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Remote Patient Monitoring 2018
High Potential in a Shifting Landscape

October 2, 2018 | Read Time: 4  minutes

As provider organizations grapple with complex, strategic initiatives such as population health and patient engagement, a more tactical innovation is re-emerging: remote patient monitoring (RPM). RPM solutions monitor patients in-home by collecting biometric and behavioral data and alerting caregivers when intervention is needed. In this first RPM report, KLAS has partnered with the American Telemedicine Association (ATA) to examine why some organizations support little or no RPM and why others are more developed and are expanding their usage. This report also assesses the potential RPM vendors have to address the needs of patients and their healthcare providers in this shifting landscape. To validate RPM viability today, KLAS spoke with 25 organizations using seven leading RPM vendor platforms.

RPM Highly Successful at Reducing Hospital Visits

The majority of study participants are very pleased with the success of their RPM programs. Most have achieved measurable outcomes, particularly when it comes to keeping patients out of the hospital (i.e., admits, re-admits, and ER visits). Even those earliest in their RPM journeys share anecdotal victories, and only a few hesitate to call their efforts a success—not because of failure, but rather because of blurred lines between vendor monitoring and their own outreach work. Heart disease and COPD are the leading use cases, but organizations are branching out to less acute chronic diseases, such as diabetes and hypertension.

key outcomes achieved

patient conditions monitored by study participants

Impact Is Limited by Small Populations, but Steady Growth Is Predicted

Despite their success, RPM programs tend to be small in terms of concurrent patient enrollment. This is partially because many programs are relatively new, but also because individual patient participation is usually short term and new patients are constantly cycled in and out. Early RPM programs often have a very focused scope, such as reducing readmissions for a small cohort. However, having experienced success, provider organizations are planning to grow in terms of total patients and in the number of conditions covered. While some organizations look forward to the possibility of Medicare reimbursement, most say RPM justifies itself, especially in capitated and bundled payment models. KLAS spoke with a few organizations that have cancelled their RPM program because it didn’t support traditional fee-for-service revenue streams.

number of patients being monitored
projections of rpm growth by health condition

open quote icon I think we are tripping over our own feet; healthcare systems often do. We are trying to rally a midsize health system around all of the changes involved in this process, and we are trying to figure out how [our RPM solution] will affect our providers and patients. We have had great success stories and outcomes. We have some data that proves the outcomes. The ROI is extremely high. The issue is just figuring out where we should go next and how to expand our efforts.”
—Telehealth Director

Vendors Adapting to Customer Demand for Flexibility

In the past, long-time RPM vendors like Honeywell Life Care Solutions, Medtronic, and Philips focused on proprietary RPM hardware. This created an investment barrier for organizations that were financially unable to acquire and manage an inventory. Newer vendors like Health Recovery Solutions and Vivify Health entered the market as it shifted toward commercial hardware, value-added software, flexible pay-as-you-go pricing models, and vendor-managed logistics. Such options give organizations the freedom to focus on the needs of their patient populations in terms of usability/usefulness, technology availability (in the form of specific peripherals), and connectivity options (such as cellular capabilities). Long-time vendors have also moved in this direction and continue to benefit from their early reputations and existing customer relationships.

reasons vendor was selected

Frequent Upgrades Lead to Reliability Challenges

RPM technology is in its early stages and is rapidly evolving. The need to maintain connections between many different devices and locations leads customers to cite the reliability and performance of their vendor solutions as their most frequent challenge. Customers often have difficulty maintaining cellular connections or experience glitches in which peripherals fail to connect with wireless communication hubs. Such challenges are made worse by the ongoing release of product updates that customers view as not fully vetted for production environments. In addition, some organizations encounter service delays after seeking assistance to resolve such problems.

rpm challenges

Integration Is a Miss but Is Not Yet Missed

Solutions that continuously gather patient health data present a natural opportunity to ensure the automatic free flow of information to and from EMRs. Some provider organizations complain of challenges with the integration between their EMR and RPM solution, but most have little or no EMR connection at all, and many indicate that integration is not expected. Being in the early stages of their programs, they feel that EMR integration may not be a worthwhile investment until RPM has fully proven itself for the long term. Others are transitioning to a new EMR and will wait to build an interface until that is in place.

klas validated emr integration
author - Jess Wallace-Simpson
Jess Wallace-Simpson
author - Robert Ellis
Project Manager
Robert Ellis
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This material is copyrighted. Any organization gaining unauthorized access to this report will be liable to compensate KLAS for the full retail price. Please see the KLAS DATA USE POLICY for information regarding use of this report. © 2024 KLAS Research, LLC. All Rights Reserved. NOTE: Performance scores may change significantly when including newly interviewed provider organizations, especially when added to a smaller sample size like in emerging markets with a small number of live clients. The findings presented are not meant to be conclusive data for an entire client base.