5 Tips To Increase Patient Engagement in Remote Patient Monitoring
5 Tips To Increase Patient Engagement in Remote Patient Monitoring Blog Feature
Russ Godek

By: Russ Godek on July 30th, 2020

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5 Tips To Increase Patient Engagement in Remote Patient Monitoring

You’ve decided that a Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) program is right for your practice. You’ve developed a plan for implementing the program.

Now what?

You’ll need to recruit patients for your program. Patient engagement is a critical consideration during the recruitment process that you should focus on.

Ultimately, the success of your RPM program will heavily depend on the level of patient engagement.

During the recruitment process, there are tips you can leverage to ensure your patients stay engaged with your RPM program and your practice maximizes reimbursement revenues and patient health outcomes.

These tips are a collection of best practices we’ve developed from working with over 400 healthcare practices across the country. Many of our customers have implemented successful RPM programs with high levels of patient engagement.

Our goal is to make your healthcare practice our next success story.

Below we’ll explain why patient engagement impacts success and cover five essential tips to increase patient engagement in your RPM program.

Why Patient Engagement Matters

As we stated above, patient engagement is critical to an RPM program’s success. But why?

Two major factors influence patient engagement: how easy the technology is for patients to use and how useful the technology is in improving health.

A 2019 study explored the importance of patient engagement on the health outcomes of diabetes patients. The results showed higher levels of patient activation and engagement with remote patient monitoring technology were associated with better glycemic control outcomes.

While this study was focused solely on diabetes patients, the success stories of various practices prove the importance of patient engagement.

After all, if patients are not using the RPM devices supplied to them, your practice will be hard-pressed to sustain your program.

So, how do you engage patients in an RPM program?

As we stated, the technology must be easy for patients to use. Most Medicare patients are elderly and thus limiting the learning curve of the technology is crucial.

Secondly, the technology must work. Patients should be able to use the technology, see their results, and track improvements in their health over time.

Finally, it helps greatly if patients take an active role in the care process.

Use the following five tips to increase patient engagement.

1) Get Leadership and Staff Buy-In

Leadership’s buy-in is the most important part of increasing patient engagement. If the leadership of your practice doesn’t buy into your RPM program, you’ll have a difficult time getting patients to do so.

Implementing an RPM program is a substantial endeavor that will take time, resources, and patience.

Leadership has the power to change behavior and the culture within their organization, and their support matters significantly, especially during the implementation process.

Physicians should be included as part of that leadership; look to have the physician sign off before moving forward.

After you get the leadership’s support, you must then get the entire staff’s support. The staff will perhaps see the most significant changes in day-to-day operations, as their workflows will be altered.

New processes, technology, and regulations will have to be learned. Some staff may have to take on additional duties or responsibilities different from what they’ve grown accustomed to.

Ideally, you would want the following roles filled within your practice:

  • A program compliance champion - someone who thoroughly knows and understands the rules and regulations of Medicare care management programs.
  • A clinical workflow champion - someone who knows how to effectively leverage these programs to fit within your practice.
  • A care manager - someone who will be caring for the patients within the program; they will lead the charge on proactively engaging with patients.

If your practice is smaller, one person may fill all these roles. For example, your care manager may also have a strong understanding of the Medicare programs and the clinical workflows needed to maximize value.

Having leadership and staff understand these challenges and being patient and supportive will make or break the program’s success.

2) Develop A Strategy Based Upon Patient Motivations

Not all patients are created equal when it comes to engagement. Your practice will have a variety of patients - some very involved in their health and some not so involved.

Understanding your patient population and adapting your RPM recruitment process to each patient can go a long way towards increasing engagement.

If you’re a smaller practice, you should have a general idea of which patients are more actively engaged in their health already. These patients would be more likely to be open to enrolling in your RPM program.

One good method to identify strong candidates for RPM programs is to look at the patient’s history.

Have they visited your office frequently for checkups? Do they adhere to medication guidelines? Are they easy to deal with?

You should also try to examine patient motivations. Some patients will be interested in improving their health, others may see value in the time or cost savings afforded through RPM.

When recruiting for patient enrollment, feel free to test various messaging and value propositions if you’re unsure about the patient’s motivations.

If patients decline to enroll, ask why, and use their feedback to modify your messaging.

3) Focus on High-Risk, High-Cost Patients

Now that we’ve discussed the importance of knowing your patient population and their motivations, we can talk about one of the most important groups to target first: high-risk, high-cost patients.

RPM involves the remote transmission of patient data instantaneously to doctors, avoiding the need for patients to come to the clinic in person.

This can be vitally important for high-risk patients, as stepping foot inside clinics with sick patients in them could put them in a vulnerable position.

Furthermore, many high-risk patients require near-constant management of their care.

RPM programs allow these patients to obtain the care they require without the time and costs associated with frequent office visits.

Because these patients stand to gain the most from enrollment in an RPM program, it will be much easier to keep them actively engaged in the program and their continued care.

4) Create Scripts For Patient Recruitment

As we’ve seen, the recruitment process plays a big part in securing future patient engagement within an RPM program.

Having scripts that both clinical and non-clinical staff can use for patient recruitment can ensure consistent messaging and eliminate confusion among patients.

Eliminating that early confusion for patients will open them up to taking an active role in their health and engaging with your RPM program.

As discussed earlier, your patient population will be comprised of various segments with differing motivations. You can adapt your scripts with the language targeted at each of these segments.

For example, your script for your already engaged patients who are more health-focused may focus on the health benefits RPM affords them.

Your script for cost or time-focused patients, on the other hand, will focus on the less frequent office visits afforded through RPM.

5) Have Physicians Obtain Patient Enrollment

While your administrative staff will play an important role in managing your RPM program successfully, you should ideally have a physician pitch the value of the program to the patient.

Physicians have more trust among patient populations than administrative staff and thus will be able to more effectively motivate patients to enroll.

For physicians to pitch the program properly to patients, they’ll need the prior four tips we’ve talked about.

They’ll need the support of the practice behind them, an understanding of the patient population, to be talking to the right patients, and a script to help them sell the program.

If you are unable to have the physician obtain patient enrollment, a clinician is your next best option.

Focusing on Patient Needs Leads to Success

Many of these patient engagement tips will be applied early-on in your RPM program, during the patient enrollment process.

There is a reason for that. The earlier you can win the patient over, the easier it will be to keep them engaged throughout the program.

Additionally, you’ll more easily be able to tackle barriers that may pop up later, such as teaching patients how to use the technology for the program.

The common thread through these tips is keeping the ultimate focus on the patient.

You will be getting your practice to buy-in to the program for the ultimate benefit of the patient. You will be creating scripts to bridge the knowledge and trust gap between patient and clinician.

By keeping the focus on your patients, you will find success with your RPM program. We’ve seen this approach work with many clinics across the country.

We hope that by utilizing these tips, you’ll be able to reap the financial reimbursement afforded to you from Medicare while improving the health outcomes of your patients.

Now that you know how to keep patients engaged, you may want to use a care management software to maximize the value in running an RPM program for both you and your staff.

Get in touch with us to see how ThoroughCare’s software solution can save you time and make you money.