10 Tips For Running A Successful Remote Patient Monitoring Program
10 Tips For Running A Successful Remote Patient Monitoring Program Blog Feature
Russ Godek

By: Russ Godek on November 16th, 2020

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10 Tips For Running A Successful Remote Patient Monitoring Program

Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) is a valuable program that provides a litany of benefits to both patients and providers.

We’ve shown how successful implementation of an RPM program at your practice can improve patient health outcomes and offer a new revenue stream for practices.

Developing a profitable, compliant, and rewarding program can be difficult though. To help, we’ve compiled a list of 10 tips to set you up for success.

These tips are an accumulation of best practices we’ve gathered from the hundreds of providers we’ve worked with across the country. We’ve helped many practices through the implementation and management of successful RPM programs in the past, and we’d like to do the same for you.

We recommend using these tips in conjunction with our RPM implementation guide, as they can improve upon the foundation you lay when starting your program.

In this article, we’ll walk you through each tip and touch on one of the secret weapons to finding success with most Medicare programs: quality care management software.

1) Learn to Fail

After implementing an RPM program and not seeing immediate and substantial results, some providers panic. Even worse, some may write it off as a failure and abandon the program.

The thing to remember is that failure is part of the process.

One of the best ways to improve is to fail; the key thing is to learn from your failures and not repeat the same mistakes.

The best way to do this is to evaluate your results closely and decide if you need to course correct. It’s important to note ignore small wins, however, as those small wins can add up over time.

Suppose you implement RPM as a way to boost the revenue of your practice. Some people may look at a 1% increase in revenue after a week as nothing to get excited about.

If you sustain that pace, however, that’s a 4% increase per month and a 48% increase in revenue over your first year.

2) Start Small, Test Early, and Often

Part of sustaining a successful Medicare program is demonstrating that the programs improve clinical outcomes and/or revenue.

The administration of your practice will be focused on those metrics because launching an RPM program can be an expensive and time-consuming process.

While the benefits of RPM are well known, and the opportunities for providers are numerous, sometimes RPM programs may not be right for your practice.

For example, your patient population just may not take to the adoption of new technology well, or you may not have enough patients to make running the program worthwhile.

We recommend starting small, with a pilot program, to avoid costly mistakes.

The added benefit of starting your program small is that it’s far easier to identify mistakes in small sample sizes and adjust as needed.

Once you have your process down and you are seeing positive results, you can scale your program accordingly. If you’re in a position of needing strong buy-in from the administration of your practice, this is a good method to prove the value of the program.

3) Make Patient Engagement A Priority

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.

4) Clearly Define Your Goals

It’s critical to define your goals for your RPM program before beginning. In defining those goals, you’ll want to know who the program is for, and what changes you want to achieve with those patients.

Are you targeting your most at-risk patients? Are you trying to improve the health outcomes of a certain medical condition?

Make sure your goals are well defined. A good goal looks like: Improve patient glucose readings of patients 70 or older by 10% over the first 6 months. A poorly defined goal looks like: Improve patient satisfaction.

Define which of your patients will benefit from the program and target those patients.

5) Use Care Management Software

When implementing an RPM program, we highly recommend utilizing care management software to help you manage your program.

There are numerous benefits of utilizing a quality care management software solution. The features and tools included in various software solutions are specifically designed to more effectively and efficiently manage all Medicare programs, not just RPM.

6) Use the Best Devices

The success of your program will in part depend on the quality of RPM devices you deploy to your patients. Your program should seamlessly integrate with whichever medical devices, wearables, and/or mobile apps you choose.

There is a large variety of RPM devices on the market to choose from, so it’s important to know what to look for when selecting devices for your program.

Below are some selection criteria to use when shopping:

User Experience

You want to select devices that are simple and easy for your patients to use, especially if you have an older patient population in your program.

Does the device have an intensive onboarding process? Does the patient need an email address and password to set up an account? Is the device maker’s software available on their website and as a mobile app?

Answering all these questions will help you select the best device for your program.

Data Collection

Obtaining data from the device is one of the main objectives.

You want to make sure data is clearly formatted, and able to be transmitted as often as needed. Additionally, it helps if the data automatically populates within your EHR or care management software.

A final important consideration is to ensure that the device and data have adequate privacy protections in place as you are dealing with HIPAA-sensitive patient information.

