This information was adapted from our Remote Patient Monitoring Essentials webinar.
Launching a remote patient monitoring (RPM) program can seem like a daunting task, especially when you’re starting from scratch. However, with the right software and right team in place, implementing RPM into your existing workflows doesn’t have to be that hard.
Here are eight best practices for launching an RPM program that we’ve found to be critical to RPM success:
1. Get Organizational Buy-in
To start, when launching an RPM program, it’s important that all of your staff are aligned around what’s being rolled out, what your objectives are for the program, and what is expected of everyone who is participating. While not everyone on your team may be immediately affected, an RPM workflow can touch multiple departments – from the front office, to clinical staff, to billing. Therefore, it’s worthwhile for you to take some time to get buy-in from the beginning to ensure the smoothest implementation possible.
2. Build Your RPM Team
While your RPM program may ultimately impact multiple stakeholders in your practice, having a dedicated team responsible for the program’s success ensures you have the internal champions who will see the program through to fruition. An RPM team should include:
- A champion physician or clinical lead from each department utilizing RPM
- An operational RPM lead responsible for coordinating the mechanics of your program alongside your RPM provider
- An executive stakeholder who understands the initial objectives of your program
Your RPM vendor can help you to identify these stakeholders and empower them with the information necessary to be successful.
3. Identify Eligible Patients
When launching a program, it’s a good idea to generate a list of patients who are appropriate candidates for monitoring. Ultimately, eligibility is up to the discretion of the physician (or ordering provider) and should focus on those patients most likely to benefit from remote monitoring.
Once you’ve identified which patient populations you believe will be best suited for RPM, it’s helpful to develop a process for flagging patients that meet that criteria your staff can utilize on a go forward basis.
4. Set Clear Expectations When Onboarding New Patients
Though not complicated, patient onboarding is a multi-step process and one we spend a considerable amount of time on during our implementation with new practices. Still, the most important step remains setting clear expectations, both with the patient and with their caregiver(s) should they be present. Although more and more patients are proactively seeking technology to help them manage their health, patients across the tech literacy spectrum want to understand what remote monitoring is, how it works, how it helps them, whether or not it's secure, and what to do if they have any issues.
No matter how easy the process is for them to follow, answering these questions clearly and effectively from the start can be the difference between a successful RPM care plan and an unsuccessful one.
5. Ensure Patient Adherence Through Easy-to-Use Technology
In order for a provider to bill for 99453 and 99454, the devices provided to patients must transmit data for 16 days within a 30-day period. The more positive (and seamless) taking readings is for the patient, the more likely they are to adhere to your treatment recommendations and meet this requirement.
Beyond effective expectation setting within the onboarding process, the most critical factor to adherence is also the most straightforward: ensure patients' devices are easy-to-use. Fortunately, this has become easier as technology has advanced; many RPM-enabled devices today utilize cellular technology. This means patients can transmit data at the push of a button, without the need for an internet connection. On the other hand, Bluetooth devices that require an app can have other advantages (like giving patients more direct insight into their health data). In either case, it’s important to assign your patients devices they’re most likely to actually use and that are necessary for their condition(s).
Whatever technology you utilize, make sure your patients know where to turn if and when they have questions.
6. Dedicate the Time to Active Monitoring and Engagement
As straightforward as it may seem, this may be the hardest best practice to follow. It’s extremely important that the clinical staff viewing data, interpreting data, and interacting with your patients have the time to do so.
If your staff are already short on time and you’re concerned this may be an issue, consider partnering with an RPM provider who offers outsourced clinical monitoring services. A competent RPM partner will employ a team of clinical professionals (preferably RNs) who are well-versed in remote patient engagement, can work independently, present solutions, and maximize the efficiency of physician involvement.
7. Don’t Forget About Billing and Reimbursement
Your billing department (or billing lead) is a key part of the broader RPM team. Make sure they understand the RPM codes and the billing capabilities of your RPM software. Also, it's essential to have an RPM partner who understands the intricacies of RPM billing and can help you understand how it fits into your payer mix. The more knowledgeable they are, the more likely their software is to be easy-to-use and compliant for your billing team.
8. Invest in Program Growth and Maintenance
As with any new initiative, the “launch” is just the starting point. The more time and energy you put into program growth and maintenance, the more you’ll get out of it.
Whatever goals you set for your program initially (outcomes measures, rev cycle, etc.), share the progress with your team! This kind of information can be a motivating factor as your program is getting off the ground and helps to connect the work that you’re doing with its impact. Similarly, testimonials from patients enrolled in the program can also help to connect the dots between what you’re doing and why you’re doing it.
Last but not least, keep communicating with your RPM vendor! At Optimize Health, we’ve overseen hundreds of successful RPM programs for providers across the care continuum, and we’re always eager to share our learnings and best practices with you to help ensure your program is as successful as possible.
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