Remote Patient Monitoring
Hi, I’m Ayasha Thomason, and it’s just me today, Heather’s on the road. So, today I wanted to talk a little bit about remote patient monitoring. Remote patient monitoring is the use of digital technology to monitor and capture medical and other healthcare data. We take it from patients and electronically transmit it to health care providers via either your EHR system or the company that you’re using system to inform healthcare providers when there’s a change in the patient status. What that allows you to do is to track healthcare data for patients and it encourages patients to take more control over their own health.
Remote patient monitoring is actually wearable devices that the patient uses or that the facility staff uses for that specific patient to gather data so that data can be individualized. So let’s say you have a patient who has hypertension. So the patient has a wearable cuff, blood pressure cuff that is scheduled to take the patient’s blood pressure every certain period of time that you program it to do that. Then that data is then electronically sent back to the health care provider for evaluation.
There’s benefits for healthcare providers and there’s benefits, obviously, for the patients using this technology and benefits to the facilities that use them. The top three benefits for a remote patient monitoring, as cited by patients in a study that was recently done, is that it provides detailed health information that’s personalized to the patient so the patient can see their own health data. They own their own health data.
They also stated that they had faster access to health care services. Once that data is transmitted, if there’s something that the healthcare provider needs to know, they can that information triggers the health care professional and then they have a visit as a follow up from that. Because they can see it, it allows them to maybe do more about it and maybe change their lifestyles and maybe do something a little more healthy because they can actually see that data.
Healthcare providers in the same study also noted that they saw improved patient outcomes, improved compliance rates, and that kind of goes back to the patients owning their own data and wanting to do more about it. So improved compliance, and then patients taking more ownership of their health, obviously.
The biggest benefit of remote patient monitoring is now CMS has recognized it and actually provided CPT codes for it. It is actually covered by Medicare and other growing health insurance companies. I have this article that Oshner has done because they actually started a program in 2015, and they’ve added different disease processes to their system using remote patient monitoring.
For instance, Oshner started using it in 2017 and used it for diabetes management. They monitor blood sugars of their patients, and then they did hypertension and then they did cholesterol and COPD management. What they have noted is that they’re able to actually send patients home and have better outcomes at home because they can also monitor these patients there. And that it dramatically decreases readmission rates.
What’s been shown in some of the early literature is that there is a 50% reduction in hospital rates, and that’s for diabetic patients, and then there is a hundred percent reduction in congestive heart failure readmissions. This is a good one. 66% percent reduction in hospitalizations due to atrial arrhythmia and related strokes and then a 27% reduction in all case mortality over three years for pacemaker patients.
There’s lots of cool data, and this is relatively new. It’s only been around for five or so years, and of course, the use of it escalated during the pandemic. Now CMS is recognizing the benefits of it because we used it during the pandemic. So now they’re paying for these services.
Another great thing about remote patient monitoring is that family members who are really involved with their loved ones care will have access to this data and real time access to it, so they can be more involved in the residents health plan and their lifestyle modifications if need be. In addition to just monitoring different vital signs and blood glucose monitoring, weight management, some different things that we’re pretty used to monitoring, we are also looking at using some wearable devices to monitor patients behaviors. This is becoming something that is going to be really helpful for monitoring those patients with dementia, those patients with changes in behaviors that we can catch earlier so that we can reduce issues such as falls that occur due to patients wandering at night.
If you’re concerned about what a wearable device is, most often it’s just like a Fit-bit or like a wearable bracelet. I am really excited about this program, and stay tuned for updates as we implement this process in some of our senior living communities.