When RPM first entered the market, it promised to revolutionize healthcare by quickly, and less expensively, gathering real-time patient vitals and symptoms data for easy evaluation by providers.
Unfortunately, RPM early-adopters found that they bought into the dream prematurely. Healthcare organizations who invested were left with complicated technology that staff avoided, patients wouldn’t use, and no relief in sight. Fortunately, due to healthcare focused technical improvements and user attitude shifts since the Covid-19 pandemic–RPM is finally ready to take center stage in post-acute care, and even in home health and hospice.
When RPM was first introduced, providers were eager to improve care management for patients outside of the hospital setting, so they embraced new technologies to better connect patients and caregivers. RPM piqued the interest of in-home health and hospice caregivers, but they quickly realized the technology was difficult for patients to use reliably and too rigid and cumbersome for staff to integrate into their workflows. This happened because most RPM tools were developed by large technology companies that didn’t have a clinical understanding of how to integrate technology with quality care.
Rather than elevating the patient experience, RPM made care more difficult. It created apprehension for caregivers and patients with no real regard for healthcare nuances like patient engagement, clinical workflows, or managing multiple patient populations. RPM forced patients and nurses to conform to complicated technical needs rather than enhancing care. As a result, this “revolutionary” technology ended up in storage closets, with millions of provider dollars down the drain.
Furthermore, even if the technology worked, providers realized they didn’t have a way to handle interventions or patient escalations in a timely manner. Most patients needed help after hours when providers couldn’t deliver reliable coverage.
Most RPM growth improvements can be attributed to the changes implemented since the start of the pandemic. When COVID-19 reached America, healthcare providers had a dilemma: Patients still needed care, but hospitals and clinics created the perfect atmosphere for viruses to spread. To reduce traffic inside healthcare centers and allow vulnerable populations to isolate at home, RPM-like technologies became widely adopted out of necessity. In a matter of months, patients grew comfortable with remote healthcare.
New technology has also emerged making it possible for remote monitoring devices to connect more universally with other devices and to provider systems. As a result, these changes have made RPM easier to use and more accessible, increasing the number of patients and providers interested in the quality care RPM provides.
Despite advances in RPM technology and user mindset, there’s still a lingering challenge of how to handle patient interventions. This is where clinical expertise in designing and implementing the next generation of RPM is needed. Successful RPM programs require flexibility and a care driven approach. One that makes patients and providers want to use it, especially for monitoring multiple patient populations with varying health conditions.
For example, clinicians know patients will only adopt treatments they are comfortable with. So, rather than forcing patients to use new technologies, adopt an approach that allows patients to use their own RPM device which can be easily integrated into provider systems and clinical workflows. Let patients connect their RPM devices with whatever communication network is easiest, such as WiFi, cellular or Bluetooth. Also, when patients have a quick concern, they can communicate it via text, email, IVR calls and more.
Provider staff should also have easy-to-use RPM tools. Improved technology now quickly alerts staff for patient intervention before symptoms become emergencies. Easy to read dashboards automatically escalate urgent needs, integrated ad-hoc communications tools, and robust analytics make remote care personal and efficient. Through these advancements, staff can focus on getting the right care to the right patients–at the right time.
Reimagining RPM with CareXM
CareXM is at the forefront of driving flexible, care-driven RPM in post-acute care. We are also pioneering new applications for hospice and home health, focusing on proactive patient engagement. This strategy helps patients with chronic conditions and longer-term hospice care personally engage better with their healthcare. This process includes automated education prompts, daily check-ins, and vital tracking–ultimately, reducing provider costs and improving outcomes for all!
CareXM’s proactive triage takes engagement even further with automated tuck-in calls, on-the-go patient surveys, medication refill reminders and many more. Integrated with our 24/7 nurse triage and non-clinical answering, our RPM services finally allow providers to quickly and easily anticipate and respond to patient needs. Although the use of RPM-style technology isn’t yet reimbursable by CMS in some instances, it still reduces operational costs from streamlined workflows, lowers turnover and readmissions–while improving patient satisfaction and outcomes at the same time.
A wonderful example of our RPM’s success can be found in one Home Health Agency serving over 1,400 patients. In just over 12 months they achieved:
- Improved Quality Scores–90% of patients would recommend their RPM to others.
- Less than 1% of Patients Require Hospitalization or ER Visits–cost of care is drastically reduced, saving providers and patients time and money unlike ever before.
- 99% of Patients Adhered to Provider Directions–most patients chose to learn about their conditions, make lasting lifestyle changes, and take accountability for their health journey.
- Reduced Health Escalations Overall–Only 1% of medical alerts needed to be escalated to clinical staff.
Clinical Mindset is Key
Without a clinical mindset, the benefits of RPM cannot be realized by patients or staff. Providers will still experience burnout, turnover, high readmission rates and less satisfied patients. That’s why it’s important to emphasize patient education and engagement. Ongoing engagement is essential because it keeps patients motivated and ensures adherence to care plans. RPM has the potential to revolutionize the way providers deliver care, but it is important to prioritize the human connection between clinician and patient. With the right strategy and care-driven mindset, RPM can lead to improved patient outcomes and reduced healthcare costs.
Choose CareXM. Our RPM is Clinician Built and Backed!
Fortunately, CareXM is the kind of experienced, clinical partner you can count on to deliver the help you need to elevate your patient and caregiver experiences. Our mission is to help our partners effortlessly anticipate and respond to patient needs with triage technology backed by our on-demand triage team. Whether you need after-hours triage, our cost-saving hybrid triage solutions, or in-house triage call-center infrastructure, we help you flex and extend your care, so you reach patients in the moments they need help the most. From home health and hospice to health systems and more, CareXM will transform your patient approach to lower operating costs.