As cases of COVID-19 continue to rise, it is likely that practices across the country will implement a mix of in-person and telehealth visits for the foreseeable future. Proven as a crucial resource throughout the pandemic, remote care solutions are here to stay long after COVID-19. Why? When most states implemented stay-at-home orders, telehealth filled a need to deliver care without face-to-face interactions while also proving it can work well as part of the healthcare system.
Among the numerous benefits they offer, telehealth solutions, like telemedicine, chronic care management (CCM) and remote patient monitoring (RPM), can assist providers in their virtual practice engagement. They do this by offering an opportunity to deliver care remotely, retain patient volume and improve clinical and financial outcomes.
Adopting Telehealth Solutions for Your Practice
What is chronic care management (CCM)?
CCM is a program that offers personalized care for patients who participate in Medicare and live with two or more chronic conditions. These conditions can include asthma, arthritis, high blood pressure, heart disease, or diabetes. Eligible patients can receive up to 60 minutes of remote care management monthly from a qualified healthcare provider.
With CCM, patients receive consistent touch points from nurses who can help address health concerns or complications earlier when they are easier to treat, or even prevent. These calls, which occur in-between office visits, help patients increase their focus on their health, and identify, and act on, personalized preventative care measures.
What is remote patient monitoring (RPM)?
RPM is a technology-enabled service that includes the medical monitoring of patients between office visits. Patients can self-report their health data with devices that then relay that information to their provider and care team so they can monitor vitals such as blood glucose levels, blood pressure, weight.
This then gives providers greater insight of their patients’ health with chronic conditions and the ability to catch potential health concerns sooner. Access to this data also gives their care the capability to suggest better goals and interventions while assisting patients in reaching their goals.
Patients receive up to 20 minutes of clinical time with a healthcare provider as part of this program.
Ensuring Safety for High-Risk Populations
Ensuring safety for both patients and healthcare staff is one of the main priorities physicians share surrounding practice recovery. One way to ensure the safety of high-risk populations can be deciding which visits should take place in-person or telehealth beforehand. This can be especially helpful since these patient populations may have conditions that need to be addressed and managed but could be concerned about whether to visit in-person.
Communicating these changes with proactive outreach can help avoid overwhelming patients and ease them through the transition of the practice’s new workflow. Establishing these expectations can also assist in delivering care to high-risk populations who may be postponing office visits. Not only will they still receive the care they need, but providers can then focus their in-person visits on the ones who need it most.
How CCM and RPM Solutions Benefit Patients
Since March 2020, half of 1,800 patients who participated in a poll by Doctor.com had used telehealth services within the last three months and 83% expected to continue to use it even after COVID-19, according to Patient Engagement HIT. This shows a growing positive trend of patient sentiment towards the solution.
With the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommending the “continued use of telehealth to reduce the risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission,” many providers found solutions such as CCM and RPM can be good alternatives to in-person visits, especially for their high-risk populations.
RPM has been proven to have the following benefits:
- The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center reduced the risk of hospital readmissions by 76%
- Its program also had over 90% on patient satisfaction scores
- Participants in a health plan with an RPM program experienced 51% fewer on-call urgent visits, 47% fewer physician visits and 41% fewer phone calls directly related to patient care.
CCM has been proven to have these benefits:
- An increase in preventative care measures including 3x more Flu vaccinations and 2x more Pneumococcal vaccinations
- Increased participation in preventative care measures by up to 50%
- Diabetes patients with an A1c level above 9.0% decreased from 9.2%, to a notably low 7.0%
With nearly 60% of Americans living with one or more chronic conditions, chronic illness is one of America’s leading drivers of healthcare costs as well as the foremost cause of death and disability. In fact, nearly 90% of national healthcare spending going towards chronic disease management and mental healthcare, according to Health Payer Intelligence.
With solutions like CCM and RPM, providers can address the incredible challenge that chronic illnesses bring upon the healthcare system long after the pandemic ends.
How CCM and RPM Solutions Benefit Practices
Since the onset of COVID-19, patient volume has dropped about 60% for practices across the country, causing about a 55% decrease in revenue, according to Medscape. With the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) currently paying for virtual visits at the same rate as in-person visits during the pandemic, several providers have adopted RPM and CCM.
These types of visits not only allow you the ability to advance patient outcomes but increase visibility into patient and population trends. It can also help build the relationship and rapport with your highest-risk patient population while they manage their conditions safely at home.
CCM and RPM can be effective solutions in helping patients successfully manage their long-term health concerns. Both grant providers greater visibility into their patients’ health, help improve practice compliance with value-based measures, and increase patients’ ease of access to wellness resources.
Wellbox, a population health management solution, has had a documented impact on the following financial and clinical outcomes with both CCM and RPM:
- A rise in preventative care measures including 3x more Flu vaccinations and 2x more Pneumococcal vaccinations
- A consistent participant satisfaction rate of 90-96%
- A total cost of care savings of 5.6%
- 85%+ engagement rate
- Reduced emergency room visits and hospitalizations by up to 70%
- Improved participation in preventative care measures by up to 50%
Wellbox offers RPM to enhance its CCM solution with real-time, actionable data and expand access to care to patients with chronic conditions who do not qualify for CCM. RPM strengthens endeavors to improve clinical and financial outcomes for patients, providers, and health systems.
Wellbox provides comprehensive preventative and remote care management solutions to high-risk, high-cost populations. Together with eMDs, Wellbox offers great ways for physicians to engage with patients and increase positive health outcomes. It does this by leveraging experienced registered nurses and cutting-edge technologies to provide solutions like Chronic Care Management and Remote Patient Monitoring. With Wellbox, patients receive more access to their care team and better manage their conditions and health progress.