As the population continues to trend older, senior care is taking on a greater importance than ever before for healthcare organizations. With the number of seniors set to exceed people aged 18 and younger by 2034 — a first in United States history — the ability to offer high-quality senior care services is now an urgent need for many providers.
The good news is that, with telehealth technology like remote patient monitoring (RPM), it’s now easier and more cost effective than ever before to provide world-class senior care services. As pointed out by the Center for Technology and Aging, RPM can help enhance senior care by improving:
- Health outcomes for patients,
- The efficiency with which organizations/facilities can effectively care for seniors, leading to lower costs through reduced hospitalizations and streamlined workflows, and
- Patient satisfaction by empowering seniors to age in place.
3 ways RPM improves senior care services
Each of these benefits offered by RPM can have a major impact on a facility’s ability to offer competitive senior care services in ways that often overlap, but which still offer distinct advantages.
#1: How RPM can help improve health outcomes
By collecting and tracking important patient data with the use of remote devices, RPM gives providers access to more immediate, higher-quality patient data than ever before — from vital signs like respiratory rate and body temp to other critical indicators like weight and blood glucose levels. That, in turn, fuels decision making that’s better informed and more aligned with each patient’s specific needs.
Get a closer look at RPM devices and how they drive improvements in patient care.
The ability to keep a closer watch on a moment-to-moment basis is a powerful tool for any kind of patient care. But with seniors, who are likelier to be high risk, it’s even more impactful. “While chronic disease, post-acute care and injuries are not limited to this population, older adults are disproportionately affected by such problems,” as the Center for Technology and Aging has pointed out.
For these patients, remote monitoring and the collection of higher-quality data can enable the kind of “proactive intervention” that “can delay or reduce disease progression,” as Sarah Carroll, senior director of the Center for Care Transformation at AVIA, told HealthITNews. “Done well, remote patient monitoring can reduce the risk of avoidable hospital visits, long stays and readmissions.”
A sophisticated RPM system can expand this advantage by letting providers see larger trends that may otherwise be difficult to notice. Applying advanced analytics to all that patient data can improve not just the treatment of individual patients but entire populations. And emerging tools like artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are poised to take this ability even further in the years to come.
Take a deeper dive into how RPM enables population health management solutions
#2: How RPM can help lower costs and boost efficiency
Better outcomes usually come with another bonus for healthcare organizations — the potential to cut some key operational costs. “We’ve estimated that for every 500 high-risk Medicare patients with multiple chronic conditions, health systems can realize $5.2 million in annual cost savings” with remote patient monitoring,” as Carroll explained in the HealthITNews interview.
With more proactive monitoring and intervention, providers can keep patient conditions from deteriorating and ward off the onset of comorbidities. The result? Fewer visits to the emergency room (and the costs associated with that). It also means fewer hospitalizations in general, which helps keep occupied bed counts under control, too — especially in intensive, high-cost settings.
Reducing utilization can also put organizations in better standing with Medicare and other insurers, which could help boost referrals for additional senior care services. As the National Bureau of Economic Research points out, “per capita health care spending for the elderly is substantially higher” than the general population. And it’s to control these costs that CMS rewards facilities that successfully deliver value-based care — a goal that RPM has helped many to achieve.
In addition, RPM can help make the day-to-day life of clinicians easier to manage and less burdensome by connecting patients with doctors and care teams via remote communications like phone or video visits. The result could be productivity growth that further enhances an organization’s bottom line, while helping to protect against burnout or compassion fatigue (both of which have surged since Covid-19).
#3: How RPM can help improve the patient experience in senior care services
The healthcare industry is evolving “under conditions of intense competition in approaching health prevention, protection, and promotion,” according to a study published in the Journal of Medicine and Life. “Therefore, healthcare providers are challenged to always ensure better patient experience, winning patients’ satisfaction, and loyalty and remain competitive on today’s healthcare market.”
In other words, the patient experience has become a priority in healthcare delivery, and senior care services are no exception to this mandate. RPM goes far toward meeting this demand by giving seniors something they truly value — the ability to age in place. According to an AARP survey, “nearly 80 percent of adults age 50 and older … say they want to remain in their communities and homes as they age.”
By letting them receive the bulk of their care at home, RPM can help drive engagement and satisfaction among senior populations. Fewer trips to the hospital or doctor’s office means time and money saved. And the widespread availability of virtual visits means these patients can still be actively engaged at all times, helping to ensure the a high quality of senior care services while they age at home.
Thanks to the ability of RPM to manage chronic conditions, even high-risk patients can be safely treated at home. As we’ve seen, chronic illness is common among seniors. And RPM is uniquely equipped to provide care for these patients — in fact, chronic care was the primary use of remote patient monitoring before the pandemic. And it continues to play that role today, even as its other uses continue to expand.
Learn more about how RPM can improve the care for chronic diseases
Take a deeper dive with the CareSimple Ultimate Guide to RPM
Of course, not all RPM platforms are created equally! The best of them don’t just assume higher rates of engagement, efficiency and outcomes, but work to pursue these goals with a robust, customized design, along with options for staff training, patient education, and more.
As a leading provider of RPM solutions, CareSimple is at the forefront of this movement, offering everything organizations need to set up an RPM program that actually gets results. And we’ve documented that expertise not only here at the CareSimple blog, but with our new Ultimate Guide to Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM), offered free of charge here at CareSimple.com.
From basic definitions to a detailed look at technology, reimbursement, costing and more, the CareSimple Ultimate Guide to RPM has everything you need to get a handle on this critical aspect of care delivery — for senior care services, among other opportunities for patient care.
And if you’re looking for more information on finding an RPM platform that can deliver senior care services customized to your organization’s precise needs, we’re standing by to help! Contact us today to connect with a CareSimple expert.