States are gradually opening back up all operations, but the COVID-19 pandemic is far from over. For months, practices overcame loss of revenue, dramatic capacity constraints, and reduced patient visits. Unfortunately, the reopening of states & ramping up phase doesn't mean that physicians practices should expect operations to resume as normal.
COVID-19 is here to stay for the foreseeable future. The first thought that some managers at outpatient treatment facilities have are, “It’s not a good time to consider any new programs.”
This is a completely understandable position. However, there can be substantial benefits to practices that are able to launch a remote patient monitoring program during their ramp-up phase. Even under normal circumstances, launching a successful program may not be feasible without adequate support. With the right RPM partner, launching a program during the reopening of states can be an asset to your practice.
Problems Caused by COVID-19
Practices in Seattle (where we're headquartered) and other places hardest hit by COVID-19 have reported many of the following issues, all of which have potential to be disruptive:
First, a significant number of patients are cancelling appointments that are not urgent. While this makes sense, it’s leaving a large number of people with reduced healthcare, and their conditions are not going away. At the same time, these cancellations can be taxing on the finances of the practice, both due to increased administrative costs and reduced revenues.
Second, the number of staff who are available to see patients will most likely decrease. As healthcare professionals become more and more exposed to patients carrying COVID-19, some will inevitably succumb to the virus and be forced to quarantine themselves. As a result, the remaining healthcare workers in that community will become overworked, being asked to do more with less.
Lastly, when COVID-19 hits a community, there can be a sharp increase in the number of phone calls received by the practice. This anxiety escalates as people start to realize that they know people who have tested positive, and try to seek testing for themselves and loved ones.
Reasons to Consider Remote Patient Monitoring
Given these problems, a well-designed remote care program can help to alleviate them in a several ways:
Should I consider a program now?
It’s never the perfect time to set up a new program of any type. On the one hand, preparing to deal with COVID-19 is a lot to manage for any practice, and launching a new program may seem like a distraction. On the other hand, you might not be able to afford not to. If you run or manage a medical practice you may want to ask yourself a few questions to help make the right decision:
What should I look for when evaluating RPM vendors?
The right remote patient monitoring vendor will be more than a software seller, they will be a partner. optimize.health’s client success team is run by Registered Nurses who will take responsibility for training your team and helping to manage the program. Our clinically-focused call center is staffed by RNs and is overseen by a MD. Without the right support, a remote patient monitoring program will feel like a distraction. A well-designed remote patient monitoring program can be an added resource that can help your practice survive this crisis.