Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a chronic and progressive condition affecting more than 6.2 million Americans, and that number continues to grow. CHF can lead to hospitalization and death. It is one of the leading causes of mortality in the United States.
The medical management of patients with CHF can be challenging and costly. Patients must make frequent visits to the doctor for ongoing medication or treatment plan adjustments. But what if there is a more effective way to manage these patients? Remote patient monitoring (RPM) can help by allowing healthcare providers to keep an eye on patients’ vital signs and other patient data in real time from afar.
In this blog post, we will discuss the benefits of RPM for CHF patients, how patients and healthcare providers can benefit from this technology, and how HRS can help.
The Problem: CHF Hospital Readmission Rates
In the United States, CHF accounts for the highest 30-day readmission rate among medical and surgical conditions, with 1 in 4 patients reported to be re-admitted within 30 days of leaving the hospital.
CHF is a chronic condition that requires lifelong management. It may cause fatigue, shortness of breath, and other symptoms that can diminish a patient’s quality of life. Patients diagnosed with CHF also have a higher mortality rate than many patients diagnosed with cancer. The common goals of treating this condition are easing the symptoms, improving the quality of life, and in severe cases lowering the risk of hospitalization and death. But with advancements in science and technology, in some cases, doctors are able to correct heart failure by treating the underlying cause.
Getting patients to take an active role in managing their condition is often challenging because patients can perceive CHF as an episodic event rather than as a chronic disease. In fact, studies show that non-adherence to medication and other lifestyle recommendations, such as reduced salt intake and regular exercise, are among the major causes of disease exacerbation and hospital readmissions in CHF patients.
The Solution: Remote Patient Monitoring
The use of RPM technologies has proven to be effective in improving cardiovascular disease outcomes and reducing hospital readmissions. Research indicates that RPM reduces the mortality and hospitalization rates of CHF patients. It also shows an improvement in these patients' overall quality of life.
With RPM, physicians can track vital signs, such as oxygen saturation levels, and other indicators of CHF symptoms remotely in real time. It can also help improve medication adherence through educational tools and medication reminders
In addition, HRS’ turnkey remote cardiac monitoring solutions allow physicians to offer virtual care for regular visits or triage when there is a sudden exacerbation of symptoms. Ultimately, this technology will enable patients to receive care at home, get educated on their condition, help them with medication adherence, and have quick access to healthcare via telehealth visits in case of an adverse event, which also reduces readmissions.
Common RPM Devices
The use of portable, high-tech devices to transmit health data to physicians in real-time has changed the healthcare landscape. For CHF patients, the most commonly used peripherals include:
- Blood pressure cuff
- Weight scale
- Pulse oximeter
These peripherals are used to monitor and collect biometric data, such as:
- Blood pressure
- Heart rate
- Saturation of Peripheral Oxygen (SpO2)
Benefits of RPM to Patients
RPM can benefit patients diagnosed with CHF across all stages of the disease, from newly diagnosed to patients in the final stages of their disease progression. The technology can be leveraged in many ways—to monitor vital signs, ensure medication adherence, and educate patients on their condition and how to care for themselves, among others.
Patients enrolled in the RPM program will be equipped with devices that allow physicians to monitor their vital signs remotely in real time. They are also required to record their vital signs and symptoms, which helps them learn about their condition and improve self-management. In addition, RPM is fitted with tools such as medication reminders, virtual visits, digital pillboxes, and medication-specific education that encourage medication adherence.
Convenient access to tools and educational materials allows patients to understand their condition and actively involve in their care plan. And this increases the chances of them experiencing positive health outcomes.
Benefits of RPM to Healthcare Providers
RPM offers many benefits to healthcare providers. With access to real-time medical data healthcare providers can quickly determine a patient’s health status and intervene as needed. From medication adherence to monitoring vital signs, practitioners can set measurable patient goals and work with patients to achieve them.
RPM also enables providers to reduce in-person visits and unnecessary emergency department visits and hospital readmissions. Reducing hospital readmissions may help save time and resources while improving patient satisfaction. Altogether, RPM can decrease CHF disease exacerbations, leading to improved patient care and improved utilization of hospital resources and beds.
Area of Care Use
HRS provides the best and most up-to-date RPM solution to:
- Home health agencies
- Hospitals, clinics, and other health systems
- Accountable care organizations (ACOs) & ACO Reach programs
- Hospital-at-home programs
- Private pay via home health
- Employee health self-pay
- Payer plan
- Hospice and palliative care
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has a set reimbursement rate for all medical services and equipment covered under Medicare. This includes a wide range of RPM and telehealth services. For CHF patients, reimbursements under chronic care management are also applicable.
Optimize your Medicare reimbursement with these CPT Codes:
Success Story: Hackensack University Medical Centre and Holy Name Hospital
Hospitals in New Jersey are losing around $25,000 for CHF readmissions.
Hackensack and Holy Name partnered with HRS to launch a multidisciplinary study to evaluate the impact of an advanced practice nurse (APN)-directed patient education program on heart failure treatment. In the study, a group of patients was equipped with an interactive 4G android tablet to monitor their vitals and adherence, as well as to educate them on their symptoms and treatment plan.
Patients equipped with the tablet had an 8% readmission rate, while patients who did not receive the tablet had a 28% readmission rate. This allowed both practitioners to prevent five excess readmissions and reduce their Medicare penalty. Hackensack also:
- Reduced cardiac readmissions by 71%
- Increased medication adherence to 84%
- Achieved weight recording adherence of 89.82%
How HRS Helps
CHF continues to have the highest readmission rate in the United States. HRS’ RPM solution can help address these problems by providing a platform to monitor vital signs and symptoms and educate patients on medication adherence and lifestyle changes.
Want to learn how HRS solutions can help your CHF patients? Talk to a digital health expert today!