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4 Key Factors to Consider When Choosing an RPM Vendor

Crystal Kaiser
Aug 5, 2021 8:00:00 AM

This information was adapted from our recent Remote Patient Monitoring Essentials webinar.

As Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) has grown in popularity, so too has the number of RPM vendors available to healthcare providers. However, not all RPM vendors are created equal. Like any investment, choosing the right one takes a great deal of careful thought and research. To find the RPM vendor that best meets the needs of your patients and your team, consider these questions to ask yourself and the companies you’re evaluating.

Before You Begin: Understand Your Why

Before you start the search for an external partner, you want to look internally to understand why you want to establish an RPM program. Furthermore, you want to be sure you have internal alignment on these motivating reasons. You may not have all the answers right now, and that’s okay. However, you may find it helpful to consider the following questions:

What are your clinical objectives for implementing RPM? What specific patient segments are you looking to treat through a program?

The most common application of remote monitoring is treatment for patients with chronic conditions—studies have demonstrated that remote monitoring programs can improve chronic condition management with regular, ongoing measurement of physiologic data, feedback, and communication. There are, however, a number of other applications for remote monitoring, including acute care, behavioral health, respiratory therapy, medication adherence, and more.

Think about your existing patient population—identify the patients you believe are most likely to benefit from your initial rollout of RPM; though this data is often already top of mind for many practitioners, your EHR can be used as a source to help you determine what your initial eligible patient volume might look like.

How will monitoring impact your rev cycle?

Many providers see RPM as a means of increasing engagement with their existing patient population and as a way to scale the number of patients they are able to efficiently and effectively treat. While any new service line comes with costs, most practices are able to improve revenue cycle management through RPM.

By looping in your finance and billing teams early on in the RPM selection process and making certain everyone is fully aligned with the rules and requirements pertaining to RPM billing and coding, you increase the likelihood of successfully realizing the financial value that RPM facilitates.

What patient monitoring capacity do your internal resources allow for?

We’ve found that, on average, one full-time employee (FTE) can typically manage 150 to 250 patients per month, assuming they are engaging for 20 minutes or more (this number can vary greatly depending on patient population and acuity). Monitoring staff must be designated as clinical staff. How many FTEs do you currently have available to perform monitoring, and if you don’t have the current resources, are you able to get them?

If staffing capacity is a concern, you may want to consider only looking at RPM providers who are able to offer outsourced clinical monitoring services that can integrate into your existing workflows.

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 smooth transition and successful launch. Determine who on your team would be best suited for these important tasks.

What are your launch dates expectations?

How far in the future you’ll be ready to launch an RPM program will depend greatly on your answers to the resource questions above. If you have patients you know would be ready to start monitoring today, make sure you’re prepared to dive into implementation with a partner well-versed in getting programs launched quickly who can hold you accountable to deadlines on your end.

Four Key Factors for Choosing Your RPM Partner

Once you’ve clarified why you want to start an RPM program, and reached internal alignment within your own team, you can start your search for the right partner. Here are four key factors we recommend evaluating 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 might not be taking regular measurements, reducing the clinical efficacy of monitoring. Patients must also submit readings for a minimum of 16 days in a 30-day period in order for you to be reimbursed for CPT® codes 99453 and 99454, which reimburse for patient set-up and education and the devices you supply to your patients.

To ensure continued engagement, it’s important your partner has designed their monitoring program with adherence in mind and has the track record to prove it. Some best practices here include:

  • The ability to offer both cellular and Bluetooth devices, which means patients are able to use technology they’re comfortable using regardless of their tech literacy
  • Facilitating multiple, two-way methods of communication, including video, phone, and SMS
  • Built-in reminders that automatically encourage patients to take regular measurements
  • Easy-to-understand patient education made available in multiple languages

2. Ease of Use for Staff

When selecting an RPM vendor, consider all the workflows your team will need to follow to use their system: clinical, administrative, and technology-based. The easier these workflows are to use and to learn, the more successful your staff adoption will be. When demoing an RPM platform, have the vendor walk you through the specific steps your team will follow when using their product.

Beyond the general look-and-feel and usability, you’ll also want to look for:

  • Credentialing and security across user roles
  • Which automations are built-in for staff (time tracking, reminders, reading alerts
  • Patient communication tools
  • Interoperability and the ability to integrate with your EHR

3. Customer Support

Your RPM partner should provide ongoing training, from onboarding onward. In addition to being available to answer your questions or help you troubleshoot, a high-touch client success team that meets with you regularly will help you to optimize every part of your remote monitoring operation to achieve (and hopefully exceed) your clinical and financial goals. They can also customize a solution that best helps you address or fill any staffing gaps that might exist on your own RPM team.

4. Regulatory Compliance

Given the pace of change in remote care regulations, it can be difficult to keep up with every new revision to CMS guidelines. Simply put, you need a partner that is well-versed in regulatory requirements and software that makes it easy for you to track time, generate billing reports, and provide an audit trail should one ever be needed.

Quality Matters

Choosing the right RPM program might seem like a daunting task. It can be tempting to simply choose the least expensive option. However, it’s wise to take time to research which ones will work best for you and your patients. Their ability to deliver on patient engagement, usability, customer support, and regulatory compliance will have a big impact on your RPM experience.

If you’d like to learn more about the complete Optimize Health solution, request a demo to see how our RPM platform can help you level up your approach to patient care.

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