RPM, or remote patient monitoring, is a care management service that allows medical practices to treat more patients at greater distances. More and more healthcare professionals are beginning to utilize RPM due to its many benefits.
If you’re considering RPM as an option for your clinic, but are still wondering about the benefits, here is an overview of what you can gain by offering RPM services.
What Is RPM?
Remote patient monitoring (RPM) is a relatively new practice that falls under the category of telehealth. Essentially, RPM uses digital technology to analyze and record patient health data for assessment and tracking. RPM gives healthcare professionals the ability to monitor their patients and track their health without having to have the patient come to the office.
While RPM is a successful and beneficial process, it’s important to understand how it differs slightly from other services.
RPM vs Telehealth
Remote patient monitoring is not the same as telehealth, but rather a subcategory of telehealth. Regarding the differences, one Medicaid resource describes telehealth as “including such technologies as telephones, facsimile machines, electronic mail systems, and remote patient monitoring devices, which are used to collect and transmit patient data for monitoring and interpretation.”
The main difference between RPM and telehealth is that RPM uses a device for direct communication and the transfer of data between patients and healthcare professionals.
RPM vs Patient Monitoring
The primary distinction between RPM and patient monitoring is where the equipment is located. Patient monitoring takes place at a healthcare facility since that is where the equipment used to monitor the patient is located.
On the other hand, RPM equipment is sent home with the patient. The equipment gathers data and transmits it to their healthcare provider. Portable devices and apps, like Aluna, help empower patients to be more actively involved in their care and give doctors more insight into their day-to-day condition.
How Does RPM Work?
RPM uses digital technologies to collect and store patient health information. Once the data is collected from patients, it is electronically transferred from one location to another so that it can be accessed and studied by medical experts.
The quick nature of this transfer of data allows healthcare providers to quickly and accurately understand the nature of their patient’s health as well as how best they can help them. This information is also available for reference and study even after a patient has been released from care, allowing for ongoing health management without the hassle of in-person appointments.
For allergy and asthma specialists, RPM is typically used to monitor FEV1% along with other data points necessary for identifying and treating patients with asthma. The collection and analysis of data also works to predict an escalation before it occurs due to the ability to view trends in data reports as they are collected over time.
Benefits Of RPM
RPM gives patients easier access to their healthcare providers and enables them to take a more active role in managing their health. This type of patient-provider relationship is extremely important in a value-based system. Here are a few other benefits of RPM.
Ability to See More Patients
The healthcare industry has been drastically impacted by the effects of COVID-19 over the last year. Not only have COVID cases surged, but non-essential appointments have also decreased due to fear of coming in contact with COVID. Patients have canceled their appointments to avoid going near healthcare facilities that could potentially be full of infected individuals.
RPM helps alleviate these concerns by offering a safer, more reliable way of treating patients from a distance. This limits the risk of exposure and has allowed more patients to make and keep appointments with their healthcare professionals.
Apart from COVID-19 concerns, RPM allows a physician to maximize office productivity. A patient’s data can be reviewed via a dashboard much faster than it would take during an appointment.
Additionally, remote patient monitoring benefits its users by decreasing expenses. Traditional, in-person visits to a healthcare facility often require the use of supplies. From gloves to sanitizers, to other standard items, the cost can quickly add up over time, costing healthcare facilities more money.
RPM doesn’t require the use of those items. Therefore, when RPM is implemented, money is saved.
Developing A Successful RPM Program
If you’re looking to start a successful RPM program, you’re not alone. Many healthcare professionals are working to incorporate RPM services.
Typically, RPM programs stem from an initiative in which the primary goal is to take the clinical burden off of the medical staff using regularly a “virtual medical office” of sorts.
Accomplishing this goal in your healthcare facility requires patient engagement. This is a crucial aspect of RPM’s success. When launching your RPM program, make sure that doctors and other healthcare workers explain to their patients the importance of taking responsibility, especially in regards to regularly taking vitals or. This is even more important when it concerns asthma management and daily spirometry.
Health clinics and other healthcare facilities can encourage patient engagement through incentives that can help keep them invested in their personal care. Explaining the benefits of the care they can receive from their own homes is a great way to get them on board with RPM.
Remote patient monitoring is one of the most effective aspects of telehealth to monitor patients and may quickly become a pillar in the field of medical care. While starting an RPM program takes time and resources, it can increase profitability.