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Remote Patient Monitoring in Healthcare: Five Exciting Trends to Watch

Though it's been around since the 1970s, Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) is having a major moment. Today, the telehealth application is more tech-savvy, connected and innovative than ever before. As a result, utilization is on an uptick. In fact, according to a recent survey, 65% of hospitals and health systems have implemented an RPM solution to facilitate population health. By 2026, the global RPM market is set to exceed $1.6 billion.

Today, we're taking a look at five trends redefining the limits of what RPM can do and achieve. 

Ready to learn more? Let's dig in.

Remote Patient Monitoring 101

Before we delve into its applications, let's begin with a quick overview of what remote health monitoring is. 

The overarching concept of telemedicine includes myriad applications including:

  • Live video conferencing between patients and care providers
  • Asynchronous store-and-forward health history recording
  • Health information provided via mobile devices 

Then, there's remote patient monitoring. This is the process of connecting electronic tools to record and monitor a patient's health and medical data in one location, then transmitting it to a healthcare provider for review.

1. Interest Post CMS Recognition 

Though its benefits are far-reaching, it was difficult for providers to make a case for remote medical monitoring until recently, as the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) didn't recognize it as a cost of care.

That all changed on January 1, 2018. when the CMS issued a final rule that the program will compensate providers for RPM services, billed under Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) Code 99091.

That rule was issued as a placeholder until the CPT Editorial Panel could finalize the new codes. In 2019, CMS announced it would reimburse for RPM under the following codes, in addition to CPT 99091:

  • CPT 99453: Covers initial setup and patient education on RPM equipment that remotely monitors physiologic parameters. 
  • CPT 99454: Covers the device supply with daily recordings of programmed alerts, billed every 30 days.  
  • CPT 99457: Covers RPM treatment and management services provided by clinical staff for 20 minutes or more and interactive patient communication.

Now, both early and late adopters alike are committed to developing an RPM solution as a care channel within their practice. As such, not only has implementation snowballed but so too has flexibility.

For instance, alternative payment methods are now available to make RPM more obtainable than ever before. These include Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) and value-based purchasing models. 

2. Easier-to-Use Technology

The software and medical device industries have joined forces to produce wireless Remote Patient Monitoring technologies that are easier to use than ever before.  Research shows that telemonitoring and RPM solutions that offer improved usability and automation while being less patient-dependent are more likely to work. 

Today’s RPM technologies are capable of detecting the earliest signs of disease decomposition and are fast becoming a front-line defense against readmissions and improved quality of life while helping patients manage their chronic conditions more effectively.

3. Scalable Software

In addition to easier to use technologies, software that can seamlessly scale based on a patient's acuity. 

This means depending on how sharply or keenly they're able to process, hear or see, there are RPM solutions designed to cater to their needs. This allows providers to customize and tailor their medical plans to each patient. 

Especially within the home health market, this is a valuable change. Now, providers can monitor patient performance in real time and adjust care models accordingly. 

4. A Shift to Value-Based Care

In years past, healthcare providers were compensated based on the number of tests, visits or procedures they performed.

Now, however, that focus is shifting toward a financial model that instead compensates based on patient outcome, and RPM is leading the change. In short, quality is trumping quantity in terms of priority.

New devices and technology make it possible for providers to diagnose and treat conditions from afar. This means less need for costly and time-consuming in-office tests. From there, 24/7 remote monitoring takes the place of a prolonged treatment plan defined by expensive follow-up visits.

5. IoT-Based Healthcare 

As the Internet of Things (IoT) continues to proliferate into almost every area of our lives, healthcare is no exception.

Research shows that by 2021, healthcare IoT spending is set to exceed $120 billion.

Today's sophisticated wearable medical devices are integrated with IoT technology to enable continuous monitoring and cloud-based data transmission.

Take smart devices that can track whether a patient took medication, for instance. If the device recognizes a missed dosage, it can alert a provider immediately.

From remote sleep monitoring devices changing the game for bedridden patients to Bluetooth-powered gloves that help stroke patients regain mobility in their hands, the possibilities and applications for RPM are endless.

Stay Abreast on RPM Trends and News Updates

As Remote Patient Monitoring continues to grow in scale and sophistication, it's important to stay up-to-date on where the market is headed.

For timely industry news, you can use, consult our blog. Here, we cover the latest in RPM trends, innovations and applications.

Want to deepen your understanding of this field? Start by checking out these four RPM myths to bust today.

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