Health Systems Benefit From Investing Heavily in Remote Patient Monitoring
When COVID-19 first hit, hospitals were not prepared to manage the number of patients who were getting sick. At Brookdale University Hospital Medical Center in New York, the ICU was at capacity, patient beds lined the hallways of the emergency department, and the morgue was overflowing. Physicians called it “a medical war zone.” As we face a growing hospital bed shortage, allowing for RPM can free up valuable and critical hospital resources to treat the most critical cases.
The U.S. has seen a significant decrease in COVID-19 cases in the hardest-hit states like New York, New Jersey, California, and Illinois, but many states are experiencing new spikes. In contrast, others haven’t seen a significant decrease in cases. These trends may continue throughout this summer and peak as schools reopen, and flu season begins.
Before the COVID-19 public health emergency, Medicare coverage of RPM services was limited to patients with one or more chronic conditions. However, as patients were being encouraged (and in some places ordered) to stay at home, physician’s need to treat patients with acute, time-limited conditions became all the more critical.
With the second wave of COVID-19 looming, clinicians are rapidly adopting and using RPM for COVID-19 in the U.S. and around the world, particularly as many payers are encouraging the use of any connected care as a substitute for in-person care.
For patients who test positive for COVID-19, home-based monitoring for an increase in symptoms can reduce the risk of transmission and target the provision of hospital-based care on a timely basis.
Case Study: Validic Impact Powering Largest RPM Program in the U.S.
Validic Impact is a remote monitoring platform that enables seamless management of remote care programs within existing clinical workflows and systems.
At a nationally renowned integrated delivery network (IDN) serving millions of lives across the country, leaders sought to deploy a remote patient monitoring (RPM) program for their most at-risk patients managing chronic conditions to deliver better care and help patients manage their health. With over 46,000 patients enrolled and 600 new patients added each week, Validic is powering the country’s largest remote monitoring program.
Validic Impact offers a single platform to manage remote care for multiple disease states – without the need for numerous vendor relationships, buying cycles, implementations, or one-off workarounds – to get remote care data operationalized within the clinical workflow and integrated into the EHR.
Ninety-two percent of physicians said the program helped them make better clinical decisions – based on ‘accurate, timely data from synced devices,’ and 88 percent said the program saved them time by ‘eliminating manual tasks.’
The solution has proven to reduce the cost and burden that lifestyle-driven chronic health conditions place on patients, providers, and caregivers by enabling early diagnosis and prevention, and proactive, personalized care management.
The Future State
Remote patient monitoring used to be a costly venture for healthcare providers. There was a high upfront cost to get devices to patients, operational costs to have care managers center around deployment, and a financial model was not in place to provide incentives for launching an RPM program. Last year, Medicare continued policy changes that allowed healthcare providers to bill for RPM services.
Further, COVID-19 forced healthcare to go virtual. Remote patient monitoring (RPM) services and telehealth became vital in care delivery efforts. Recognizing this, CMS, OCR, and the FCC threw their weight behind creating quick pathways to deployment and reimbursement. It is easier now than ever for providers to implement and use these virtual care services without previous restrictions.
RPM is going to be ubiquitous technology and a standard for patient care because of the expansion of virtual care services, the increase in chronic conditions, and the growth in the consumerization of healthcare. Healthcare providers who implement RPM technology ensure that their patients benefit from early intervention by catching blood glucose or blood pressure changes and adjusting treatment plans in real-time.
The future of healthcare requires a shift to prevention. Through routine telehealth check-ups and continuous monitoring of symptoms and overall health with RPM, preventing and treating diseases becomes much easier and less painful than curing them.
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