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Industry Trends RPM

Top 6 Remote Patient Monitoring Trends in 2024

Beth Osborne | 06 December 2023
7 minute read

As clinicians look for ways to improve patient outcomes while decreasing workloads, they seek innovative technology to be more data-driven. A key pillar is remote patient monitoring (RPM), which uses connected devices to transmit vital readings to physicians and care teams. With this information, you have more insight into the patient’s well-being and can deliver continuity of care outside the office visit. RPM isn’t a new approach, but it’s evolving regarding accessibility. So, what remote patient monitoring trends should you be aware of in 2024? 

The state of remote patient monitoring

RPM adoption has accelerated in the past few years, with the COVID-19 pandemic as a catalyst. As an extension of telehealth, chronic condition patients now have the means to take daily readings associated with diabetes, hypertension, obesity, COPD, chronic kidney disease, heart failure and many more. Physicians and care teams can then access these readings anytime.

With this patient data came new insights, allowing physicians to be proactive and extend care outside the clinical setting. The value of this information informs care plans, enables immediate intervention, and improves patient engagement.  

As a result, many different types of healthcare organizations recognize its value. According to a 2023 survey, nearly half of providers are offering RPM or plan to in the next year.

However, there have been challenges along the way. 

A key concern is implementing a program that could impact workloads. Setting up a program requires resources to onboard patients, monitor vitals, and interact with them. But the good news is that some RPM vendors offer onboarding and monitoring services that alleviate such burdens on in-house staff.

Reimbursement has also been a challenge for specific groups like FQHCs (Federally Qualified Health Centers) and RHCs (Rural Health Clinics). However, the 2024 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS) has some much-needed updates. The new rule will allow these organizations to bill using HCPCS code G0511. 

Beyond new reimbursement opportunities, other trends are shaping the future of remote patient monitoring.

RPM clinical monitoring services help bridge the gap in nursing shortages.

Nurses are in high demand in the U.S. Several things compound the issue. Burnout from the pandemic caused many to leave the profession. There is also a shortage of nursing school faculty, so new nurses have difficulty getting the education they need. A significant portion of the nursing workforce is also nearing retirement.  

A National Council of State Boards of Nursing study concluded that over 610,000 nurses would leave the profession by 2027.  

These shortages impact the healthcare ecosystem, and no one wants to put more on their plates. However, nurses are critical in remote patient monitoring. They play a crucial role in tracking vitals, escalating concerns, and communicating with patients.  

Organizations and practices can establish an RPM program without burdening their in-house staff by utilizing clinical monitoring services. Outsourcing the monitoring to licensed, experienced nurses has become the standard for scaling a successful RPM program. They become an extension of the in-house care team and deliver the 1:1 engagement that’s so important in remote patient monitoring. Patients receive the attention they need without increasing the workloads of your staff.

RPM expands to new specialties.

A few specialties have fueled the growth of RPM— internal medicine, cardiology, nephrology, endocrinology, and pulmonology. These practices treat high-risk chronic conditions, and monitoring vitals can make all the difference in improving their overall health and averting the need for emergency care. 

Other specialties now see the value and determine how they can use it with their patients. Some examples include: 

  • Geriatrics: An aging population means these clinicians have many chronic diseases they’re helping patients manage. Geriatric physicians can be more proactive in treatment strategies with patient-friendly connected devices. 
  • Bariatrics: Excess weight or obesity boosts the risk of death by anywhere from 22% to 91%, making it a leading cause of mortality. The health system considers it a major challenge, with surgery and FDA-approved medications becoming more common. Bariatric physicians rely on consistent weight data to track progress, which is possible through connected scales. 
  • Pain management: Chronic pain is a reality for many people. Those who treat them want more visibility into their daily lives, and RPM devices that track respiratory rates and blood pressure can help in adjusting treatments and medications.

Patient engagement continues to be crucial, and the right RPM solution can help.

Your patients need support and guidance when they enroll in a remote patient monitoring program. The entire process includes: 

  • Onboarding and education on how to use devices to take readings
  • Regular communication that’s easy and fast in multiple channels (e.g., calls, texts)
  • Automated reminders to encourage daily readings

Patient engagement and adherence bring improved health outcomes. A study on diabetic patients concluded “higher levels of patient activation and engagement with remote patient monitoring technology were associated with better glycemic control outcomes.”

RPM technology providers should support improved engagement. On the basic level, a platform should have built-in two-way communication tools. Automated notifications should be configurable for each patient. Further, look for an RPM solutions partner who can handle onboarding to ensure patients get all the information they need without straining your resources. 

Connected devices: cellular becomes the preferred option

Remote patient monitoring devices must be “connected,” which means they must use cellular data or Bluetooth.  

Cellular RPM devices are easy to use and automatically transmit data to the provider. As a result, they lead to higher adherence. There are no additional steps for the patient to connect the medical device to a data-transmitting platform. For example, with a cellular weight scale, a patient simply steps on and off, just like a regular scale.  

Bluetooth devices require a smartphone, an app, and an internet connection to transmit data. Many patients, especially seniors, find downloading the app, installing updates, and syncing the data overwhelming. Bluetooth devices frequently have lower rates of patient adherence and engagement compared to cellular devices. Reliable and uninterrupted internet access is a requirement for Bluetooth, while cellular has broader coverage and is the easiest to set up. The device is ready right out of the box.

Chronic disease in the U.S. is rising, and continuity of care is achievable through RPM.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 6 in 10 U.S. adults have a chronic disease. Additionally, 4 in 10 have two or more. As a result, it’s the leading cause of death and disability and a key driver in healthcare costs. Why are more people suffering? Diagnosis of these diseases is becoming faster, lifestyle risks are prevalent, and many people still don’t have adequate access to care. 

With more chronic conditions comes the need to manage them. They aren’t curable, only manageable, and RPM supports this. If more patients begin to use RPM, the clinical outcomes can be very positive, including: 

  • Hypertensive patients can see reduced blood pressure.
  • Diabetics can see a drop in A1C.
  • Patient emergency care and hospitalizations decrease. 

With more data on vitals, continuity of care is more achievable. Physicians can make data-driven decisions to improve the lives of chronic condition patients. 

RPM supports patient-centric care. 

Value-based care demonstrates a shift toward patient-centric care. It has benefits for all stakeholders, but delivery of it isn’t always feasible. RPM supports this philosophy and strategy. 

When physicians have more information about a patient’s daily life living with chronic conditions, the result is the ability to be proactive. You and your patients don’t have to wait for those in-clinic appointments. Treatment changes and interventions can be immediate with this innovative technology.  

Remote patient monitoring trends will shape the future of remote care.

From proactive healthcare to delivering patient-centric care, these trends highlight the future of remote care. Using RPM to support chronic disease patients drives better clinical results and enables equitable care for anyone, anywhere. It’s an excellent time to explore RPM solutions and transform the delivery of healthcare remotely. 

Get help by partnering with Optimize Health. See how our software and services assist you in building, scaling, and optimizing your program.