We’re only a couple of months into 2022, but we’re already seeing some exciting progress on the use of remote therapeutic monitoring. New CPT® Codes extending reimbursement to remotely-delivered therapeutic services are now in effect. Some enterprising providers have already seized the opportunity to extend their services, and are even reporting some exceptional early patient stories!
Jessica Jaros is Vice President of Clinical Operations for Qorum Partners, a virtual care service provider that uses the CareSimple platform for remote therapeutic monitoring (RTM) as well as remote patient monitoring (RPM). She’s also a registered respiratory therapist with 15 years of clinical experience.
As a seasoned RT and an enterprising clinical leader, Jessica took the initiative to utilize the new CPT codes to launch a new RTM pilot program for some of her respiratory patients. And after just a few weeks, she was excited to share the “tremendous progress” with the CareSimple Blog.
RTM: Initial Response from Real Patients
Patient Story #1
Patient #1 is a 75-year-old woman with severe COPD and just one lung. A daily cigarette smoker, she had been struggling with respiratory issues and energy levels, taking about 45 minutes to walk the three-quarters of a mile distance to her mailbox.
After just three weeks on remote therapeutic monitoring with Jessica, the patient reported remarkable improvements. She managed to completely quit smoking since joining the RTM program. Her walk to the mailbox now takes just 25 to 30 minutes — around half the time as before. And her inspiratory volume doubled from 2000mL (2L) to 4000ml (4L), which she now pursues as a daily goal.
“I feel like a new person,” she told Jessica.
Motivated by her success, this patient has set her sights on another personal goal. Using RTM and the modified breathing exercises she learned from Jessica, she now has the confidence to take on “her biggest trigger” — regularly walking up and down her ramp at home, without becoming short of breath.
Patient Story #2
Starting Jessica’s RTM program with severe COPD, congestive heart failure and oxygen dependency, patient #2, a 74-year-old woman, was unable to walk for more than five minutes unassisted. She hadn’t been able to perform any household chores in more than 2 years, and hadn’t reached the upstairs of her home in more than a decade.
During her third-week progress report, patient #2 said she felt more active, and had even climbed the 22 steps to the second floor of her home twice in a single day — something she said she wouldn’t have even attempted before. She’s also started doing household tasks like sweeping the floor, and said she felt less anxiety. Her inspiratory volume went from 500mL (.5L) to 1500mL (1.5L), a 200% increase.
“I feel more active than I have in years!” she raved.
She also told Jessica that she likes the feeling of accomplishment that she’s getting with the remote therapeutic program, and feels motivated to continue to work hard on improving her quality of life.
Patient Story #3
Patient #3, a 61-year-old male, began Jessica’s pilot program with severe COPD and congestive heart failure. A smoker of five or six cigarettes a day, he relied on the use of a rescue inhaler five times a day. The only exercise he managed to get was some light walking.
During the third week of his remote therapeutic monitoring program, patient #3 had decreased his smoking habit to two cigarettes per day, cutting his intake by more than half. He had also reduced the use of his rescue inhaler to three times per day and has begun exercising with a 10-pound kettlebell four times a week. His inspiratory volume increased from 1600mL (1.6L) to 2250mL (2.25L), or almost 30%.
“I am noticing a small change in the improvement of my breathing,” he told Jessica.
Patient #3 also let Jessica know that he is now able to feel his medication working, and doesn’t feel short of breath as often as before.
Hitting Therapeutic Goals with RTM
These accomplishments come within the context of the larger pilot program that Jessica is conducting with 15 initial patients suffering from chronic respiratory conditions. She kicked off the program on February 1 by making sure her patients understood the key goals, which include:
- Decreasing the work of breathing and improving lung function
- Weaning patients from supplemental oxygen
- Improving stamina and tolerance for exercise
- Improving walking time and achievable distance
- Improving the ability to perform daily quality-of-life activities
- Limiting or eliminating breathing-related anxiety or stress
- Improving inspiratory and expiratory flow
- Decrease the number of days or stays in hospital
- Living an enriched and improved life
Jessica and her team also make sure that patients understand other aspects of their treatment, such as knowing what their meds are, and why it’s important to take them as prescribed. And another key goal that’s becoming more important with the use of RTM: understanding what your medical devices are for, and how to use and clean them.
The success of her patients after just a few weeks on the program is a testament to the effectiveness of Jessica’s goal-oriented approach. It’s also an exciting indication of what’s possible with the new codes for reimbursement of remote therapeutic monitoring services.
For her part, Jessica tells us she’s excited at the progress these three patients have made, and is eager to see what happens in the weeks to come.
“THIS is why I got into healthcare,” she told us. “Seeing these improvements on patients, just makes it all worth it. If we’ve made these improvements in just three weeks, just imagine the progress and improvements with patients on our program for several months!”
RTM Patient Stories: Stay Tuned for Updates
If you’re as excited as we are to track progress like this, or are looking to hear more about these and other remote therapeutic monitoring patient stories, stay tuned to the CareSimple blog — you’ll hear it here first! And if you have any other questions about the use of the CareSimple RTM platform, contact us here to get in touch.
And if you’re seeking more hands-on info on reimbursement for RTM, RPM, CCM and related CPT codes, we invite you to download our free “Reimbursement Tree” guide, a convenient, one-page summary of the new CMS reimbursement codes.