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6 steps to starting an RPM program

Medical Economics JournalMedical Economics March 2024
Volume 101
Issue 3

How to get started with remote patient monitoring.

Getting started with RPM: ©Chanpipat - stock.adobe.com

Getting started with RPM: ©Chanpipat - stock.adobe.com

Here are six steps to get you started with an remote patient monitoring program:

1. Know your audience

“Step 1 is knowing your audience,” Havasy said.

Patients in affluent areas may gladly buy their own health monitoring devices such as blood pressure cuffs or smart scales. Those in poor or underserved areas may not have broadband internet access, much less money for devices, Havasy said. That is not just a rural problem; underserved areas of cities may lack connectivity.

2. Research reimbursement

The second step: Find out what your payers will reimburse for, Havasy said.

Marc Gruner, DO, MBA, a co-creator of the RTM codes, agreed. AMA has compiled a review of which commercial payers cover the codes, but physicians should check with specific commercial payers to find out if they reimburse for the codes.

3. Devices, a team and a leader

Go online to study devices and codes before working with a treatment partner, said Gruner, also a co-founder and chief medical officer of Limber Health, which offers online physical therapy.

Get your compliance and billing staff talking about how to implement the program.

“Introducing new technology into a busy primary care doctor’s office, a specialist’s office, is not an easy feat,” Gruner said. Identify an internal client success leader to champion RM because they believe in it and the benefits to patients.

4. Expect it to take time

Integrating RM won’t happen overnight. It will take time — how much depends on the size of the practice, Gruner said.

5. You may end up working with a partner

Physicians must consider “build or buy,” creating an RM system with technology they are familiar with or joining with a vendor to offer a program, said Emily K. Hurst, DO, national medical director of intensive care remote monitoring for Avel eCare.

Don’t just shop around to see what vendors offer.

“Figure out what you need and what you want first and then see if you can match it to (the vendor),” she said. “Because you’re going to get something that’s a lot more customized to what your needs are and you’re not going to be paying for things you don’t need.”

6. Keep an open mind

“We already know from several use cases that this technology can improve health outcomes and make physicians better at what we do,” Smuck said. “And so part of the challenge that all of us face is the busyness of our practice and the needs of our patients. When we have the opportunity to offload parts of that onto a remote patient monitoring tool that gets better outcomes for the patient and then frees us to do things that are helping our patients, then we’re optimizing not just for our own productivity, but for our patients’ benefits. So we should all be open to these things.”

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