When it comes to finding the right remote patient monitoring software for your telehealth program, the process can be daunting. How do you know which features matter and which features don’t? How do you evaluate if a vendor will be the right fit for your needs?
Throughout this process, your research may have unearthed more questions than it answers–like what is synchronous vs. asynchronous telehealth? How does bidirectional data work? What Bluetooth peripherals will support your patient population? How do you choose a patient population for your program?
To make it easy for you, we’ve broken down the key factors to consider when evaluating a remote patient monitoring software.
Bidirectional Data Flow
EMR integration is arguably one of the most important features to consider when it comes to evaluating remote patient monitoring software. When clients begin working with us, it's usually the number one question on their minds. If your vendor doesn’t integrate with your EMR platform, you won’t be able to run a successful program. So, what does EMR integration look like and how can it serve your needs?
First off, the ability to integrate with an EMR for bidirectional data flow is incredibly important. What we mean by bidirectional data flow is the two-way communication in which systems send and receive data–in this case, it’s the remote patient monitoring platform and the EMR system. When the EMR and RPM software are integrated, they communicate with one another through a bidirectional workflow. This enables clinicians to interact with a single platform rather than duplicating work on both.
This benefits organizations by enhancing provider efficiency while empowering them to make data-driven decisions, facilitating quicker diagnoses, decreasing prescribing errors, and as a result, improving patient outcomes. EMR integration bridges the gap between telehealth and patient data.
From a workflow and patient management perspective, this bidirectional flow helps clinicians do their jobs better and more efficiently.
The EMR integration process can be complicated and difficult. It’s important for healthcare organizations to already have a technical team in place to help support this process; if that’s not the case, you will want to make sure the vendor you’re working with has a designated team that can support implementing the new RPM product.
Moreover, you want a vendor that can not only implement the integration but help deepen it. This can help you get more value and data out of your reporting. For example, through HRS’ medication interface and integration with Epic, clinicians can quickly review patient medications flowing from Epic and update medication lists all from within HRS’ clinical portal.
Not only does the EMR integration have a technical component, but a financial one as well. With the proper data reporting, you can give a comprehensive picture of scores and performance to supply to CMS, which allows you to get reimbursed for your remote patient monitoring programs.
Ideally, your vendor will act not only as a technology supplier, but a full-service advisor as well. A good vendor will devote time and energy to improve your integration and come back to you with new ideas and ways to deepen your integrations.
Workflows and Communication
Being in the middle of a clinical nursing shortage, budgets are tight for a lot of healthcare organizations. They need to maximize staff time and efficiency. Therefore, when it comes to remote patient monitoring software, you will want tools that help elevate workflows from a clinical standpoint. The key to this is streamlined communication.
Communication unifies the patient and provider. It’s important that clinicians not only have the ability to send messages to patients via email and text, but that they can also support virtual visits by either phone or video, especially considering that virtual visits are necessary for reimbursement.
Not only is patient and provider communication important, but communication between members of the care team is important as well. If one of your nurses has a day off, everyone needs to know exactly where to pick up, what was done, and where you’re leaving the care so that the next person can very easily, without digging in too much, know exactly how to care for the patient.
Last but not least, your platform needs to be adept at sending patient risk alerts. You need to be able to spend your time on the patients that need it most, and therefore, your platform must notify you of the sickest and highest risk patients. You’ll want a dashboard that can quickly and easily show you your highest risk patients.
Reporting, Data, & Dashboards
Ideally, your RPM software should be flexible and customizable to your needs. You’ll want the platform to support different people’s thinking, processes, and be able to have everyone always know and have all the information available to them.
The dashboard should have an overview that lets your clinicians pull in just what they need to see and have that saved somewhere. It should be easy to read. Clinicians should be able to log in and see a quick overview of their most at-risk patients. They should be able to say, “here are 16 high-risk patients in the red that need immediate attention, and here are the 20 patients total that will need attention today.” Allowing clinicians to sort and prioritize their patients’ needs is one of the keys to success.
Moreover, a dashboard should provide a comprehensive, flexible, and organized structure for clinicians. Your team shouldn’t have to take the extra time to provide and think through the organization of your dashboards; ideally, your vendor will be the experts in this area and provide you with proven best practices.
Reporting and Data
The patient data and analytics should not only show value for your organization, but it should also propel it forward. The question here becomes: what reporting and actionable data can you get to help influence and grow your program?
To start, your reports should help your organization identify gaps. Having a comprehensive support team from your vendor can not only help you identify these gaps but help give you insights on how to close them. The best vendors are the ones that are your advisors—your full-service partners—as much as they are supporters.
Lastly, reports tie back to integrations as well, and its why the EMR integration component is so important–if you’re integrated deeply enough, you can see, for example, if Length of Stay (LOS) is decreasing because you’re able to get someone out of the hospital and in RPM. You should be able to see if readmissions are being reduced because of your program. You should be able to see if medication adherence is improving over time for your telehealth patients. In other words, your vendor should be able to help you see if your programs are truly successful.
The last component of RPM software features to be aware of is cybersecurity. The more secure your platform is, the better. For one thing, everyone needs to be conscious of PHI and HIPAA compliance. For another, your vendor should also be SOC-2 compliant and certified. You want to make sure that you can’t break into and out of your tablets and that no one else can break in.
Want to learn more about Remote Patient Monitoring Software?
From working with over 400 US Health System clients and monitoring over 400,000 patients on our platform, we know a thing or two about how RPM software works, what makes it successful, and what doesn’t. If you’d like to work with us, book a demo to learn more about our products and offerings.