Our very own Curt Merriman was asked to prepare a 4-part article for HME News “Smart Talk” column. We happily are reprinting it here.
Q. Is there an opportunity for me to provide remote patient monitoring?
A.The HME industry has always had innovators and care providers interested in providing health care services that improve a patient’s quality of life in their homes. At the same time, payers continuously ratchet the fee schedules downward. Remote physiological monitoring can be a game changer.
While not officially recognized by CMS as telehealth, RPM does have four primary CPT codes (99453m 99454, 99457 and 99458) and reimbursement to allow for adherence and compliance measures to improve care in the home. Biometric sensors (usually with Bluetooth technology) provide physiologic data taken from the patient. This data is sent to a cloud-based dashboard to be monitored for early changes. These changes can indicate non-adherence to therapy or provide clinical signs and symptoms of a health risk or exacerbation.
RPM is typically billed and managed through a provider/physician clinic and may utilize Qualified Healthcare Providers (QHCPs) to perform the monitoring and direct communication with the patient, with escalation to the provider as needed. This service can be outsourced as a contracted extension of the physician’s practice. Respiratory therapists and other health care providers meet the definition of a QHCP.
Companies such as Verustat offer RPM services in the HME industry. Some interesting findings from various sources: 90% of patients want a digital health connection with their doctor; RPM has been shown to improve patient satisfaction; and RPM reduces emergency visits, improves patient health and reduces hospital admissions.
RPM of data allows for another opportunity for outsourcing resources. Many clinics that implement RPM do not have the staff bandwidth to take on the extra time required for monitoring and the required monthly communication with the patient.
Curt Merriman is chief sales officer for rtNow. Reach him at curt@rtNow.net.