In March, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released new guidance regarding remote patient monitoring. For the duration of the public health emergency triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, RPM services can be provided to both new and established patients, said the agency.
The change was just one of a number of government initiatives enacted to support RPM, explained Tyler Fletcher, global head of medical, advertising and Americas consulting at GlobalData, during a HIMSS20 Digital session.
Because of the pandemic, and the need to keep patients safe, said Fletcher, “we’ve seen providers turn to RPM faster than ever before.”
During the AT&T Business-sponsored session, Remote Patient Monitoring to Help Combat COVID-19, Fletcher said GlobalData expects the RPM market to double in approximately five years.
The pandemic is certainly one contributor to that growth, but other drivers include the need for operational efficiency, the increasing ease of use for home-based RPM devices, the growth in the number of aging population members who require additional healthcare support and have less mobility, and the high growth of chronic diseases outside the United States and Europe.
In the near term, meanwhile, “the demand for RPM devices is very large,” said Fletcher.
For COVID-19, said Ernie Iance, EVP of sales and marketing at VitalTech, companies like VitalTech have developed RPM tools that specifically target patients with diabetes, congestive heart failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder.
Such conditions “cause significant complications with COVID,” said Iance. “But even outside of COVID,” these conditions are among those costing the most money and causing lasting problems for health systems. The devices can be shipped out to patients as needed, “literally overnight.”
“They take it out of the bag, put it on, and it just works,” said Iance.
The panelists outlined which CPT codes should be used for RPM, including when one is layering additional increments of 20-minute sessions for complicated patients.
RPM has led to a significant reduction in hospital readmissions among VitalTech’s clients, said Iance.
“This is … not just us. These results you can see across the industry. If you do roll out RPM, pretty much these are the results you should expect,” said Iance.
“You’re being very proactive with your patients. You’re heading off events before they become acute. You’re seeing things well in advance of them deteriorating,” said Iance.
“That proactive care is really what you’re trying to initiate,” he said.
Kat Jercich is senior editor of Healthcare IT News.
Healthcare IT News is a HIMSS Media publication.