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Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) – A Complete Guide by HealthArc

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In today’s fast-paced world, remote patient monitoring (RPM) has emerged as a game-changing solution for healthcare providers and patients.

By leveraging modern technology, RPM allows healthcare providers to monitor patient health remotely without needing in-person visits. This not only improves patient outcomes but also reduces healthcare costs.

HealthArc provides an in-depth look into remote patient monitoring in this complete guide. From its benefits to how it works, we cover everything you need to know about RPM.

So, let’s dive in and explore this exciting new frontier of healthcare together!

What is Remote Patient Monitoring?

Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) is a modern healthcare approach that enables patients and healthcare providers to communicate outside traditional healthcare settings.

RPM collects patient data using healthcare monitoring and tracking devices, including smartphones and tablets, which patients already use and feel comfortable using.

RPM benefits patients by allowing doctors to monitor their health remotely, enabling them to identify any potential issues and provide tailored care. RPM is particularly useful for patients who live far from healthcare providers or have limited mobility.

Overall, RPM is a patient-centered approach that empowers people to take control of their health while allowing healthcare providers to provide better treatment.

How Does Remote Patient Monitoring Work?

In the first step, the patient will be equipped with monitoring devices or sensors capable of collecting and transmitting crucial health information to their healthcare provider. These devices can come in distinct forms, such as wearable fitness trackers, blood glucose monitors, or smart scales.

Once the patient is linked to their cutting-edge devices, the sensor’s data streams into a centralized database or dashboard, like the powerful and intuitive HealthArc software platform. This enables healthcare practitioners to access and closely monitor their patient’s health status, including essential indicators such as blood pressure, heart rate, blood sugar levels, and other vital signs.

Using this comprehensive data, healthcare providers can quickly identify any changes or patterns in their patient’s health and intervene with appropriate measures. For instance, when a patient with heart disease experiences an unexpected spike in their heart rate, their physician can respond with agility and adjust their medication or treatment plan accordingly, thus preventing a more severe health problem.

RPM is especially beneficial for patients with chronic diseases who need frequent monitoring but can’t always attend in-person sessions. It also saves time and resources for healthcare professionals by eliminating unnecessary office visits and hospitalizations.

Remote Patient Monitoring is an innovative and convenient way to keep tabs on your health, with the added benefit of receiving personalized care from your healthcare provider.

Benefits Of Remote Patient Monitoring

It’s not surprising that remote patient monitoring (RPM) is becoming more popular, as we’re seeing at HealthArc because it offers many benefits to healthcare providers.

It is a convenient and effective way for healthcare professionals to monitor patients with chronic health conditions without requiring them to visit for regular checkups.

Below are some benefits of RPM for both patients and healthcare providers. Let’s check them:

Benefits of Remote Patient Monitoring for Patients

Remote patient monitoring (RPM) offers several benefits to patients, including convenience, improved access to care, better management of chronic conditions, and much more. Let’s discover them one by one:

  • Increased Convenience

RPM allows patients to receive care from the convenience of their own homes, eliminating the need to travel to healthcare facilities for routine checkups.

  • Improved Access To Care

RPM enables patients to receive regular monitoring and care, even if they live in remote areas or have mobility issues that make it challenging to visit a healthcare facility.

  • Better Management Of Chronic Conditions

RPM allows healthcare providers to closely monitor patients with chronic conditions, such as diabetes or heart disease, and make timely interventions if necessary.

  • Increased Patient Engagement

RPM often involves patients actively participating in their care by regularly tracking their health data, which can increase patient engagement and better health outcomes

  • Enhanced Safety

RPM can help identify potential health issues early on, which can prevent emergency room visits and hospitalizations.

  • Cost Savings

RPM can reduce healthcare costs by preventing costly hospitalizations and emergency room visits and enabling more efficient use of healthcare resources.

