A 2021 survey of hospitals and clinics found that 20% and 23%, respectively, had either already adopted remote patient monitoring (RPM) or planned to do so within 12 months. Individual physicians, however, have been somewhat slow to adopt RPM; a recent Medical Group Management Association poll of more than 500 healthcare leaders found that 75% of medical practices do not yet offer RPM services.
Despite the increasing prevalence of RPM, many physicians remain on the sidelines because of misconceptions about reimbursements and how to get started. However, private payors will reimburse for various RPM services, with 74 already doing so and some paying more than Medicare.
Physicians also do not have to provide services for all the RPM codes to get paid. CMS has assigned a unique CPT code for payors to use for each discrete RPM action. For example, for setting up a patient for RPM (eg, syncing a diabetes patient’s glucose meter to an RPM platform), physicians can submit a one-time claim for approximately $19. For each patient who synchs their data in a month, they can submit a claim for approximately $56; another approximately $56 monthly claim can be submitted for analyzing that data. These payments can quickly add up. If a practice billed just once a month for synching and analyzing data for 1,000 patients, the monthly reimbursements would be $112,000.
RPM programs can be easily implemented and operated. The AMA’s 12-step RPM Playbook provides detailed guidelines, noting that a key to success is finding a vendor “who will be a longterm partner and not just someone to execute a transaction.” It also recommends that the RPM platform you select be able to capture the data elements of most importance to you, your colleagues, and your patients while easily integrating with your current IT landscape.
RPM is the cresting wave of the future—a winwin-win for clinicians, payors, and patients likely to become as essential to healthcare as mobile phones are to modern life. Practices able to seize the moment will gain a competitive edge in attracting and retaining tomorrow’s patients who will demand RPM as a standard of care.