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Decreased Workload Industry Trends RPM

How managed RPM services can alleviate staffing shortages

Beth Osborne | 20 February 2024
5 minute read

Every healthcare practice and organization is struggling with staffing shortages. The industry was already dealing with these challenges prior to the pandemic. The pandemic exasperated the problem, with mass resignations from COVID fatigue and many early retirements. There aren’t even enough teaching institutions for nursing in the U.S. All these trends are snowballing, leaving many practitioners to delay or slow the establishment of remote patient monitoring (RPM) programs. They know RPM enhances clinical outcomes for chronic condition patients.

However, they worry about the monitoring piece and its potential strain on their staff. The good news is that you can use managed RPM services as a solution.

With RPM managed services, you can still be eligible for reimbursement. It enables you to establish and expand your program to deliver exceptional care outside your office.

The trends impacting healthcare staff shortages

Nurse retention has severe gaps.

A National Council of State Boards of Nursing study concluded that over 610,000 nurses would leave by 2027. A workforce analysis of nurses conducted during 2020 and 2021 revealed that over 100,000 left the profession. These gaps will only widen through 2030, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

The exodus from the profession is a combination of burnout in a high-stress occupation that became even more so during the pandemic. Even with high pay and job security, some nurses have exited anyway in response to the turmoil.

Nurse recruitment also faces challenges.

The answer to high demand would prompt the industry to bring new people into the profession. Nursing enrollment is growing, as many see the opportunity in the field. However, an American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) study reported that nursing schools in the U.S. turned away over 91,000 qualified applications due to insufficient faculty, clinical sites, classroom space, and budget constraints.

Without a pipeline of new nurses, meeting the demands of modern healthcare will be hard to surmount. 

More people are aging and have chronic diseases.

Another driver behind staffing shortages in healthcare relates to an aging population with more chronic conditions. Approximately 10,000 baby boomers join Medicare daily, requiring 3.2 million more workers to meet the demand. Also, 6 in 10 adults in the U.S. have a chronic disease, and 4 in 10 have two or more. As a result, chronic condition management puts considerable strain on healthcare workers and costs billions annually.

Clinical research supports that they improve patient conditions. Yet, nursing staffing shortage and the increase in chronic conditions have created concerns among physicians and healthcare organizations that RPM programs aren’t sustainable. It eventually comes down to the question of how to enroll more people with less staff? The solution more and more practices are turning to is the RPM managed services model.

Managed RPM services: clinical monitoring from licensed nurses act as an extension of your team 

Nurses are necessary for the clinical monitoring aspect of RPM. Licensed and experienced nurses fill the role of the ongoing engagement needed for RPM patients. It includes monitoring vitals beyond thresholds or indicating that an intervention may be necessary. Those get escalated directly to physicians when required. 

Additionally, nurses participate in two-way communication with patients to remind them to take their readings and medication, answer questions, and partner with them on their chronic care journey. If you undertake this internally, you’ll need dedicated resources.

Alternatively, you can work with an RPM partner offering managed services like Optimize Health. 

RPM managed services overview

For the best results for you and your patients, we only employ U.S.-based licensed nurses. It’s not a call center; it’s your extended care team. Our in-house nurses have specific training in RPM, can identify and investigate vital patterns, and offer clinically sound responses. They can also form bonds with patients due to their training in health coaching. This 1:1 engagement is critical for patients to participate. When this is present, you’ll see higher levels of adherence. Our average is 92%. We believe continuity of care is just as important as you do!

Our nurses can handle the majority of notifications as the first line of triage. Our data revealed that less than 2% of Optimize Health alerts require escalation to your clinical team.

More support for RPM workflows

Along with clinical monitoring, there are other administrative needs related to:

  • Assessing which patients are a good fit for RPM
  • Verifying the insurance eligibility for patients
  • Onboarding patients with device education and information
  • Delivery of RPM devices to patients
  • Integration with your EHR

Each of these activities is necessary before you can begin monitoring that patient. They can be time-consuming for staff and create another barrier to launching RPM. Optimize Health provides these services and offers three implementation options—virtual, on-site, or hybrid. Our RPM solutions are customizable to fit the specific needs of your practice and patient. 

Achieve RPM benefits for patients with managed services.

RPM is a proven solution for chronic disease management, supporting patients with heart disease, hypertension, chronic kidney disease (CKD), diabetes, COPD, obesity, and more. RPM opens data visibility beyond patient visits so physicians can make more data-driven decisions. Organizations using our RPM software and managed services have reported reductions in ED (emergency department) visits and hospitalizations and drops in blood pressure and A1C.

We’re here to guide you through the creation and growth of your RPM program. In addition to software, our clinical RPM team helps you realize your goals even with staffing shortages in the industry. With support for monitoring, engagement, and escalation with our nurses to assist with patient education and enrollment, you’ll be able to extend care to your patients who need it most.

Get started today by contacting our experts for a free consultation.