Three steps to launching a successful Remote Patient Monitoring program

16 February 2017, Written by James R. Mault, M.D., F.A.C.S., Vice President and Chief Medical Officer

Three steps to launching a successful Remote Patient Monitoring program

If your practice isn’t using remote patient monitoring (RPM), it should be considered a mission critical goal for 2017. Chronic disease incidence is on the rise, and with the shift to pay-for-performance reimbursement models, a scalable RPM program can help you successfully take on and manage polychronic patients and the recently discharged.

A recent survey showed that 66% of healthcare organizations have an RPM program in place, and more than 80% of the clinicians surveyed are employing mobile devices to support recently-discharged patients with common chronic conditions.

Remote monitoring can help prevent readmissions, allow patients to heal from the comfort of their own home, and motivate them to practice better self-care.

But how do you start?

Deploying a comprehensive RPM system is like deploying any new care model and requires forward thinking and planning, a focus on details, and the establishment of a scalability roadmap.

We’ve outlined three main steps to help you get started with RPM:

Step one: Establish overall program goals

Will your RPM program be driven by population health, readmission prevention, reimbursement optimization, or other goals? Much of this will depend on your patient population. A program serving younger, tech-savvy patients will have different goals than one for the elderly.

You’ll also want to determine when and via what means you will enroll your patients, what metrics and data you want to track, and whether you’ll seek reimbursement for your program or use RPM as a cost savings vehicle to reduce penalties and total cost of care.

Step two: Implement patient enrollment

Enrollment typically occurs in two types of settings: In the hospital prior to discharge, or during an office visit as part of a self-management plan. In the first case, hospital staff can stress the benefits of the program and instruct the patient how to use the necessary equipment. In the second case, clinic staff is responsible for the enrollment, but the patient may require additional sessions in order to be fully onboarded.

In either setting, the patient should come away with a clear understanding of the program’s goals, onboarding and usage requirements, and where they can turn for help. Follow-up will usually be required, whether in person or over the phone.

Because enrollment and onboarding can be tricky, many practices bring on a third-party organization to manage it, so staff can focus on monitoring. As programs scale, so do logistics. Fortunately, third parties can handle this as well. If you run a lean practice, you may want to consider partnering with an outside expert to ensure your RPM program runs smoothly and cost effectively.

Laslty, some practices will begin with a small test population of patients and physicians before rolling RPM out practice-wide. This can help you work out the kinks, and scale more efficiently.

Step three: Engage providers

Patients aren’t the only ones who need to be sold on the benefits of RPM. Providers must be shown that it will add value, fit with their workflows, and improve patient outcomes. If you can make the case for RPM, establish the appropriate workflow, and build on providers’ trust, you’re more likely to succeed.

Setting up and deploying a scalable RPM roadmap is a lot like establishing clinical practice guidelines. It can take time, especially in the planning stage, but it will be worth it. To survive in our new outcomes-based economy, a RPM program is mission-critical.

Find out more about RPM, and see examples of successful deployments by downloading our free white paper, “Successfully Navigating Mobile Challenges in the Health Care Landscape,” available in our online knowledge center at http://www.qualcommlife.com/white-papers.

About the Author

James R. Mault, M.D., F.A.C.S., Vice President and Chief Medical Officer

James R. Mault, M.D., F.A.C.S., Vice President and Chief Medical Officer

James R. Mault, M.D., F.A.C.S., is the Vice President and Chief Medical Officer of Qualcomm Life as a result of their April 2013 acquisition of HealthyCircles, a Care Coordination and Remote Patient Monitoring Software Platform Company founded and led by Dr. Mault since 2009. Prior to starting HealthyCircles, Dr. Mault was the Director of New Products and Business Development for the Health Solutions Group at Microsoft. Dr. Mault has more than 30 years of experience in senior executive positions in the Health IT and Medical Device industry as well as clinical medicine. Dr. Mault has founded five Health IT and medical device companies, leading these companies to develop novel devices and software technologies, FDA approvals, and strategic partnerships with numerous Fortune 500 companies. He is the named inventor of over 80 issued and pending US Patents for a variety of novel health information and medical device innovations. He has been board-certified in both General Surgery and Cardiothoracic Surgery, having specialized in heart and lung transplantation, thoracic oncology and critical care. He has conducted academic medical research under numerous grant awards from the National Institutes of Health, American Cancer Society, and others. He is the author of more than 60 scientific articles, chapters and books in the published medical literature. Dr. Mault holds a bachelor’s degree in Biology and a Medical Degree from the University of Michigan, and conducted his General Surgery and Cardiothoracic Surgery residency training at Duke University Medical Center.

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