Benefits of Remote Patient Monitoring for Healthcare Providers

By using RPM, healthcare providers can monitor patients’ health status more frequently and in real-time, which allows them to detect any complications earlier and prevent hospitalizations or readmissions. Let’s discover the benefits in detail:

  • Improved patient outcomes

RPM facilitates healthcare providers to monitor patients’ health status more frequently and in real-time, allowing for earlier detection of any changes or complications. This helps to prevent hospitalizations, reduce readmissions, and improve patient outcomes.

  • Increased efficiency

RPM can help healthcare providers to manage their workload more efficiently. By remotely monitoring patients, providers can focus on patients who need it most while still providing care to patients who may not require as much attention.

  • Enhanced patient engagement

RPM allows patients to take a more active role in their own healthcare. By monitoring their health status and receiving real-time feedback from healthcare providers, patients are more engaged in their care and more likely to comply with treatment plans.

  • Better use of resources

RPM allows healthcare providers to allocate their resources more effectively. By remotely monitoring patients, providers can reduce the need for in-person visits, which frees up time and resources for other patients.

  • Improved patient satisfaction

RPM can improve patient satisfaction by providing more convenient and flexible care options. Patients can receive care from the convenience of their own homes, reducing the need for travel and wait times.

  • Enhanced data analytics

RPM generates a wealth of data that can be used to improve patient outcomes and healthcare processes. Providers can use this data to identify patterns and trends, inform treatment plans and improve the overall quality of care.

Types of Remote Patient Monitoring Devices

Remote patient monitoring devices allow healthcare providers to monitor and analyze their patients’ health conditions outside the hospital or clinic. These devices help patients to engage in self-monitoring, leading to better health outcomes.

Below are the seven most common Remote Patient Monitoring devices that help doctors, clinicians, and practitioners to provide efficient healthcare services to their patients.

  • Bluetooth Blood Pressure Cuffs

Bluetooth Blood Pressure Cuffs are handy devices that help manage hypertension, diabetes, CHF, and kidney dysfunction. They can also prevent white-coat hypertension and detect masked hypertension.

These cuffs work like the traditional ones doctors use but with the added feature of sending your blood pressure data to your doctor in real time.

This way, the doctor can monitor blood pressure remotely, saving you a trip to the clinic. Regular monitoring can help you manage your conditions better and understand your heart’s health.

  • Glucometer

A Glucometer is a simple device that measures blood sugar levels using a small drop of blood on a test strip. You can use it daily, or as your healthcare provider recommends, to monitor how things like medication, diet, exercise, and stress affect your blood sugar levels.

The device sends real-time readings to your healthcare provider, helping you manage your diabetes better. By keeping track of your blood sugar levels, you can make necessary adjustments to your treatment plan and keep your levels in a healthy range.

  • Pulse Oximeter

A pulse oximeter is a small clip placed on a person’s finger or earlobe to measure the amount of oxygen in their blood. It’s completely non-invasive and uses light to do its job.

Doctors use it to monitor people with heart or lung problems and those who might have COVID-19, pneumonia, or asthma.By monitoring a person’s blood oxygen levels, doctors can see if their lungs are working well and getting enough oxygen, which is important for people with lung problems.

  • ECG + Digital Stethoscope

Doctors use ECGs and stethoscopes to check the heart and lungs. An ECG shows the heart is working, while a stethoscope helps doctors listen to the body’s sounds.

New devices, like the Eko DUO, combine both tools and can be used at home to monitor heart and lung sounds. The readings are sent to the doctor, so they can keep track of their patients and catch any problems early.

These devices make it easier for doctors to provide personalized care and for patients to stay healthy without leaving home.

  • Wearables (Activity Tracking and Continuous Monitoring)

Wearables are devices you can wear on your body that help doctors keep track of your health.

By using wearables, doctors can understand how your daily routine affects your health and develop a better treatment plan for you, which can be helpful if you have a chronic condition that needs ongoing monitoring.

There are majorly two types of categories in wearable devices:

Activity Trackers

(like Fitbits or SmartWatches) that monitor your movement, heart rate, and sleep.