Tech Support

Ideally, you want devices that won’t give you any user issues. If you are having issues with a device, however, does the device vendor have adequate technical support?

Is there a workflow for replacing malfunctioning or damaged devices?

Be sure the vendor you work with has these in place prior to using their devices.

7) Focus on Onboarding for Patients and Staff

When onboarding, focusing on the recruitment and education of patients is important.

You have three main options to recruit patients:

  • In-Person
  • Outreach Campaign
  • Phone Call

To have the highest rate of success, try to introduce the program to the patient in-person during an in-office visit. During the visit, clinicians can thoroughly explain the benefits of the program and answer any questions the patient may have.

Best practice is to have the provider/physician explain the program to the patient, as they usually carry the most trust and clout among patients.

During the first few months of the program, expect to put more time into supporting patients by troubleshooting any technical issues. You may find it beneficial to schedule follow-ups with patients to address any lingering issues or concerns.

Your patients may face simple onboarding issues like a device not working or syncing with their mobile devices. Having proper training materials developed ahead of time that you can refer patients to, or that your staff can use to assist patients will set you up for success.

This leads to our next tip.

8) Train Your Staff

When training your clinicians, focus on device utilization, and have proper training materials developed so the clinician is educated about the program itself, the devices your practice is using, and how to teach the patient.

It’s best practice to develop “what if” scenarios to guide the patient through appropriate actions based upon their readings.

To do this, identify levels of readings and tier them in order of medical importance. A three-tiered approach of good, fair, and bad makes things simple. You can then develop response strategies based upon each level.

Set your reading level tiers and your “what if” scenario guidelines as you deem necessary.

9) Decide To Lease or Buy Your RPM Devices

You will need to decide whether to lease or buy the patient monitoring devices for your program.

There is no one right answer, as the decision will largely depend on what makes the most sense for your practice. Factors to consider include your budget, the size of your program, and your goals for the program.

Since those factors will vary for every practice, you can see why either option may work for any given practice.

Breaking down the pros and cons of each option and aligning it with your budget, the size of your program, and your program goals, will help you make the right decision for you.

10) Ensure Medicare Compliant Workflows and Billing

Having workflows figured out before starting your program will save you time and money. Your staff will be prepared for all situations and have a guide on how to respond.

One of the biggest benefits of Medicare programs like RPM is the financial reward for providers as well as the improved health outcomes of your patients.

Having seamless workflows in place will keep your practice running efficiently, helping you achieve those desired results.

For billing, it is important that you/your biller understands the Medicare requirements for providing and billing remote patient monitoring services.

This is another area where quality care management software can help, as it’ll be able to help automate the process, assigning the proper ICD-10 and CPT codes, and keeping thorough records in case of an audit from Medicare.

How Care Management Software Helps You Manage Your RPM Program

Starting a new program like this can be stressful for your entire staff. To help alleviate the stress, you will want to be sure you do your due diligence to set yourself up for success.

We offer an RPM implementation guide that provides in-depth knowledge on the important steps, best practices, and resources for providers.

We recommend exploring care management software to help you manage your program.

There are many benefits of utilizing a quality care management software solution.

ThoroughCare’s RPM software solution provides extensive features and tools specific to RPM that make it the choice for hundreds of healthcare providers across the country.

Our solution showcases an intuitive design built for clinicians, by clinicians, with features including:

  • Registration of patient devices, with support for integration with over 350 remote monitoring devices
  • Tracking of multiple types of clinical data, from vital signs to blood glucose levels to work out details to sleep-related information
  • Visualization of clinical readings from within the patient care plans, including the ability to view multiple measurements across user-defined timeframes to help clinicians identify patterns in their patient's data
  • Configuration of target ranges (normal, caution, critical) for all data types, along with the ability to notify patients and clinicians through multiple communication channels (text, email, desktop notification) when patient readings fall outside of their physician's clinically-recommended range
  • Time management and billing capabilities to support adherence to the CMS RPM service requirements

To give yourself the best chance of success, check out our free buyer’s guide that walks you through the benefits and features of care management software, equipping you with the knowledge needed to select the best software for your practice.

If you’d like to see our software, contact us to schedule a live demo of ThoroughCare’s software.