Given the benefits of patient remote monitoring for patients and providers alike, it’s no surprise that the use of this technology is growing faster than ever. And that’s led to a rise in the demand medical devices like the RPM scale, which can be leveraged to better manage patients at home or in other applicable non-hospital settings.
So, just what is an RPM scale, exactly? Also known as a remote patient monitoring (RPM) weight scale, an RPM scale is a medical device that allows for the remote monitoring of a patient’s weight. As such, an effective RPM scale must be able to reliably provide accurate body weight readings and transmit that data securely and in near real-time to a physician or qualified care team.
Designed to enable an easy weight measurement in just seconds, an RPM scale can help instill a greater sense of ownership and engagement in patients. It can also give providers more timelier data into their patients’ day-to-day care, as well as the means to review more data in less time. And that can lead to better outcomes, lower costs and the increased patient satisfaction that comes from at-home care.
As a result of all this, there’s been a sharp uptick in the availability of products that can leverage this digital health technology in recent years. With that in mind, how can leaders and care providers make the best possible decision when choosing an RPM scale for their practice, facility or organization?
Choosing the best RPM scale: Understanding the many uses of patient remote monitoring
Especially since the COVID-19 pandemic began, the demand for at-home care by patients is greater than ever before. And thanks to recently revised CPT® Codes that offer higher levels of reimbursement for remote patient monitoring, demand for RPM devices like remote scales is growing among providers, too — and not just primary care physicians but also increasingly by specialists working in cardiology, endocrinology, nephrology, gastroenterology, neurology, OB/GYN, and other disciplines.
> What are the current CPT codes for RPM? Find out here.
Also called patient remote monitoring, RPM is a type of care management solution that leverages remote-care technology to enable effective patient care at home. By monitoring vital signs and other important info on a moment-to-moment basis and then transmitting that data back to the care team, RPM technology gives doctors and care teams the critical, timely insights they need to provide the highest possible quality of care to their patients.
In the past, the conditions most often treated with RPM programs have been high-risk chronic illnesses like hypertension, congestive heart failure (CHF) and type 2 diabetes — although the full range of chronic conditions, and possible use cases, goes far beyond this list to include chronic kidney disease, stroke recovery, prediabetic management, and many others.
To better accommodate this growing list of use cases, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has been increasingly authorizing the reimbursement of RPM along with other types of care management models. These include:
- Chronic care management (CCM), a model of care that reimburses treatment for patients with 2 or more chronic conditions. You can find the current CCM codes for 2022 here.
- Transitional care management (TCM), a model of care that reimburses treatment for patients with one medically complex condition during the first 30 days of their post-discharge period. Find the current TCM codes for 2022 here.
- Principal care management (PCM), which is used to treat patients with a single complex condition after the TCM period ends. Get the current 2022 PCM codes here.
> See more reimbursement codes that make use of RPM devices with the CareSimple 2022 Reimbursement Tree.
Even for patients without chronic or high-risk conditions, a remote patient monitoring scale can help provide helpful info for other important insights, such as body mass, weight fluctuations, and more. It can also serve as the focus point for obesity management and prevention strategies, which could help drive better long-term outcomes on a population-wide basis by working to prevent diseases associated with excess weight.
Choosing the best RPM scale: 6 factors to look out for
What, then, should doctors and care teams look for when choosing an RPM scale? Given the rapid advancements in technology, the best RPM scales can offer an impressive variety of features and benefits. At minimum, healthcare professionals and administrators should find an RPM scale that offers not just accurate weight measurements but also:
1. The simplest possible connectivity — ideally, built-in cellular-enabled technology that connects automatically to a cellular network and, unlike Bluetooth® or WIFI connectivity, doesn’t require patients to manually connect their device to a network.
2. Fast and secure data transmission capability to ensure that care teams get the info they need, when they need it — and, ideally, integrated into the electronic health or medical records (EHR/EMR) systems they already use, in as close to real time as possible.
3. Use within a larger patient remote monitoring platform to better integrate with existing care regimens, and to leverage data collected from compatible devices within the larger context of comprehensive care plans and long-term goals.
4. An accessible, easy-to-use interface/portal to ensure that data is not only quickly available but easily accessed and understood by care providers, and ideally with an up-to-date user app to help drive patient engagement, satisfaction and outcomes.
5. Patient-friendly and designed for out-of-the-box use: Patients should receive device kits that are pre-configured for immediate use, feature an easy, unintimidating UX, and, ideally, a sleek and lightweight design, with instant on and off functionality to preserve device and battery life.
6. FDA-registered — specifically, compliance with FCC Title 47, Part 15 (47 CFR 15).
Full disclosure: As a long-time innovator in the development of RPM devices and other medical solutions, we at CareSimple have skin in the game: Our RPM weight scale is designed to be the best in the business, offering all of the above plus the power to integrate with 85+ EHRs for the best in connected care. You can get all the details here, or learn more about RPM as a service here.
And if you have any other questions about using RPM for the benefit of the patients under your care, we invite you to contact us today to connect to a CareSimple specialist.
Request a sample today and see for yourself how our RPM scale and other medical devices can empower your organization to drive better outcomes.