Home Is Where the Healthcare Is: Remote Patient Monitoring - Cover

Home Is Where the Healthcare Is: Remote Patient Monitoring

In 2020 when COVID-19 hit, everyone suddenly had to learn to experience life through a new lens focused heavily on one particular setting: the home. Many had to learn how to work from home, how to communicate and develop relationships from home, and how to receive healthcare from home, among other things. From a healthcare perspective, there is a focus on meeting patients where they are, and with adapting technologies, providers can have increased perspectives on patient health day to day. Though telehealth and remote patient monitoring (RPM) are not new technologies, there is a renewed energy in the space as functionality develops and demand grows—from providers, vendors, and investors. In our recent RPM report, KLAS takes a look at which features providers are looking for and which RPM solutions providers are turning to. The report also includes insights from interviewed organizations regarding their reimbursement strategies and the outcomes their RPM programs have achieved to date.

Is Remote Patient Monitoring Providing Tangible Outcomes?

For this report, we define RPM technology as any solution that acquires, transmits, or stores patient health information outside of conventional clinical care settings, most often in the patient’s home. The RPM space is growing, as is the energy around it, and organizations expect that having a trending view of patients’ health over time and having the ongoing ability to offer interventions will lead to positive outcomes.

Some data points are still early, but provider organizations are starting to see these benefits, as shown in the chart below.

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Remote Patient Monitoring Past, Present & Future

The RPM space has grown since KLAS’ last RPM report (in 2019). We have seen the development of new CPT codes to provide new ways for provider organizations to get reimbursed for RPM care. Additionally, there has been a lot of expansion when it comes to vendors and their solutions; this report alone looks at 59 vendors that providers are using or considering as part of their RPM programs, including broad, all-encompassing RPM products or more focused, best-of-breed products centered on a certain area. Consolidation continues to be a factor in many provider organizations’ purchase decisions and in many vendors’ road maps.

One relatively new area that is overlapping with RPM is CMS’ Acute Hospital Care at Home initiative, which many acute care respondents are at least considering for their organization. We expect to see increased participation in programs such as these, but whether organizations succeed with these programs will highly depend on the resources available to them.

A factor that has been important and will continue to be important in all aspects of healthcare is reimbursement. That is especially the case when it comes to RPM. The future of RPM will heavily depend on how provider organizations are able to retain profits and receive reimbursement for the care. As stated, new CPT codes specific to RPM are available, and provider organizations hope those will continue to be available.

Patient Compliance Is Key for Remote Patient Monitoring

A potential challenge to reimbursement as well as to RPM in general is patient compliance. As seen in the report and the above chart, some providers report an increase in their patient engagement overall, but as the RPM space expands, provider organizations and RPM vendors alike will have to be cognizant of patient compliance being a key component to a successful RPM program.

RPM devices are becoming more common and more easily accessible, but access to technology as well as technological literacy will vary widely among different patient populations. Both vendors and provider organizations will need to continue to keep all patients in mind in order to gain patient compliance in these programs, which can, in some cases, affect the ability to get reimbursement.

Conclusion

Though not a new space, the RPM market is continuing to grow, develop, and expand. RPM may no longer equate to just a singular device. It can be all encompassing and proactive and is linked to other areas, such as patient-provider communication, patient portals, telehealth, and other interventive and preventive methods that go along with the use of devices for at-home care. To learn more about the current data and trends around RPM, read the KLAS Remote Patient Monitoring 2022 report.




Photo Credit: zapp2photo, Adobe Stock