Medicaid patients. VBC looks closely at patient outcomes, so specific metrics (for example, reduced hospital readmissions) are key. Implementing a remote patient monitoring program offers significant return on investment for providers and specialists, but especially for those who work under the VBC model. 

For example, medical professionals who choose Harmonize Health for their RPM solution see results like: 

  • A 43% decrease in ER visits
  • A 61% decrease in hospital admissions
  • $7,000 in savings in health care costs per patient
  • A 70% increase in patient engagement
  • A 40% increase in patient satisfaction

What Is an Example of Remote Patient Monitoring?

There are many examples of remote patient monitoring, especially as technology has advanced and a variety of monitoring devices are available. A few of the most commonly-used RPM devices are: 

Blood pressure monitors

Patients with conditions like hypertension, diabetes, congestive heart failure (CHF), and kidney dysfunction often benefit from using these devices.

Scales, thermometers, and wearable activity trackers

Patients use these devices to gather a picture of their overall health, as well as give insight into acute or chronic conditions.

Glucometers

Patients with type 1 or type 2 diabetes who may need to test multiple times a day can find this helpful for the management of their condition.

Pulse oximeters

Patients with chronic heart or lung conditions like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and CHF often use these devices, as well as those with conditions like COVID-19, pneumonia, or asthma.

What Is the Difference Between Telehealth and Remote Patient Monitoring?

Telehealth, also known as telemedicine, is the overarching term for using technology and telecommunication tools to connect patients and providers. This is a broad term, covering many different types of virtual healthcare practices. Remote patient monitoring is a type of telehealth, and not all telehealth is included in RPM. For example, a virtual doctor’s visit where a patient logs in and has a video call with their provider about a recent X-ray is a type of telehealth but is not RPM. A patient who has a video call with their provider about their glucometer readings is participating in both RPM and telehealth. 

Bringing Patients and Providers Together, in Harmony

Here at Harmonize Health, we specialize in remote patient monitoring. We’ve built our platform with patients and providers in mind, making it easy for everyone to participate in RPM that actually works. Our practical, simple solution helps you set your patients up for success with:

  • Easy patient onboarding with out of the box setup for patients not used to technology 
  • A custom kit of devices for each patient, designed specifically for their conditions and health needs
  • An app that makes recording data effortless for patients
  • Patient engagement tools that keep users participating, with the high adherence rates to prove it
  • Straightforward communication channels between patients and medical staff
  • An effective and efficient alerting framework and automated clinical workflow
  • Education and behavioral coaching straight to patients to empower them to best manage their care

If you’re ready to explore the many benefits of RPM, contact us to learn how Harmonize Health can help.

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