This information was adapted from our Remote Patient Monitoring Essentials webinar. Updated June 2022.
As remote patient monitoring (RPM) has grown in popularity, so has the number of RPM solutions available to healthcare providers. However, not all RPM solutions are created equal. Some only offer software while others offer a complete outsourced solution. And another group of companies provides a range of services that allows you to build a solution that works for your practice.
We recommend you take the time to understand your goals and then be prepared to ask RPM companies how they can meet those goals.
Understand Your Why
Before you choose an RPM solution, you want to look internally to understand why you want to establish an RPM program. Furthermore, you need to have internal alignment on these goals.
What are your clinical goals? Which segments of your patient population will benefit from RPM?
While there are numerous applications of RPM, most practices use RPM to monitor patients with chronic conditions. Studies have demonstrated that remote monitoring programs can lower blood pressure, improve A1C, reduce hospitalizations and ED visits, increase patient engagement with their own healthcare, and improve quality of life. Using your EHR to identify patients that are most likely to benefit from RPM can help you start planning for an effective launch.
What are your financial goals?
With practices facing increasing costs for staff and supplies, the additional reimbursement from RPM can be critical to a practice’s financial health. Including your finance and billing teams early in the RPM selection process and ensuring everyone understands the RPM billing requirements can increase the financial success of your RPM program.
Do you have the internal resources needed to staff RPM?
Onboarding and monitoring patients requires practice resources. In our experience, one full-time dedicated clinical staff member can monitor between 150 – 200 patients. This can vary with patient acuity and staff experience, but should enable your care team members to bill the 99457 CPT® code for 20-minutes of engagement time for most patients.
Patient onboarding also requires staff time (does not have to be clinical) to schedule appointments, coordinate consent, and conduct onboarding, including patient education.
If staff capacity is a concern, you should look at RPM solutions that offer additional services such as direct patient onboarding and clinical monitoring services.
Have you identified your RPM leads?
In our experience, the most successful RPM programs have at least one dedicated clinical and one operational lead on their RPM team. Having these committed resources can help facilitate a successful launch as well as ensure ongoing growth.
When do you want to launch?
If you have patients identified and staff (internal or outsourced) available, make sure your RPM partner provides implementation support as well as client success resources. A strong RPM partner should help you build a success plan before you sign a contract that outlines realistic timelines and required resources.
Four Key Factors for Choosing Your RPM Partner
Once your team is aligned on why you want to start an RPM program, you can find the right solution. Here are four key factors to evaluate when choosing an RPM vendor:
1. Patient Adherence and Engagement
Patient engagement and adherence are critical to a successful RPM program. If patients aren’t engaged with the program, they likely won’t take regular readings or pick up the phone when your monitoring team calls. This reduces the opportunity to provide preventative care, drive patient education, and improve clinical outcomes. It also makes it difficult for you to meet the requirements to bill the RPM CPT ® codes.
Your RPM solution should be designed with adherence in mind. Engagement best practices include:
- Staff training on how to talk to patients about RPM and set proper expectations at the onboarding appointments
- Cellular and Bluetooth device options, so patients can use technology they’re comfortable using regardless of their tech literacy
- A platform that makes it easy to track engagement and enables multiple forms of communication, including video, phone, and SMS
- Automatic reminders that are configured to fit each patient’s schedule and encourage them to take regular readings
2. Ease of Use for Staff
When selecting an RPM solution, consider all the workflows your team will need to learn, including clinical, administrative, and technology-based. The easier these workflows are, the more your staff will want to use them. When watching an RPM demo, make sure you understand exactly how your staff will use it on a day-to-day basis.
Beyond general simplicity and ease-of-use, you’ll also want to look for:
- How the platform automates tasks like time-tracking and patient alerts
- How staff will triage patients and manage the daily monitoring workload
- Built-in patient communication tools
- Ability to integrate with your EHR
- How to data is compiled to facilitate easy billing, i.e., which patients have met the requirements for each CPT® code
3. Client Success
Great remote patient monitoring (RPM) programs don’t just happen, even with the best software and technology. The Client Success team at your RPM partner will be critical to helping you launch, maintain, and grow your program. Most companies will provide client service to reactively answer questions, troubleshoot the software, and help you order devices. But true Client Success is fundamentally different from customer support or customer service.
A strong client success team will start with a success plan before you sign. They will provide implementation experts that help you quickly ramp your program with a well-planned and executed onboarding event. An onboarding event - dedicating rooms and staff to RPM appointments for one or more days - also provides a great opportunity for your staff to learn all things RPM.
Your client success manager should proactively share data with you before you have questions or concerns. They are regularly scheduling business reviews to look at your RPM patient growth as well as patient engagement metrics.
4. Optional Services to Customize your RPM Solution
We believe the best RPM solutions are configured for your needs. Some practices have the capacity and resources to manage many RPM processes on their own with the right training and software. Other practices are resource-constrained and need to outsource some of the more labor-intensive elements of RPM. We recommend evaluating each RPM company on what services are automatically included and which are optional based on your needs.
Services to consider include:
- EHR Integration: Which EHRs, one-way or two-way syncing of data, how does it work?
- Eligibility Verification: Commercial and/or Medicaid, how does it work, how does your team share patient data?
- Onboarding: Does the RPM company provide a direct or remote onboarding service? How do they identify, contact, and onboard patients?
- Monitoring: Does the RPM company provide an outsourced monitoring option?
A good RPM partner will help you determine which RPM program makes sense for you. A great RPM partner will help you determine which RPM program and services make sense for you now and in the future as your program and patient population grow.
To learn more about your practice can improve patient care with RPM, schedule a free consultation with one of our RPM experts.
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