A Guide to Remote Patient Monitoring Software in Healthcare
COVID-19 has drastically changed the healthcare landscape. The quick pivot to telehealth has shown us that remote patient care can be just as effective as in-person care. Operational processes have been adapted and patients have embraced virtual care. This, along with the increased popularity of wearable devices such as smart watches, along with increased reimbursement for telehealth visits, makes this the perfect time to consider implementing a full strategy for Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM).
What is Remote Patient Monitoring Software?
Remote Patient Monitoring software enables providers to connect with a patient and monitor the patient’s health, no matter where the patient or provider is located. Software includes video and audio technology, as well as digital tools like blood glucose monitors, O2 saturation monitors, blood pressure cuffs, stethoscopes, heart monitors, EKGs, and more. These digital tools, along with health apps on smart watches, send a steady stream of real-tie health data to the patient’s provider. Providers gain insight into a patient’s current condition along with trends over time.
Wearable health monitoring devices continue to evolve and grow in popularity. Their ability to continuously monitor multiple vitals and automatically transmit data to the provider allows for faster interventions. These wearables, along with high-quality telehealth technology, are key to a successful RPM program.
Benefits of Using Remote Patient Monitoring Software
RPM presents a great opportunity to reduce costs, improve outcomes, and enhance the patient experience by expanding care beyond the exam room. There are many applications and benefits that come from RPM, including:
Fewer readmissions and penalties
Nearly 20% of patients experience some type of adverse event within the first three weeks after discharge from a hospital or emergency department. RPM gives providers the ability to continuously monitor and evaluate these patients during this critical period after discharge—whether in the patient’s home or at another care facility. Providers are able to quickly identify problematic symptoms and trends and intervene to prevent complications and keep patients stable, happy and on the road to recovery. It also helps mitigate hospital readmission penalties.
Surveys show that 25% of the 46 million individuals living in rural communities say there are times when they can’t get the care they need. RPM expands much-needed access to care for our rural populations by removing the barriers of transportation and proximity while, at the same time, enabling health systems to expand their service area and their brand recognition.
Now that the CMS allows hospitals and health systems to receive Medicare reimbursement for remote patient monitoring, providers have the opportunity to create additional revenue by implementing an RPM program.
More effective chronic disease management
According to research, RPM can reduce hospitalizations by 35% and visits to the emergency department by 68% for patients with certain chronic conditions. Being able to continuously monitor a patient’s condition regardless of the patient’s location enables providers to proactively intervene before complications can occur. This, in turn, helps reduce hospitalizations, readmissions, and ED visits. The result is more effective chronic disease management, improved outcomes and reimbursement, and an enhanced patient experience.
RPM enables providers to care for more patients without having to add office hours. It also enables providers and other clinicians to monitor multiple patients at the same time, which is of great benefit to hospitals struggling with staffing challenges. By being able to better utilize existing resources, hospitals can reduce labor costs and overhead, while increasing net revenue per patient.
Increased patient satisfaction
RPM gives patients and their families greater peace of mind that they are connected to their provider 24/7, reducing the likelihood of complications and hospitalizations.
How Remote Patient Monitoring in Healthcare is Changing the Industry
The use of remote patient monitoring software is growing exponentially. It is estimated that 70.6 million patients will use RPM tools by 2025, accounting for 26.2% of the population. The popularity of wearable and digital health devices has expanded opportunities for RPM. And the aging of our population has expanded the need. Today, 73% of total healthcare spending goes toward managing chronic conditions. Since older individuals are more likely to have multiple—and more complex—chronic conditions, RPM is likely to become a more integral part of caring for this vulnerable population and will play an even greater role in the healthcare continuum.