RPM connects patients and clinicians across long-distances using electronic information and telecommunication technologies. For example, patients can use their RPM platform to schedule a video call with their primary care physician to talk through symptoms they’re experiencing. The most immediate benefit from RPM is convenience. In fact, it took patients an average of just 20 minutes to complete a telehealth visit compared to an average of 121 minutes for an in-person appointment, which includes transportation time. But the benefits don’t end there. RPM also:
- Results in fewer hospitalizations for patients
- Lowers overall cost for care for both patients and providers
- Provides access to care in remote locations
With the adoption of remote patient monitoring, patients with chronic conditions can see even more benefits from telehealth technology. In short, RPM gives patients the technology and know-how to track their own health indicators—like blood pressure and glucose levels—without needing to attend in-person appointments or wait for a home health nurse to visit or call. In extreme cases, nurses can also come to their location to take readings. Instead, patients can submit vital signs where and when they want to, and their providers can focus on patient care. At Harmonize Health, we’ve found that empowering patients to monitor their health optimizes outcomes for those receiving care and for those who provide it. With our RPM platform, we’ve seen results like:
- 61% reduction in hospital admissions
- 43% reduction in ER visits
- $7,000 per patient per year in cost savings
As a healthcare provider, you want to achieve the best outcomes for your patients while keeping costs manageable. With the right remote patient monitoring platform, you can do both. If you’re wondering how to find the best RPM company, then you’re in the right place. This article has the answers you’re looking for, from what exactly RPM companies do to which companies provide the best outcomes. Let’s get started!
What Is Remote Patient Monitoring?
Remote patient monitoring is a healthcare practice that uses technology to enable patients to track their health information and send it to care providers from their homes. In other words, RPM allows patients and their care providers to read vital signs in real-time, so they can make decisions based on the most current data. When care providers invest in telehealth, especially for patients with chronic illnesses, remote patient monitoring also remedies its greatest drawback: the inability to conduct a physical exam remotely. With RPM, patients can monitor their symptoms and conditions, such as:
- Heart Disease
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
Remote patient monitoring platforms collect and share patient’s health data with care providers. In order to get that data, RPM platforms need to either connect directly with devices—like blood pressure monitors and pulse oximeters—or patients will have to manually enter data. To make the process as easy, accurate, and effective as possible, Harmonize Health comes with biometric sensor kits that are tailored for each patient’s conditions and health goals. These devices also connect to the platform via Bluetooth, so readings are automatically recorded. No set up required. Put this all together, and patients have an easier time using this technology, so they use it more often.
Who Can Perform Remote Patient Monitoring?
RPM is a partnership between patients and care providers. The patient is able to independently input and monitor their health, while their health data is also sent to their care provider, who can:
- Give insights
- Spot alarming trends
- Make recommendations
- Schedule an appointment for in-person care
- Escalate a worsening patient condition
The current remote patient monitoring trend is that patients who see the most benefit are those with chronic conditions and are at high risk for hospitalization.
To see how RPM can be used to improve outcomes, let’s look at two examples of remote patient monitoring in action: one from the patient’s perspective and one from the care provider’s perspective.
- Fred has diabetes and monitors his glucose levels to lower his risk for unexpected spikes or crashes. During checkups with his doctor, he gets his blood pressure taken along with other important measurements. However, because high blood pressure doesn’t always come with clear symptoms, Fred doesn’t realize that his blood pressure has gone up significantly in between appointments. His glucose levels are on track, so he believes that his diabetes is under control. Unfortunately, Fred’s elevated blood pressure causes a heart attack, and he is hospitalized.
With a comprehensive remote patient monitoring plan, Fred would also monitor his blood pressure alongside his glucose levels. When he takes readings, his doctor would also be able to see how he is doing and recommend necessary action. When Fred’s blood pressure rises, his doctor can schedule an appointment earlier than normal, so they can work to regulate his blood pressure before it leads to hospitalization.
