Accessing a patient’s key health metrics remotely was something few healthcare providers could envision just a few decades ago. Today, this technology is readily available, with medical-grade health devices collecting and securely transmitting patient health data directly to physicians. Remote patient monitoring (RPM) programs offer many benefits for both patients and healthcare providers. Let’s explore how this technology can provide higher-quality care for patients while improving the profitability and sustainability of medical practices. We’ll also share a quick checklist you can use to decide if starting a remote patient monitoring program is the right choice for your patients and practice.
How a Remote Patient Monitoring Program Benefits Patients
Connected health devices can be used to monitor important health stats like blood pressure, heart rate, weight, sleep patterns, and more. Many patients get a lot out of participating in a remote patient monitoring program, including those who are managing chronic conditions (i.e. diabetes, hypertension), going through post-op recovery, or who live in a rural community or lack access to reliable transportation. Here are six specific ways RPM programs benefit patients.
Higher levels of patient engagement
One of the most important factors in improving patient health outcomes is engagement. Patients who are actively engaged in their own care are more likely to proactively engage with their healthcare providers and take charge of adjusting lifestyle factors that may be impacting their overall health. Remote patient monitoring technology puts actionable health information within easy reach, allowing patients and their care providers to view both current health metrics as well as trends over time.
Greater patient ownership of health outcomes
Remote patient monitoring connects patients with their own health metrics, allowing them to play a greater role in monitoring their health. Health data is displayed on an intuitive app that allows patients to track progress over time. Easy access to health data empowers patients to see how they can improve their health by adjusting lifestyle factors within their control.
Improved access to care
Patients may face many barriers when it comes to accessing medical care. Long commutes, work and childcare obligations, and a lack of reliable transportation are just a few of the roadblocks to overcome. And in rural communities, the closest provider may be hundreds of miles away. Remote patient monitoring technologies can be used as part of a holistic health program to offer more convenient care when and where patients need it.
Additional data to better inform treatment and early detection of health conditions
In-person visits provide just a snapshot in time of key health metrics like weight, heart rate, and blood pressure, and because these measurements are taken infrequently and in an abnormal environment, these measurements may paint an inaccurate picture of a patient’s health. Remote patient monitoring devices, in contrast, can collect readings much more frequently and can be set to alert providers when numbers indicate the presence of health issues that require urgent attention.
Reduced patient cost for monitoring chronic health conditions
Actively monitoring chronic health conditions can place a significant logistical and financial burden on patients who must make frequent visits to their healthcare providers, since these visits require time off of work as well as transportation-related expenses. Participating in a remote patient monitoring program enables physicians to collect key health data remotely, potentially reducing the number of required in-person visits.
Improved quality of care
Remote patient monitoring can result in significant improvements in the quality of care that patients receive. As noted above, it provides a valuable source of additional health data for providers, leading to more informed care. More frequent readings can enable earlier detection of critical health issues that require timely intervention, and can help physicians catch deteriorating conditions before they become problematic. They also provide a more holistic view of a patient’s health. Additionally, when patients have immediate access to their own health data they can be more motivated to make important lifestyle changes and take a more active role in their health outcomes.
How a Remote Patient Monitoring Program Benefits Primary Care Practices
Launching a remote patient monitoring program can unlock a host of benefits for primary medical practices. For providers seeking to improve the quality of patient care, boost revenue, and remain competitive, offering remote patient monitoring can help accomplish these goals.
Improved quality of care and patient oversight
Remote patient monitoring technologies measure health metrics with much greater frequency than in-office visits and allow healthcare professionals the ability to spot sudden changes that may require time-sensitive intervention. For example, with an RPM program, physicians can track weight as part of fluid management in patients with CHF.
Tracking patient health trends over time provides physicians and other healthcare professionals with valuable trend data that can be used to better manage patient care. For example, providers can more easily see how a chronic illness has progressed over time with a quick glance at a data chart.
Opportunities to expand the patient base
Now that remote patient monitoring technologies have matured, patients are starting to recognize the value and convenience of enrolling in one of these programs. The proliferation of wearable technology, such as the ScanWatch, has contributed. Establishing a robust remote patient monitoring program in your practice can attract new patients eager for the advantages it can provide.
Increased patient satisfaction
Remote patient monitoring programs result in happier patients. That’s no surprise. This technology enables patients to avoid unnecessary office visits, spend more time at work or home, and access their own health data with a few clicks of a mobile app. Research backs up this assertion. A 2021 study found that 91% of post-discharge COVID-19 patients monitored remotely using a pulse oximeter would recommend it to others.
Improved profitability for the practice
Remote patient monitoring can result in more efficient workflows, boosting the productivity of office staff and healthcare providers and enabling more patients access to care. RPM programs include several billable services reimbursable by Medicare and private insurers.
Checklist to Identify if an RPM Program Is Right for Your Practice
Although remote patient monitoring programs have a lot to offer, some patients and medical practices will benefit from them more than others. Here are a few important questions to ask when deciding if launching a remote patient monitoring program is the right move for your practice.
- Would your current patients benefit from this technology?
- Do a significant number of your patients have chronic health conditions such as hypertension, heart failure, COPD, or diabetes?
- Do a significant number of your patients have health conditions requiring short-term monitoring such as those recovering from an acute condition like severe illness, injury, or a recent hospitalization?
- Do some of your patients struggle to keep frequent in-person visits due to living in remote locations, lack of transportation, or schedule conflicts due to work or primary caregiver obligations?
- Is your practice eager to expand billable services and take on additional patients?
- Do you have adequate buy-in from office staff and physicians?
Withings Health Solutions Makes Starting an RPM Program Simple
Starting a remote patient monitoring program from scratch can feel like a daunting task. That’s why partnering with the right remote patient monitoring provider is so important. Every healthcare provider has been through the pain of technical integrations that take far more time and money than planned. Withings Health Solutions understands the challenges, and we know that everyone has different needs and processes. This is why we offer carefully designed data connection solutions for devices and RPM. During program setup, Withings Health Solutions handles all the onboarding and manages support, freeing your team to focus on patients, not managing tech.
With over a decade of industry experience, Withings Health Solutions offers medical-grade devices that feature intuitive designs that encourage high user adoption and retention rates, including a sleep tracking mat, remote blood pressure cuff, and smart scale. Our patient-facing Health Mate mobile app puts health data within easy reach, displaying it in a way that’s personalized and easy to understand. Our physician data dashboard offers intuitive, continuous access to all your patients’ critical health data in near-real time so you can provide better care to your patients. When you’re ready to launch your remote patient monitoring program, we’re ready to help.
Learn more about Withings Health Solutions for remote patient monitoring.