Continuous Monitoring

Devices (like patches or stickers) track heart rate, blood pressure, glucose levels, weight, and stress.

Thermometer

A thermometer measures body temperature and helps doctors understand if someone is sick.

There are different types, like a non-touch digital one that scans the forehead or a contact one that goes under the tongue.

Fevers can mean different illnesses, including COVID-19 or the flu, and a thermometer helps doctors decide how to treat their patients. Some thermometers can even send real-time temperature readings to doctors using Bluetooth technology.

Scale

Bluetooth scales connect to an app on the phone, making it easier to manage weight in people with obesity.

By tracking weight changes, people can monitor how their behaviors affect their health and help manage conditions like stroke, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and certain forms of cancer. Doctors use Bluetooth scales to intervene and help their patients.

Remote Patient Monitoring Reimbursement, CPT Codes, and Billing

CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) has issued its final regulations concerning the implementation of Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) reimbursement codes, referred to as “Remote Medical Monitoring/Treatment Management,” for the 2022 Physician Fee Schedule (PFS).

As of January 1, 2022, four new RPM codes have been activated.

CPT Code 99453 (Initial Set-Up and Monitoring)

CPT Code 99453 is a medical code that describes the initial set-up and monitoring of a patient’s vital signs using remote monitoring technology. This can include monitoring their weight, blood pressure, pulse rate, and respiratory rate.

The code covers the cost of setting up the necessary equipment and educating the patient on using them.

For healthcare providers, the reimbursement rate for this service is $19.04.

CPT Code 99454 (Continued Monitoring Over 16-Days)

CPT Code 99454 describes the ongoing monitoring of a patient’s vital signs over 16 days using remote patient monitoring (RPM) devices. These devices monitor things like blood pressure, heart rate, and weight.

When this service is provided, the RPM devices will record the patient’s vital signs daily or transmit programmed alerts to the healthcare provider.

For healthcare providers, the reimbursement rate for this service is $55.72.

CPT Code 99457 (Management Services for Initial 20 Minutes)

CPT Code 99457 describes management services that involve direct communication between healthcare professionals and their patients or caregivers. This communication can take place over audio or video call.

The healthcare professional will spend the initial 20 minutes of the call communicating with the patient or caregiver, and this time will be tracked and monitored.

For healthcare providers, the reimbursement rate for this service is $50.18.

CPT Code 99458 (Management Services for Each Additional 20 Minutes)

CPT Code 99458 is an add-on code used in addition to CPT Code 99457 for ongoing management services involving direct communication between healthcare professionals and their patients or caregivers.

This code is used when the healthcare professional spends an additional 20 minutes or more on the call after the initial 20 minutes covered by 99457.

It’s important to note that healthcare professionals cannot use Code 99458 independently. It must always be used in conjunction with CPT Code 99457.

For healthcare providers, the reimbursement rate for this service is $40.82.

CPT Code 99091 (Collection and Evaluation of Physiologic Data)

CPT Code 99091 is a code used to describe a service that involves the collection and evaluation of a patient’s physiologic data. The patient or caregiver collects this data digitally and communicates it to the physician or other qualified healthcare professional (QHCP).

The service requires a minimum of 30 minutes of data collection and evaluation every 30 days.

For healthcare providers, the reimbursement rate for this service is $56.41.

How Does Remote Patient Monitoring Billing Work?

  • Any Medicare Part B patient can utilize remote monitoring services, with 80% of the revenue going to the provider.
  • Remote patient monitoring is a monthly service that requires patients to receive at least 20 minutes of service each month for Medicare to provide payment.
  • Additionally, providers can receive reimbursement for patients’ setup, training, and daily use of RPM equipment.
  • Care management software must be compliant with HIPAA regulations to collect health data.
  • On average, providers receive $61 monthly for 20 minutes of remote patient monitoring service.
  • If patients use their RPM devices daily (on 16 unique days in every 30 days period), doctors can earn an additional $72 monthly.
  • RPM services can be billed by physicians and non-physician practitioners eligible to provide evaluation and management services (E/M).

