The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed the healthcare system on its head. Patients are under pressure and are looking for real-time healthcare guidance from the providers. To restrain the fear of increased healthcare-related concerns within the effects of social distancing, there is an increase in patient’s demand for risk-free care. Therefore, having virtual capabilities can help engage patients with right empathetic information at the right time to help mitigate any confusion, anxiety, and the risk behind it.
In the event of pandemics such as COVID-19, when patients need their providers the most, healthcare organizations and clinicians are facing their biggest hurdles in patient outreach. However, vitual visit capabilities like telehealth and remote monitoring have proved to be valuable tools to help healthcare professionals triage incoming cases based on each patient’s condition.
The COVID-19 pandemic has also introduced unexpected inabilities within the limits of the meaningful connection with patients in need. On top of this, healthcare teams are overworked, overwhelmed, and anxious about their well being and that of their loved ones too.
To impart risk-free quality healthcare, virtual solutions like Remote Patient Monitoring solution have played a crucial role in achieving vigilant supervision of patients while limiting caregivers’ direct exposure to COVID-19.
For providers, this is the prime time to hold on and accelerate the deployment of remote patient monitoring technology, to ensure that chronic conditions of existing patients are managed in a way that can improve outcomes and reduce the need for regular healthcare facility visits. From sophisticated sensors to advanced algorithms and artificial intelligence (AI), there are a variety of underlying technologies available to enable wearable medical devices collect and transmit accurate data to support virtual consultations and remote monitoring.
Deploying a new technology at the point of use can also be challenging for both providers and patients, but as the society becomes more technology-oriented, it won’t be that tough for patients as it was before. If patients are not much techno-friendly, and cannot utilize the solution themselves – then there is often a care network of family members or professionals who can assist them for the same.
For providers, connectivity challenges and ensuring that data is being collected reliably by the device can be solved with careful product design and simple set-up requirements. Recently, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) approved four Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) codes for the reimbursement of remote patient monitoring (RPM).
CPT codes for the provision of RPM include:
- CPT Code 99453: Remote monitoring of physiologic parameter(s) (e.g., weight, blood pressure, pulse oximetry, respiratory flow rate), initial; set-up and patient education on use of equipment. (Initial set-up and patient education of monitoring equipment)
- CPT Code 99454: Device(s) supply with daily recording(s) or programmed alert(s) transmission, each 30 days. (Initial collection, transmission, and report/summary services to the clinician managing the patient)
- CPT Code 99457: Remote physiologic monitoring treatment management services, clinical staff/physician/other qualified health care professional time in a calendar month requiring interactive communication with the patient/caregiver during the month; first 20 minutes
- CPT Code 99458: Each additional 20 minutes (List separately in addition to code for primary procedure)
- CPT Code 99091: Collection and interpretation of physiologic data (e.g., ECG, blood pressure, glucose monitoring) digitally stored and/or transmitted by the patient and/or caregiver to the physician or other qualified health care professional, qualified by education, training, licensure/ regulation (when applicable) requiring a minimum of 30 minutes, each 30 days.
Emerging use of wearables
When technology has been introduced to fashion statements, tech vendors are using rings, wristbands, earpieces, sensor patches, and wearable devices in their varied forms, which can provide continuous remote monitoring in an appropriate, and modest manner. Many of us are already using smartwatches that can track our daily activities and provide general wellness records. It’s not at all uncommon now for these smartwatches to keep tabs on key biometric signals, such as heart rate, blood-oxygen levels (SpO2), and body temperature.
Health-monitoring wearables provide another set of eyes and ears, so to speak, to healthcare professionals, enabling them to remotely keep tabs on their patients. This can be useful in a time such as now, when virtual consultation is experiencing a boom.
Here’s how RPM can benefit patient engagement during COVID-19
- Decreasing the risk of infection to other patients, community members, and healthcare workers.
- Patients get on-demand, quick and timely care, even without going to the hospital.
- Providing qualitative measurements of the patient’s health status to monitor infection.
- Helping ease the patient’s anxieties over disease progression when in isolation or social distancing.
- Patients can recover without getting hospitalized which helps with potential hospital bed shortage.
- Helping flatten the curve of the infected population so that the healthcare systems don’t get overwhelmed.
As the current pandemic unfolds, we will be seeing more and more healthcare organizations accelerating the deployment of the infrastructure needed for remote patient monitoring and also integrating virtual visit solutions into the healthcare providers’ electronic health record (EHR) systems.
If you are also looking to deploy one of the best Virtual Consultation Technology within your healthcare system then you can have a live demonstration of digital solutions provided by iPatientCare.
iPatientCare is rapidly extending its current solutions and creating new solutions to support healthcare organization’s response to covid-19 pandemic.