After years of study and documentation, it’s becoming increasingly apparent that remote patient monitoring (RPM) is among the most efficient and effective tools available for chronic disease management for older adults — particularly those with diabetes, heart failure, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
That’s the conclusion reached in a new joint report from AHIP, the national association of America's Health Insurance Plans, and C-TAC, the Coalition to Transform Advanced Care. An influential political advocacy and trade group, AHIP’s support for telehealth and RPM is a significant indicator of the healthcare industry’s rapidly expanding acceptance of remote care in recent years.
The AHIP/C-TAC report outlines some key ways that RPM can be leveraged to reduce inefficiencies and cut costs in chronic disease management among older adults, along with case studies demonstrating its success. Thanks to its well-documented advantages to payers and providers alike, “remote patient monitoring has been growing in popularity among doctors and health insurance providers alike,” the report authors note.
“By promoting patient-centered care, real-time monitoring of patients in their homes has reduced hospitalizations and readmission rates,” they add. “Specifically when deployed among aging patients with chronic conditions, RPM can be used to monitor well-defined vitals and targets that allow health care professionals to quickly identify unusual activity or indicators outside of expected parameters. As a result, RPM can help ensure that health care resources are deployed to those patients most in need.”
Case Studies: RPM Offers Cost Savings & Reduced Hospitalizations to Chronic Disease Management Efforts
In a comprehensive summary of the report from Health Payer Intelligence, Thomas Beaton writes that RPM “has the potential to reduce hospitalizations and readmissions because it allows providers to observe a patient’s vitals and healthcare needs outside of hospital settings,” while encouraging a new system of healthcare delivery that “can reduce costs for both parties.”
The report itself documents a number of case studies that have seen RPM programs do just that, including:
- A health plan whose RPM program participants experienced 51% fewer on-call urgent visits, 47% fewer physician visits and 41% fewer phone calls directly related to patient care
- A health insurance provider that saved $3.30 for every $1 spent to implement an RPM program
- A health plan that found that RPM program participants had a 40% reduction in hospital readmissions among senior citizens
- An insurance provider whose Medicare members, when enrolled in a RPM program, were 76% less likely to be readmitted to a hospital
- Another health insurance provider that achieved a patient satisfaction rating of 94-97%
"Beyond promoting remote care that could be provided in the patient’s home, telehealth can also help avoid unnecessary and costly emergent or acute care, with an estimated savings of more than $6 billion annually,” the report authors conclude.
Chronic Disease Management in Action: The Mississippi Diabetes Telehealth Network
Compelling though they are, these are far from the first instances of real-world documentation of the benefits of RPM in chronic disease management. In 2014, the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC) collaborated with a network of local and national health technology leaders, including Care Innovations® to create the Mississippi Diabetes Telehealth Network.
With the Care Innovations Health Harmony RPM program serving as its foundation, the UMMC’s network has ranked up a series of remarkable accomplishments. Within its first year of implementation among just 100 patients, the Mississippi Diabetes Telehealth Network achieved:
- Zero rehospitalizations or emergency room visits
- 7% average A1C reduction
- A monthly cost savings of more than $28,000
So successful has the Mississippi Diabetes Telehealth Network shown itself in the treatment of diabetic patients that administrators were quick to announce an expansion of the platform to treat other chronic conditions. Federal policymakers have also expressed interest in using it as a model for a national telehealth network that would further expand RPM access into rural and remote communities.
“After seeing the success derived through our diabetes program with Care Innovations and the improvement in quality of life it provided for those enrolled, we are ready to extend the benefits to other chronically ill populations and healthcare organizations who share our vision of a healthcare system that extends into the home,” said UMMC CEO of University Hospitals and Health System Kevin Cook in a 2015 news release.
Those expansion efforts quickly met with similar success; UMMC Center for Telehealth executive director Michael Adcock told the Heartland Institute in 2018 that the expanded RPM program “has been shown to be effective in treating diabetes, congestive heart failure, hypertension, asthma, COPD, and many others.”
Got questions about how RPM can improve chronic disease management for your organization or facility? Our experts are standing by to answer them! Contact Care Innovations today to schedule a complimentary consultation.