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Conditions and Outcomes Physician Type/Specialty RPM

The Importance of RPM in Cardiac Care

Jerry Barsz | 03 July 2023
5 minute read

According to data from the American Heart Association, nearly half of all Americans are living with some type of cardiovascular disease. Tragically, one person in the US dies of heart disease every 36 seconds, with cardiovascular disease costing our country over $360 billion per year.

Conditions like high blood pressure and Atrial fibrillation are also high on the agenda for healthcare providers. In 2019, high blood pressure was a primary or contributing cause of death for more than half a million Americans. Worryingly, over 12 million Americans will be living with Atrial fibrillation by 2030 which means an increase in the 450,000 annual hospitalizations and 158,000 deaths caused by the condition today.

With these staggering numbers, it is no surprise that the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has been promoting innovative solutions to treat and prevent cardiac disease.

Remote patient monitoring (RPM) can help millions of Americans take a more proactive approach to living with chronic, cardiology conditions.

Keeping Patients Connected to Healthcare Providers

Remote patient monitoring, also called RPM, is a type of remote care program that uses connected devices to monitor patient health between office visits. Patients use devices like blood pressure monitors, blood glucose monitors, weight scales, and more to measure their vital signs each day. The results are automatically sent to their provider’s software platform, allowing physicians to monitor the health of their cardiac patients without the need for regular practice visits.

Many physicians agree that RPM helps them meet or exceed patient expectations, with almost 8 in 10 (78%) physicians saying that they expect steady or increased patient demand for virtual care (Optimize Health 2023 Remote Care Insights Report).

To support the demand for RPM in cardiac care, 84% of providers are currently offering virtual visits or plan to offer them in the next year.

Managing Hypertension

With such a stark impact on public health, hypertension is a major focus for the American Heart Association which recommends that anyone with high blood pressure should monitor their blood pressure at home, maintain a blood pressure journal, and share the data with their physician.

Although effective, these recommendations place a significant and often unrealistic burden of care on patients.

RPM can quickly and easily automate this process, making it far easier for patients to be compliant. RPM provides more data and insights so your clinicians can intervene and provide timely coaching when it is most impactful. The benefits are notable too, often including:

  • Reduced blood pressure
  • Reduced medications with improved blood pressure control
  • Reduced risk of AFib, stroke, and heart failure
  • Reduced emergency room visits and hospitalizations
  • Healthier lifestyle choices for patients through frequent, pro-active health coaching
  • More engaged patients with their care plans
  • More appropriate and tailored medications regimes for each patient

Health outcomes from hypertensive patients using Optimize Health’s managed RPM service saw a 5-point decrease in systolic BP within three months and a 7-point decrease within six months. Clinical research further supports the benefits of RPM for patients:

Reducing the Risk of Heart Failure

Heart failure (HF) affects approximately 6.2 million people in the United States and has a 5-year mortality rate of 42%. The 30-day heart failure hospital readmission rate is 23%.

In many cases, hospital readmissions could be avoided if blood pressure and other early indicators are proactively managed.

RPM enables clinicians to intervene as soon as there is a high blood pressure reading. They can adjust treatment and medication before a hospital admission is needed, and without the need for practice visits. In addition, connected weight scales can be used to detect spikes in weight from fluid retention, an early sign of heart failure exacerbations.

Research indicates that remote monitoring is effective in reducing both rehospitalization and mortality for heart failure patients. Structured telephone support can improve patient engagement, quality of life, self-care behaviours, and overall patient satisfaction.

In research studies, clinicians report that they can manage heart failure patients more effectively with access to more regular data. Highlights of the clinical research also include:

  • The 30-day hospital readmission rate at Mt. Sinai Hospital was 10% for heart failure patients enrolled in RPM, compared to 23% for non-RPM patients.
  • Home telemonitoring can reduce mortality (risk ratio = 0.64; 95% CI: 0.48-0.85) compared with usual care.
  • 70% of telemonitoring patients completed at least 80% of their possible daily readings. Findings show that telemonitoring improved self-care, quality of life, and clinical management.
  • Home telemonitoring interventions reduced the relative risk of all-cause mortality (0.60 to 0.85) and heart failure-related hospitalizations (0.64 to 0.86) compared with usual care.

A New Standard of Cardiac Care

In addition to monitoring hypertension and heart failure, blood pressure devices provide pulse rate data. Irregularities in pulse rate can be a sign of numerous health issues such as arrhythmias, beta-blocker overdose, or even anxiety.

Early detection and assessment of pulse rate irregularities can help determine if changes in medication or additional testing, such as an EKG is necessary. It can also lead to earlier implementation of a pacemaker and other treatments.

Monitoring pulse rate, in conjunction with blood pressure, can prevent or provide early detection of Atrial Fibrillation (AFib or AF), Ventricular Fibrillation (VFib), heart failure, and strokes.

Physicians responding to our recent remote care survey say that RPM is “the new standard of care for many patients”. Not only does RPM allow healthcare practices to provide preventative care to patients outside of office visits and get reimbursed for providing it, but RPM can deliver better clinical and financial outcomes for both patients and practices.

Discover Optimize Health Remote Patient Monitoring

With Optimize Health’s RPM platform, patients achieved an 11-point reduction in their diastolic blood pressure readings and 5-point decrease in systolic blood pressure readings in less than three months.

To find out why hundreds of medical practices trust Optimize Health RPM, request a demo today.