Remote patient monitoring: A comprehensive guide from Conga
Oddly, it had been my wife, Ronee, who often asked, “which remote?” who was the first in our family to utilize Remote patient monitoring (RPM). As a person with type-1 diabetes, she has been on RPM for nearly a decade. She had started in the days when a special adapter and blue screen software were required to transmit her blood sugars to her endocrinologist. Time and again, the software needed updating or a new cord for her latest blood glucose monitor. Early on, the data would be reviewed in an office visit where they discussed a plan to control her overnight blood sugar spikes and crashes.
What is Remote Patient Monitoring?
The U.S. Government Accountability Office defines RPM as “a coordinated system that uses one or more home-based or mobile monitoring devices … that are subsequently reviewed by a healthcare professional.”
In a Consumer Technology Association study, some of the patient benefits included:
- Detailed information on personalized health
- Faster access to healthcare services
- More significant influence on their well-being through ownership of health data
Healthcare professionals in the study pointed to improved patient outcomes, compliance rates and patients taking more ownership of their health. With these benefits, 9 out of 10 doctors in an American Medical Association study say they have invested or are evaluating RPM. Along with an aging population and doctor shortages, we will explore three key drivers that have created a perfect opportunity for the surge in RPM usage.
Geoffrey Moore predicted that the number of transistors on a microchip would double every two years, driving the cost of computing down exponentially. Perhaps the 2” by 1” Apple Watch that sits on my wrist 57 years later is the culmination of Moore’s Law. My watch now gives me EKG-like heart rate monitoring, sleep analysis, and respiratory rates. My wife’s data transfers have improved, no longer requiring cables. She also has access to a rich set of charts to review with her doctor. Other technological advancements have occurred in sleep, heart care, weight management, and respiratory.
The two years from the introduction of RPM CPT codes in 2019 to 2021 resulted in a 1900% growth rate in RPM billings, making it the fastest-growing segment in Healthcare. This growth was driven by the 2020 expansion in the codes, COVID-19, an increase in government reimbursements, and additional regulations in 2022. The changes over these three years have made RPM billing a more practical endeavor, allowing for ongoing follow-up and greater reimbursement for doctors.
As we often see in Healthcare, there are early and late adopters. Each new set of codes requires a new process to bill correctly and receive appropriate payment. On a more strategic level, many practitioners and institutions will be left to decide the right mix of remote and in-person care they want in their practices. Payers will need to evaluate the ultimate effect on outcomes and their bottom lines.
Conga Solutions for Healthcare
We are proud to support our Healthcare and Life Sciences customers with critical capabilities that assist in operationalizing RPM delivery. These include:
- Patient and Provider Communications: Enhances your patient experience with document generation capabilities that serve as the valuable glue that stitches together meaningful “RPM” interactions between patient and provider.
- Provider Agreements: Expansion in RPM codes and geographical boundaries means more providers and fees that need to be established. Conga can help to shorten provider onboarding cycle times and provide contracting flexibility to our Healthcare customers.