3 missteps to avoid when implementing remote patient monitoring

As you look to bring a new level of patient care to your office by implementing remote patient monitoring (RPM), there are pitfalls you will want to avoid to ensure that you, your staff, and your patients get the most out of using this digital health solution.

RPM devices are wearables that include trackers and sensors that capture and record patient health data outside of your office. Physicians can then use data the devices record to improve how the patient’s chronic disease is managed and to engage the patient in their own care.

The AMA’s Digital Health Implementation Playbook, created with the help of more than 80 health care and technology experts, offers key steps, best practices and resources for physicians to accelerate the adoption of remote patient monitoring with the plan to expand the Playbook to include additional digital health innovations in the future. Download the Playbook now.

For health care team members to take on the new RPM responsibilities efficiently, experts say it will most likely require changes to your office’s clinical protocols. One big thing to consider is how the EHR is used to simplify communication and ensure staff members have access to resources and clinically relevant remote patient monitoring data to execute and adapt patient care.

Properly update the workflow

Take time to understand and appreciate how the process will work from the health care team, patient and caregiver perspectives. Among the things you can do to best update the workflow:

  • Engage the implementation team, specifically an IT representative, to provide input on workflow design.
  • Document your existing workflow.
  • Identify updated procedures for remote patient monitoring. For example, patient identification; patient training; device management; data monitoring and analysis; interventions; billing.
  • Define clinically relevant data points and create protocols for how clinically relevant data will be identified and communicated to the appropriate care team members.
  • Ensure bandwidth to perform new responsibilities. Streamline procedures, automate, outsource, hire new staff.
  • Document a new workflow that incorporates the necessary changes across departments.
  • Develop resources to support and socialize the new workflow.

Address key requirements

Make sure your workflow addresses remote patient monitoring-specific requirements such as:

  • Engaging and educating patients, including identifying and enrolling patients, and fielding patient phone calls.
  • Managing devices, including distributing, tracking and cleaning, and calibrating devices. Monitoring data, which includes reviewing incoming data, and flagging areas of concern.
  • Managing clinical intervention, including making medical decisions based on the data and reaching out in emergency situations.
  • Coding and billing, including knowing codes available for remote patient monitoring and integrating CPT codes into your EHR.

Protect doctors from data influx

As the workflow is being designed make sure there is a process to quickly identify medical relevant data that requires a physician’s attention so that they aren’t inundated with an overwhelming amount of data. That can be done by, among other things:

  • Defining protocols and empowering staff to work at the top of their medical licenses.
  • Using your vendor as a resource for data screening and analysis.
  • Partnering with a third-party to identify clinically relevant data points and escalate based on protocols.

The AMA Digital Health Implementation Playbook also includes guidance and resources on how to prepare the care team for implementation through technical training and detailed review of new workflows.

In addition, the Playbook covers how to empower patients to contribute to their own health care. Patient education and preparation are necessary for successful implementation and use of RPM.