Suggestions for Billing Remote Patient Monitoring

To bill for remote patient monitoring, you must calculate the time spent with each patient every month. Before billing, make sure to keep in mind the following guidelines:

  • Verify that you have met CMS standards for each patient every month.
  • Submit claims to CMS every month.
  • Invoice patients who receive CCM services every month.
  • Check that no conflicting codes are being billed.
  • Ensure that all data is wirelessly synced and accessible.
  • Data monitoring should be done by a qualified healthcare professional or clinical staff at a single healthcare facility.
  • Determine the estimated delivery and rental charges for devices and equipment for 16 days, and ensure that patients know how to opt-in to the service.

Things to Keep in Mind While Choosing Remote Patient Monitoring Vendor

Healthcare is changing, and the focus is now on providing better care that is continuous, proactive, and a mix of in-clinic and remote.

Remote patient monitoring (RPM) is a great way to ensure people with chronic conditions get the ongoing care they need.

RPM uses technology like connected health devices to collect patient data and send it securely to their doctors. Studies show that patients and doctors like using RPM.

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to more adoption of RPM devices and platforms. Experts think that health insurance will cover RPM even after the pandemic ends. Many different RPM options are available, so it’s crucial to find the right one for you. Here are six important questions to figure out when choosing an RPM solution:

  1. What conditions does the RPM solution support?It’s important to find an RPM solution that can address all comorbidities and be expanded easily to other use cases.
  2. Is the RPM data easily understandable and actionable?
    The right RPM solution will provide clinicians with specific, actionable, and personalized information to provide the best care to their patients.
  3. Does the RPM solution integrate with your EMR?
    Look for an RPM solution that integrates directly with your EMR to make your workflow more efficient.
  4. What does the patient-facing technology look like?
    Find an RPM solution that uses secure, cellular-enabled devices to transmit data without complicated syncing and pairing.
  5. What is your support model and approach?
    Make sure you have a plan for technical support and clinician support, as well as for patients when they have device issues.
  6. Are you interested in knitting, reverse logistics, and managed services?
    If you plan to use RPM for hundreds or thousands of patients, you must consider who will kit, store, supply, and deliver the RPM kits and devices. You’ll also need a plan for patient education and disposing of devices when they’re no longer needed.

Future of Remote Patient Monitoring: Trends and Innovations

Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) has become increasingly popular in healthcare even before the Covid-19 pandemic. However, the pandemic has propelled RPM into the spotlight by highlighting its effectiveness in delivering care while keeping patients safe from infections.

Even after the pandemic, virtual care will continue to be in demand. In fact, virtualizing healthcare could save up to $250 billion. RPM, along with the use of AI, can also reduce errors and improve communication between doctors and patients.

This is important because poor communication skills can lead to reduced medication adherence, and chronic conditions such as heart disease and diabetes account for up to 75% of all deaths in the US.

The good news is that the RPM market is growing rapidly and is projected to reach $117.1 billion by 2025. This is due to the increasing availability of healthcare devices and patients’ willingness to share information.

Shortly, data analysis, AI, and machine learning will help automate repetitive tasks for healthcare workers, allowing them to focus on what matters: providing care where it is most needed.

Generate Healthy Additional Revenues with HealthArc

In conclusion, we hope that this ultimate guide to Remote Patient Monitoring has been informative and helpful in understanding the benefits and applications of this revolutionary healthcare practice.

At HealthArc, we believe that Remote Patient Monitoring is the future of healthcare. We are dedicated to providing healthcare practitioners with the tools they need to deliver the best possible care for their patients. With our healthcare software platform, practitioners can seamlessly integrate Remote Patient Monitoring into their practice and improve patient outcomes while reducing costs.

So, what are you waiting for? Start using HealthArc today and join the revolution in healthcare!