Benefits of RPM for Healthcare Practitioners
Remote patient monitoring (RPM) is one the fastest growing “health tech” collaborations, bringing numerous benefits for both patients, healthcare providers, and the overall healthcare system.
The benefits of adopting remote patient monitoring for healthcare providers include:
- Increased Revenue Streams
- Improved Doctor + Patient Relationship
- Fewer Hospital Stays
- Reduced Burden on Healthcare System
- Better Quality of Care
- Supporting Patient-Centered Care
We’ll assume that by landing on this page you’re already familiar with the concept of remote patient monitoring.
If not, take a look at a couple of our related posts, What Vital Signs are Tracked with RPM and What are the Benefits of RPM for Patients.
So, let’s get into these 6 benefits and explore them in more depth.
Benefit 1 – Increased Revenue Streams
Healthcare practitioners can increase their revenue streams in 2 ways:
- Increased revenue through CPT code reimbursement
- Reduced healthcare expenditure
Reimbursement using CPT codes
Even though there had been a growing demand for RPM in recent years, the Center for Medical Services (CMS) didn’t make it easy for healthcare providers to manage or get paid for the RPM service which they were providing.
That changed in January 2020 with the introduction of 3 new RPM-related reimbursement codes.
A full review of these codes is beyond the scope of this post, so we’ll take a look at 4 of the main codes used for reimbursement.
|CPT Code||Requirements||Average Medicare Reimbursement Rate|
|99453||Remote monitoring of physiologic metrics. Initial set-up and patient education of monitoring equipment||$21*|
|99454||Device supply with daily recording or transmissions every 30 days||$69*|
|99457||First 20 minutes of interactive communication + treatment with the patient/caregiver each month||$54*|
|99458||Additional 20 minutes of RPM consultation||*Same as #99457|
*Average reimbursement rate source – Samsung Insights
Under these codes, Medicare pays for:
- the device
- the initial setup
- patient training
- ongoing monitoring of patient data.
Based on these reimbursement rates, healthcare providers can earn nearly $1,500 per year for monitoring one patient.
Reduction in Healthcare Expenditure
As patients’ health is managed on a continual basis, there should be a subsequent reduction in the number of hospitalizations and thereby a cost in administering in-patients.
Further reductions can be realized with a decrease in the number of hospital readmissions linked to chronic conditions, as patients are monitored through RPM.
Rishikesh Mandilwa, a Managing Analyst at GBI Research and co-author of a report on telehealth global market trends said, “it could achieve substantial savings for a number of reasons, including the reduction of readmissions linked to chronic conditions through mobile health monitoring technologies, a decrease in unnecessary use of emergency appointments through remote visits with nurses, and a lower amount of wasted capacity”
The Veterans Health Administration, a pioneer in this area, found that these solutions can reduce hospitalizations by as much as 40 percent for some diseases, and realize annual savings of $6,500 per patient. Overall, it’s estimated that widespread adoption of remote patient monitoring could save the U.S. as much as $6 billion annually.
Benefit 2 – Improved Relationships with Doctors
As healthcare providers are expected to have a minimum 20 minutes of communication with their patients each month, it fosters an improved doctor-patient relationship.
Increased communication between doctors and patients helps to build trust and this can increase the likelihood of patients sticking to their good habits and staying on track with their health plans.
Benefit 3 – Reduced Hospital Stays
An interesting fact reported by the CDC is that 1 in 31 hospital patients has at least one healthcare-associated infection.
Remote patient monitoring allows doctors to receive accurate, real-time data, allowing them to provide better assistance and recommendations.
Unlike traditional clinic visits where patients are often asked about how they feel or their symptoms, with RPM doctors are getting reliable information to work with.
And patients get these recommendations from the comfort of their own home, thereby reducing the risk of picking up an infection while in hospital.
Benefit 4 – Reduced Burden on Healthcare Systems
With 6/10 adults in the US suffering from chronic health conditions, it’s easy to imagine the strain being placed on the overall healthcare system.
The average waiting time in ER in 2017 was 40 minutes, with more than 22 million ER visits — over 16 percent of all visits — involved more than an hour of waiting in 2017.
But are all visits to the ER necessary? Perhaps not.
A 2017 study surveyed 1,100 patients who had been triaged at the UCLA emergency department. None of the patients had symptoms that had resulted in immediate care, and none were in severe pain or distress.
Out of this, 59 percent said they’d have been willing to see a doctor in a clinic instead.
RPM helps to promote better self-care and encourage a healthier lifestyle, which helps to keep patients out of ERs and hospitals.
Less Crowded Waiting Rooms
As more patients are empowered to take control of their own health, the number of visits to clinics and ER should be reduced.
This means that the people who are in the ER are the more serious cases and those who need immediate and swift action and support.
Nobody likes sitting around in hospital waiting rooms, and by reducing the number of patients in the ER we should also see a reduction in waiting times and an improvement in the level of service provided.
And waiting rooms become less crowded, doctors should have time freed up to focus on other patients who need attention.
Benefit 5 – Better Quality of Care
Ultimately, doctors are in the game to provide a quality of care that enables better health outcomes.
With RPM, providers can receive more data about how their patients are doing, which offers them the opportunity to provide feedback where they may not otherwise have done so.
This is highly relevant for people who may have to travel considerable distances to see a doctor, or for patients who have difficulty traveling due to their condition.
That’s why people work as doctors – to help people.
Benefit 6 – Supporting Patient-Centered Care
Patient-centered care requires patients to actively participate in their own medical treatment in close cooperation with health professionals – a core principle of remote patient monitoring.
The emphasis on maintaining patient health through preventive care supports value-based care, which is another component of patient-centered care and is an increasingly accepted model.
While the primary goal of any patient-centered care plan is to improve individual health outcomes, healthcare providers also stand to benefit through improved patient satisfaction scores, higher staff productivity and morale, reductions in the overall cost of care, and more
Remote patient monitoring offers a way for healthcare practitioners to provide better quality and more efficient care for patients while increasing revenues and lowering the cost of healthcare at the same time.
This results in improved outcomes, better patient experience, and improved financial performance.
It’s not always possible for doctors to be there for patients, but with remote patient monitoring, they can be.