Due to the consequences of the pandemic, we have drastically changed our expectations when it comes to healthcare. Patients no longer expect to go to the doctors office for every twinge of pain or sniffle. They realize that care can be initiated from afar. Now, more than ever, patients have more choices on how, when, and where they receive care. Because of this, healthcare providers are scaling up and bringing in RPM and virtual care as a solution to meet their patients where they are.
Over the last few years, both in research and in practice, we have seen how RPM technology helps to improve patients' access to care, improve their health outcomes, and decrease the cost of care. Because of this, there has been an influx of new RPM vendors in the space.
Here are nine critical factors to consider when selecting the right partner who can help you deliver successful patient-centered care.
Ask: What are the clinical goals you want to achieve?
The first crucial step before choosing an RPM vendor is to understand your clinical goals.
Whether your goal is to reduce readmission, improve medication adherence, enable your aging patients to receive care in the comfort of their homes, or improve access to care for rural patients, your RPM vendor must be able to develop a specific program that can help you achieve the clinical outcome you want.
Be sure to check and see if the vendor you are talking to has case studies on how effective their platform is for the chronic populations you want to treat.
Ask: Which patient population is your primary RPM focus?
RPM has been widely used to assist patients with chronic conditions. But in recent times, its benefits have been extended to other patient populations, including acute conditions. If you are considering investing in an RPM program, you may choose a specific population as your primary focus based on the types of patient populations commonly treated in your facility. You may also want to consider the patient population with the largest financial burden on your healthcare system and the digital literacy of these patients.
Ask: What is the total cost of ownership?
A recent study revealed that replacing in-person visits for acute care with telehealth visits alone could save your organization up to $126 per patient per visit.
When deciding on the right RPM vendor for your organization, consider both reimbursement and cost avoidance metrics. Include variables such as readmission reduction, operational improvements, saved time, and improved patient and staff satisfaction when determining your short and long-term financial goals in relation to your RPM program.
Ask: Do you have dedicated resources for your RPM program?
To run a successful RPM program, you’ll need dedicated clinical staff to onboard and monitor patients. For staff members bogged down with day-to-day tasks, the introduction of a new RPM workflow can be overwhelming. So, if staff capacity is a concern, healthcare systems should consider vendors who can provide outsourced staffing for monitoring and alert-escalation.
Patient Adherence and Engagement
Ask: Is your RPM solution designed with patient engagement in mind?
Patients committed to their health and recovery are more likely to achieve improved health outcomes. Therefore, when choosing an RPM vendor, it is essential to consider a solution that emphasizes patient engagement and adherence. Whether through a strategic onboarding process, user-friendly communication via video, phone, and SMS, or an automatic reminder system that encourages patients to take regular readings, your RPM solution must make patient adherence as effortless as possible.
Technical and Product Support
Ask: What types of support does the RPM vendor provide?
User experience is critical, especially in the healthcare setting. Imagine a patient trying to adhere to their healthcare routine interrupted by technical issues. Or clinical staff who can’t access their client data when they need it. It can be demoralizing and create significant patient safety concerns. That is why choosing a vendor who can provide round-the-clock support is important.
Ask: Can the RPM solution integrate with your Electronic Medical Record (EMR) system?
An RPM solution integrated into your existing EMS can help you monitor your patients within your current workflow. When the two systems communicate, clinical staff can work within a single platform and avoid redundant work. This can accelerate onboarding, reduce manual procedures, and simplify claims and billing processes.
Ask: What type of equipment does your RPM vendor offer?
RPM devices can help patients stay on top of their health and see trends in their condition, empowering them to take control of their healthcare journey. RPM is the collection of patient biometrics, to allow clinicians to monitor patients remotely. These biometrics may be collected via blood pressure cuffs, glucometers, pulse oximeters, and ECGs, among others. The more devices an RPM solution can support, the more robust the collection of biometrics and data becomes, allowing clinicians to provide comprehensive, top-notch care.
Device Storage, Provision, Shipping, etc.
Ask: How will the vendor store and ship the devices?
Ensuring that patients receive the devices they need when they need them in mint condition is as important as the types of devices offered by the vendor. Some of the challenges in healthcare logistics include storage and inventory management, device maintenance and sanitation, and shipping. An RPM vendor with the right logistics solution will always have the upper hand.
Choosing a Vendor
With so many RPM solutions available today, choosing one that best fits your organization’s needs and goals can be difficult. However, by considering these nine factors when selecting a remote patient monitoring partner, you can make an informed decision about which vendor is right for you and set yourself up for success in today's ever-evolving digital landscape of healthcare delivery models!
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