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What to Look for When Hiring Remote Monitoring Nurses

Optimize Health | 28 January 2022
4 minute read

If you have a Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) program or are thinking of starting one, you’ve probably realized that you will likely need additional clinical staff to monitor patients. When practices add RPM duties to already overworked staff, RPM rarely succeeds. While some practices carve out time for specific clinical staff members to dedicate to RPM, others are hiring remote clinical staff specifically for RPM.

We all know that clinical staff is in short supply these days. However, offering a flexible, remote position can increase your potential pool of candidates. Nurses that are unable or unwilling to work in an office setting may be open to a remote role. So, what should you look for when hiring a nurse for remote clinical monitoring?

A Different Skills Set for Remote Nurses

If you have decided to hire a remote nurse, you probably need to revisit your standard in-office job posting. While excellent clinical skills, appropriate licensure, and credentials are still a must, providing remote care may require additional skills.

RPM nurses are educators. RPM care team members use motivational communication techniques and positive reinforcement to drive positive behavior changes. And they do all of this via phone, text, and video chat.

Successful care team members will be able to understand the benefits of RPM from patients’ perspectives and support patients’ participation in a way that’s meaningful for them. Ultimately, they are building long-term relationships with patients through regular communication, so they may become trusted members of their care team.

What are the Remote Nurses’ Day-to-Day Responsibilities?

The daily responsibilities of an RPM care team member may look different than those of an in-office clinical team member. Key responsibilities to support patients may include:

  • Lead virtual collaborative nursing care planning session with patients to define health goals
  • Schedule and conduct regular phone and/or video visits with assigned patients
  • Provide preventive health and disease management education
  • Document notes from remote visits in RPM software, including goals, actions, and next steps
  • Use software communication tools to encourage patients to take regular readings
  • Monitor all patient readings, messages, and alerts to prioritize patient care and provide appropriate care interventions
  • Escalate urgent care needs to patient’s physician and 911/ER as appropriate

What Skills do Remote Nurses Need?

The ideal candidate will have a combination of excellent clinical skills and an aptitude for technology. As a remote employee, they must be comfortable and sufficiently motivated to work independently. Some skills to look for include:

  • Experience with patient engagement strategies
  • Ability to work independently within scope and education with minimal direction
  • Experience working with patients with chronic diseases
  • Experience conducting electronic communication with patients
  • Comfortable and/or willing to learn how to use healthcare technology
  • Motivational interviewing experience is a plus

Can I Hire Remote Medical Assistants (MAs) for RPM?

According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), monitoring conducted by medical assistants (MAs) must be done under the direct supervision of the ordering physician (OP).  Additionally,  the type of personnel that qualifies as “clinical staff” for any of these programs will vary by state law and providers should look at the scope of practice laws in the patient’s state to determine who can provide care. Chronic care management patients often have more complex needs that require care from providers with a higher-level education and scope of practice, like nurses.

Overwhelmed by the Hiring Process?

If interviewing, hiring, training, and managing additional clinical staff feels like too much to take on, there is another solution. Many RPM partners, including Optimize Health, offer outsourced monitoring services. This means your RPM program can grow at any pace and you don’t have to worry about having enough staff for the monitoring.

Managed RPM provides “just-in-time” clinical staffing with nurses that are experienced in providing remote care. These RNs can follow your clinical protocols and act as an extension of your own staff. They have the expertise to monitor patients and minimize escalations. This allows your in-office team to remain focused on in-person patient appointments and other practice priorities.

Have Questions or Want to Learn More?

Our RPM experts are happy to talk to your team about hiring clinical staffing, how much clinical staff you need for RPM, or any RPM questions. Contact us for a free consultation.