Leaving money on the table?
Already effective as of January 1, 2018, the unbundling of CPT code 99091 by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) means that eligible practitioners can bill to receive separate reimbursement for remote care services.
It is important to make note that telehealth and remote patient monitoring are considered entirely two separate services by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid due to the absence of a direct provider-patient interaction.
The best practices to receive the reimbursement per CMS include:
- Use of digital tools providing ongoing guidance and assessments for patients outside of
the in-office visit
- Use health technology platforms and devices that collect patient data as part of an
“active feedback loop”
- Platforms and devices used must be “endorsed and offered clinically by care teams to
patients to automatically send ongoing guidance (one way).”
- Technologies must be able to collect and transmit PGHD in real-time
What is RPM (Remote Patient Monitoring)?
RPM uses digital technologies to collect health data from individuals, whether on-site or remote, and securely transmit that information electronically to health care providers at another location to closely monitor medical conditions and, if need be, intervene.
RPM technology can compile a large set of health data from the point of care, such as vital signs, weight, blood pressure, blood sugar, blood oxygen levels, heart rate, and electrocardiograms.
“According to the National Broadband Plan drafted earlier this year by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the use of remote patient monitoring technology in conjunction with electronic health records (EHR) could save the health care industry $700 billion over 15 to 20 years.”
Source: SearchHealthIT: RPM; Nov 2014
Clinical studies show that remote monitoring can lower healthcare costs by reducing the number of in-hospital device evaluations, hospital admissions, the length of stay per cardiac hospitalization, and follow-up office visits.
How mobile health technology is improving healthcare
The appeal of mobile applications to physicians is that apps are easily integrated into their workflow delivering information when and where they need it. Mobile health technology use is changing the element of provider and patient interactions and devices are performing functions formerly done by visiting nurses making healthcare delivery no longer limited to face-to-face encounters. This helps to improve patient outcomes, access to care, and overall help make the health systems more cost effective.
Agnity Healthcare’s MobileCare Monitor provides healthcare providers with access to patients via remote monitoring devices. It is designed for clinicians, patients, and other caregivers who are notified through alerts if any vital measurements are out of range.
The benefits of MobileCare Monitor include:
- Allowing patients to maintain independence by receiving care from wherever they are
- Early detection of complications reducing emergency room visits
- Connecting patients and enabling collaboration with everyone in their circle of care
- Faster decision making and higher patient satisfaction
- Enhancing reimbursement potential by meeting CMS, MU, and ACO standards
- Seamless integration with all applications on the Agnity MobileCare Enterprise platform
MobileCare Enterprise™ provides a cloud-based contextual communication solution on a single device to everyone in the patient’s circle of care. It significantly reduces the response time among the care team and eliminates communication related medical errors leading to better patient outcomes; faster decision making and higher patient satisfaction; and improved nurse to physician communications, productivity, and satisfaction.
Agnity MobileCare provides instant and secure communications (text, voice, video) and collaboration to mobile and web devices utilized by the hospital staff and affiliates; independent of communications and IT infrastructure. Nurses, physicians, and staff can have immediate access to data and quickly locate and securely communicate with anyone in the patient’s circle of care. Support staff can also have a communications tool, without access to protected data, to more effectively communicate inside and outside the facility.
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“The Relationship Between Level of Adherence to Automatic Wireless Remote Monitoring and Survival in Pacemaker and Defibrillator Patients”, a 2015 study, examined the relationship between survival and adherence to remote patient monitoring in pacemaker and defibrillator patients. The researchers studied 269,471 patients who received pacemakers, implantable cardioverterdefibrillators, or cardiac resynchronization therapy, noting their weekly use and all-cause survival following implantation. The results showed that those who spent more time using remote monitoring had higher survival rates than those who did not use remote monitoring, providing evidence that increased use of remote monitoring can improve patient outcomes.
A study in BMC Cancer found that technology can be used to deliver cancer follow-up at home, safely and effectively. Other research suggests that, by facilitating the early detection and management of symptoms and patient deterioration, digital health technologies may play an important role in creating more efficient and sustainable healthcare systems. Unsurprisingly, global sales of wearable self-monitoring health products are skyrocketing. According to a report from BCC Research, they will reach $18.8 billion by 2019. Yet, Philips’ 2016 Future Health Index research recently revealed that 40 per cent of cancer survivors do not own or use connected health devices, which suggests that many may be missing out on the benefits offered by technology.
Source: FutureHealthIndex, Feb 2017
NEUROLOGY- Remote monitoring can be a sound and responsive way to assess physical activity in people with moderate to severe neurological disability including multiple sclerosis, stroke, Parkinson’s Disease, dementia, traumatic brain injury, and ataxia.
ENDOCRINOLOGY- Gadgets can monitor users’ vitamin D and testosterone levels, fertility, inflammation levels, glucose levels as well as diagnose flu via analysis of saliva, blood, or mucous.
PAIN MANAGEMENT- In the pain management field, smartphone apps are being used to track patients from a distance and monitor pain, mood, physical activity, drug side effects, and treatment compliance.