With adoption on the rise, RPM is set to transform healthcare forever; learn how practices can leverage the technology for unparalleled success
As the healthcare delivery landscape continues to shift, remote patient monitoring (RPM) is forecast to experience meteoric growth. According to a recent forecast, the global market could reach nearly $17 billion by 2030.
To those of us familiar with its benefits, this makes a world of sense. Quality RPM programs offer benefits for practice owners, physicians, and patients alike. From unlocking new revenue streams, to improving patient engagement and satisfaction, and bettering chronic care management and population health outcomes, RPM helps advance every aspect of healthcare for every stakeholder, underscoring the industry’s storied quadruple aim.
Indeed, there is no logical explanation for why RPM is not the gold standard for practices of all shapes, sizes, and contractual arrangements. Yet, for many, implementing remote patient monitoring seems daunting, time consuming, or just not worthwhile. In the 10+ years I’ve worked in RPM, I’ve learned the truth - not all programs are created equal, but the truly quality ones make an outsized impact for stakeholders across the industry, massively benefiting practice operations, physician well-being, and patient care in the process.
In the sections that follow, I’ll outline my top three takeaways for providers looking to implement a rewarding, impactful RPM program.
1. The concept of triage is central to any successful RPM program
The great promise of RPM is its ability to help fill gaps in care and improve oversight and recurring management of costly chronic conditions. Yet with this problem comes an apparent crux: the added burdens of reviewing incoming patient data, maintaining proactive device monitoring, facilitating additional patient interaction, and, when necessary, performing critical clinical interventions. With this lens, it’s easy to see why RPM programs seem daunting to many physicians.
Today more than ever, prioritizing physician and caregiver bandwidth is critical, which is why any quality RPM partner builds in the concept of triage as a central tenet to its service and success. In these cases, the partner’s clinically experienced team acts as gatekeeper and buffer, actively monitoring incoming data, but ensuring that only the most critical readings are escalated for the practice’s physicians to review.
For instance, a recent pilot with an independent family clinic documented 33,000 transmissions over the six-month trial period. The RPM partner actively monitored each and every one, acting as an extension of the clinic’s on-site staff. At the end of the trial, of these thousands of readings, only 40 were deemed critical enough to escalate up to the practice’s clinical staff for review and potential intervention. This managed external triage approach means patients are monitored, but for 97% of the cases, the practice and its clinical team did not have to expend any additional energy on the program.
2. Quality partners assume the service burden, so you don't have to
Clinician burnout is of such growing concern that even the country’s highest offices are stepping in. Both the Surgeon General and the Biden Administration have released statements and action plans expressing concern for healthcare workers’ mental health and well-being.
As RPM adoption continues to expand, providers need to ensure that they’re not creating additional work for their existing teams. RPM programs are not self-sustaining; the “set it and forget it” mindset would mean losing patient enrollment, compliance, engagement, and reimbursement. But, by no means does that mean clinical staff are required to become program managers and champions. Comprehensive RPM programs with a service component ensure that practices can extend patient oversight beyond the clinic walls, without overextending their on-site physicians, nurse practitioners, and clinical support staff.
In this way, on the clinic’s behalf, RPM partners support enrollment, device adoption, promote program engagement, capture all relevant billing codes, and triage transmissions to help keep chronic conditions under control. Patients are actively engaged in their healthcare from the comfort of their own homes, and enjoy the sense of additional attention from their trusted providers—while a practice is able to extend an additional service to its population, unlock new revenue streams through RPM billing codes, and ensure their patients adhere to protocol and manage their conditions better, for longer. A win-win.
3. Once you unlock ROI, there’s a second, secret value story to RPM
RPM’s value story has two primary chapters: that of reimbursement-driven ROI creation from proactive patient monitoring—and another, more subtle, value story. While these metrics are difficult to measure, they are truly compelling.
The cost of not attending routine visits can be very steep for those with conditions that are prone to worsen over time. For patients, RPM can offer life-saving care extensions that don’t cost them anything more than a traditional copay. For these patients living in rural settings, recovering from surgery or illness, have inflexible work schedules, or who are busy with childcare or caretaking responsibilities, in-person medical check-ups can be inconvenient at best—and painful or unaffordable at worst. With RPM, they no longer have to avoid proactive care of their chronic conditions; they can receive regular care that ensures condition management, helps drive better long-term outcomes, and reduces costly emergencies or care readmissions.
This human-centric ROI is nearly impossible to quantify, but is inarguably priceless. With RPM, clinical teams need not expend much, if any, additional effort, and patients are engaged in their own care, are spared time and travel costs, and assume no additional charges. These programs mean that care can now be extended to improve population health at the highest level.
Lastly, practices need to know that the holy grail of healthcare is attainable for them. With the right RPM partner, it is more than possible to earn additional revenue and help their patients feel healthier and happy every day—without assuming any additional burden on their existing team. Not only is this a choice that will help support their long-term financial stability and success, but it will reinforce lasting, trusting relationships with their patients for years to come.
Rafaël Tarantini is the Chief Financial Officer of Rhythm Health.