Remote patient monitoring (RPM) is at its most effective when data can be tracked, monitored, and analyzed for multiple patients, those patients feel comfortable using their devices and communicating with physicians, and clinicians can more easily make improvements to treatment plans while being freed up to continue important work like procedures and surgeries. To accomplish this, organizations need to carefully consider their options for the full technology suite available to them. Because, while you can deploy RPM devices individually or use them as bespoke tools, their capabilities are greatly enhanced when connecting them with remote patient monitoring software.
Let’s take a closer look at the software, systems, and technologies that form the foundation of RPM and explore how they’re evolving care management services at scale.
Building an RPM ecosystem
A crucial factor in the success of RPM is how interoperable the technologies are. According to a research article published by BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making:
“the lack of interoperability between health information systems reduces the quality of care provided to patients and wastes resources. Accordingly, there is an urgent need to develop integration mechanisms among the various health information systems.”
Interoperability, as defined by TechTarget, is the ability of different systems and devices to connect and communicate with one another without manual effort from the user. In healthcare, this seamless exchange of data is crucial to:
Simplifying and automating workflows
Improving both the amount of data available and the speed at which that data can be accessed
Organizing information clearly, concisely, and comprehensively
Increasing the effectiveness of communication between health professionals and patients
Reducing medical errors
Enhancing the coordination and continuity of care
However, many health information systems are proprietary, differ from one institution to another, or are so outdated they can’t interoperate with modern software. This is why it’s important to consider interoperability when adopting RPM solutions.
Ideally, your devices should be part of a wider RPM ecosystem — one with software that can integrate, connect, and interoperate with your electronic health record (EHR) technology, fueling seamless data exchange that saves users time and informs better, faster decision-making.
Types of RPM software
Remote patient monitoring software can support both acute and chronic care and several care models, including post-discharge support, chronic care management, virtual care management, and more. As such, you may first want to define what type of medical care you need to deliver.
For example, RPM software can be designed to address specific patient populations, such as pregnant women, cardiac patients, patients with chronic illnesses, or those who need continuous vital sign tracking.
You can also choose from different software models, including a one-time purchase model, a subscription-based model, or a fully integrated partner model.
With one-time-purchase software you are essentially on your own, so it may not be an optimal choice if you don’t have in-house technical expertise to integrate and leverage the software effectively. Once the software becomes outdated or unsupported (which can be a security concern), you will need to invest in new software, so this option has low longevity.
With subscription-based software you have to pay regular fees and renewals to enjoy the continuous maintenance of and the latest updates to the software, but you won’t have to worry about the software becoming outdated/unsupported. That said, it may require some in-house technical expertise for upkeep and customization.
With a fully integrated partner you receive a wider range of support, which can provide deeper customization and interoperability with other systems without the need for in-house technical expertise. In this model, the software is able to grow and scale with you, and you’ll have a partner who can tailor the software to your specific needs.
RPM software features
RPM software can have a variety of features, including:
• Alerts, notifications, and reminders that help the care team provide escalation services when needed and assist patients in adhering to their medication and treatment plans
• Data analysis and predictive modeling that helps clinicians identify and track condition trends and provide decision support
• Embedded compliance and security to ensure all regulations and standards are met and all patient data is secure and private
• Caseload management to better organize patients with groups, tags, filters, assigned users, and more
• Automatic patient onboarding to simplify the patient experience and boost the speed and ease of adoption
• Automatic reports that provide the care team with regular and easily accessible summaries of patient data
• Time tracking to keep track of how much time is spent monitoring and interacting with patients, which can feed directly into billing
• Charting and note-taking templates to speed up reviews of patient data
• Pre-configured billing to charge against reimbursement codes automatically, saving time spent on manual inputs
• EHR integration, including near-real-time data syncing with direct-to-cloud connectivity, so patient data is always as up to date as possible and across systems
• Educational content and resource hubs to help patients learn more about their condition and encourage self-ownership of their health
• Customizable workflows to ensure operational efficiency and optimal resource provisioning
• Virtual communication in the form of messaging via an app or text, audio telehealth calls, videoconferencing, and more to cultivate regular patient/provider check-ins and better patient engagement
• Wireless connectivity, either via Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, or cellular data (the ideal option), for immediate and automatic remote data syncing, regardless of location
With all this diversity at play, you’ll want to spend time identifying and prioritizing what type of software and features you need.
How RPM software can advance care delivery
Fully comprehensive and interoperable remote patient monitoring software advances care delivery in many ways. It:
• Opens up access to more patients. Virtual care management and remote monitoring can enable providers to extend their services to those in the most rural areas.
• Centralizes patient data. A single source of truth is critical to ease of use and empowers providers to quickly access whatever information they need at a moment’s notice.
• Enables clinicians to monitor many patients simultaneously. With all patient data neatly organized, synced in near-real time, and stored in a central access point, clinicians can better provision their resources and free up beds while still taking on and caring for more patients.
• Automates routine tasks. Without the burden of manual data entry, clinicians are freed to focus on more strategic tasks.
• Improves care coordination. When RPM software integrates into your EHR system and interoperates across technologies, all patient data is up to date for the entire care team, promoting more coordinated care decisions.
• Simplifies patient engagement. Patients able to regularly connect and communicate with their physicians will feel more engaged and empowered to stick to their treatment/medication plans.
• Delivers better insights. RPM software with data analysis tools can enable providers to make more timely decisions in the short and long term, helping avoid readmissions and escalations.
• Enhances overall care quality. When all these factors work in concert, it results in an overall boost to care quality — from stronger patient-provider relationships to superior care decision-making driven by wider, deeper data collection and analysis.
Setting up for RPM success
Before selecting and implementing an RPM solution, consider the following steps to ensure everyone can maximize its benefits:
1. Identify what you need from an RPM solution. What systems must it interoperate with? What level of data collection and analysis will you require? What features are must-haves?
2. Conduct comprehensive vendor evaluations. Choosing the right partner is critical for success. Ensure the one you select offers software that can integrate with your other health systems and provides all the services you need.
3. Develop a detailed workflow and timeline for implementation. Collaborate with your partner to understand how long the implementation process will take, identify who will need to be involved (and the tasks they’ll need to complete), and outline milestones all the way through setup and deployment.
4. Train the care team. Conduct in-depth training sessions to ensure the care team fully understands how to use the software, take advantage of its features, and quickly troubleshoot and solve any issues that arise.
5. Prepare the patient experience and onboarding workflow. Make sure the patient knows exactly what steps they need to take to enter the RPM system and start using their devices. The process should be as simplified as possible, so anyone — regardless of technical savvy — can partake.
6. Consider the post-implementation phase and future growth. Can the software scale with growth, and if so, what is the process? Mapping that out early with your vendor can help avoid obstacles and fuel seamless growth in the long term.
When set up for success, remote patient monitoring software can form the foundation for effective and scalable remote care management. It can help boost data access and analysis, elevate care management services, enhance patient health outcomes, and more.
Looking to learn more about what type of RPM software is right for you? Contact CareSimple today and discover how we can help.