If you have a Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) program or are considering launching one, you probably already know the basic requirements for patient onboarding. You must have an order from the billing provider, patient consent, and a medical device or devices (defined by the FDA) that automatically transmit data.
You may also know that many patients sign up for RPM but often miss their required readings. So, what makes the difference between an average “checks the boxes” onboarding appointment and a great one that drives high levels of patient engagement and adherence? Hint – it’s not handing the patient a device in a box and telling them to take their readings.
So, what does work? Here are seven specific, easy-to-implement tips that really make a difference in ongoing patient participation.
Ask the patient to take their first reading during RPM onboarding.If a nurse or other staff member takes the patient’s first reading, the patients do not necessarily learn how to use the device themselves. The clinical staff should coach the patient on how to correctly take a reading, but allow the patient to actually take the reading themself. Most of us learn better by doing, rather than watching. This also allows the clinical staff to troubleshoot potential issues for inaccurate readings, such as sitting with legs crossed during a blood pressure reading. If the patient isn’t completely comfortable after the first reading, coach them through a second one or even a third reading. Patients should leave the office (or virtual appointment) 100% confident they know how to use their new device.
Talk to the patient about how their data will be used.A tremendous benefit of RPM is that clinical staff is checking on each patient every day. Many patients (and their caregivers) find this comforting, but they don’t always understand where the data is going after they press the button. Talk to patients about how their data will be used and the benefits of looking for patterns in the data with regular readings.
Personalize an RPM schedule for the patient.Create a timeframe for readings that works for each patient. If RPM fits into their life, they are more likely to stick with the program and the regular readings. If the patient is already taking regular readings with a non-RPM device, ask them what time they take their readings. If not, ask what time they normally wake up and discuss what a good time would be to take readings based on their personal schedule.
Have the patient verbally commit to taking their readings.Rather than just telling patients to take their readings when recommended by the provider, ask them if they can commit to doing so. This subtle difference in asking them to verbalize that they will take their readings as scheduled helps patients feel a sense of responsibility and accountability.
Make sure the patient knows who to contact.If a device isn’t working or a patient has questions, make sure they know who to contact at your office. Developing ongoing two-way communication with patients is the key to success.
Follow up with a new patient THE NEXT DAY.To keep enthusiasm for RPM high, it is critical to start engaging with the patient immediately. Reach out to the patient the next day following onboarding to answer any questions and provide positive reinforcement for taking a reading. If your staff does not have time to contact every RPM patient as often as they need to based on your patients’ conditions, consider managed RPM services that can act as an extension of your own clinical staff.
Leverage your RPM vendor’s expertise.Your RPM partner should have vast experience in patient onboarding best practices. They have seen what works well and what doesn’t. Ideally, your customer success resources were at your clinic for an onboarding event, where they helped you create onboarding processes. But processes can always be improved. A good customer success team should always be available for ongoing coaching and support.
Setting Patients up for Success
RPM provides the greatest benefits for your practice and your patients when patients are regularly taking readings and engaging with care team members. The onboarding appointment sets the stage for successful patient involvement and commitment. These seven tips can help make your RPM onboarding appointments more engaging for both the patient and the care team member.
Ready to Learn More?
If you want to talk to an RPM expert about how to improve the RPM onboarding experience at your practice, please schedule a free consultation. Have general questions about RPM or Optimize Health solutions, we’d love to chat!
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