- Gerald lives with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and has recently been hospitalized for a severe flare-up. Gerald is insured through Medicare; therefore, the hospital must work through the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program (HRRP) to receive full payment for their work. RPM will help his provider keep Gerald’s condition stabilized, and he’ll stay out of the hospital, helping his provider qualify for readmission reduction related incentives. If a patient needs repeat hospitalizations after certain procedures, hospitals could face a payment reduction from Medicare. This incentivizes hospitals to increase the quality of care they provide, even after the procedure is finished.
Gerald’s hospital chooses to recommend remote patient monitoring to him, so he can better track his breathing patterns at home. Gerald goes home with a spirometer that automatically uploads his readings to an RPM platform, where he can see how his breathing is doing—and so can his doctor. At the earliest signs of a flare-up, Gerald’s doctor can recommend preventive measures like increasing oxygen or prescribing antibiotics or steroids. Gerald can manage his COPD and avoids needing hospitalization, which greatly improves his quality of life. Gerald’s hospital prevents the need for a patient’s repeat hospitalization, which improves their standing with Medicare, and that benefits their bottom line.
What Is the Cost of Remote Patient Monitoring?
The remote patient monitoring cost varies depending on which platform you decide to use and what medical devices are included in each patient’s plan. The average upfront cost per patient for RPM ranges from $1,000 to $2,000. This investment in technology and training is estimated to return an annual savings of between $1,054 and $1,950 per patient, while achieving a 35% reduction in hospital visits and a 50% reduction in emergency room visits. With Harmonize Healthcare, your ROI looks more like:
- $7,000 saved per year per patient
- 61% reduction in hospital admissions
- 43% reduction in emergency room visits
What Insurance Covers Remote Patient Monitoring?
RPM is covered under Medicare Part B as evaluation and management services, and they are typically subject to a 20% copay, which may be covered by Medicaid or other supplemental coverage. Remote patient monitoring is also covered by:
- 27 state Medicaid services, including New York, Indiana, Texas, Washington, and Colorado
- Major private insurance companies, such as Cigna, Humana, and United Healthcare
What Are Remote Patient Monitoring Companies?
RPM companies create platforms that make it seamless for patients to record their health data and share it with their care providers. The goals of remote patient monitoring companies in 2022 and beyond are to:
- Engage patients with easy-to-use technology so they record readings consistently
- Facilitate communication between patients and health care providers via real-time video calls, in-app messaging, and SMS messaging
- Securely send sensitive health information
Qualities of Top Remote Patient Monitoring Companies
Remote patient monitoring companies in the USA offer varying combinations of features, patient engagement, and reductions in hospitalization rates. Here are some of the most important qualities of RPM companies:
Remote Patient Monitoring Best Practices
For the best results, RPM platforms should:
- Offer customization for patients
- Be easy to use
- Enable reliable communication
- Provide services to enroll, support, and triage patients, if necessary
RPM best practices are designed to give patients and care providers optimal outcomes. Following these guidelines helps keep patients healthy and out of the hospital while reducing costs for care providers and improving Medicare reimbursement rates.
At Harmonize Health, we don’t just aim for some of these best practices, we incorporate all of them into our remote patient monitoring platform. Here’s how:
- Customized kits provide patients with devices that record data specific to their needs. These devices are easy-to-use, connect to our mobile app via Bluetooth, and patients are able to submit their readings in an average of three minutes or less.
- Our platform and devices are set up before arrival, which means your patients just have to open the box, and they’re ready to go—guided by patient onboarding support. This accessible technology is why Harmonize Health offers one of the best patient monthly retention rates at 97%, meaning that nearly all RPM patients consistently monitor their health to stay on top of changes.
- Patients and care providers can communicate with the method that works best for them—either video or chat—directly in the app. Consistent communication between patients and care providers results in an average 40% decrease in vital fluctuations over time and gives care providers 10x more data to guide decision making.
To see how RPM can reduce rehospitalization rates and improve outcomes for your patients and your bottom line, explore our website and request a demo.