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Remote patient monitoring is a tool for doctors and their medical team members to care for patients living with chronic conditions such as high blood pressure or diabetes without the need for them to come and measure their vitals in the doctor’s office. Unlike video or audio calls, remote patient monitoring can let practitioners evaluate the patient’s health status by having real time access to their vitals measured outside an appointment. That’s because remote patient monitoring uses health monitoring devices such as blood pressure monitors, glucometers or weigh scales that patients can use at home, track their vitals frequently and share those measurements with their assigned care team electronically. If you wonder what patients might benefit from remote patient monitoring, what devices might be available, how they work and what reimbursement codes cover them, this article is for you.
How devices for remote patient monitoring work
Remote patient monitoring uses “connected” devices. These are devices that are equipped with a transmitter that can take the patient’s measurement and, in real time, forward it electronically to a database, such as a doctor’s dashboard, to be accessed and available to the medical team. There are three common ways to enable monitoring devices to transfer data electronically: via a bluetooth, embedded SIM or via a hub. All of them are designed to transmit the taken measurements instantly and without any assistance from the patient. Bluetooth devices require the use of an app where SIM devices and those connected to a hub function independently.
What devices are available for remote patient monitoring
There are many iOT devices that have been introduced in the recent years in the “smart device” category. These range from simple fitness trackers counting steps and measuring heart rate to sophisticated medical devices requiring an FDA approval. What your medical practice might need very much depends on your specialty and the type of health conditions you need to monitor. In general, the majority of practices find blood pressure monitors, glucometers and weight scales the most common to use amongst their patients.
Which patients are eligible for remote patient monitoring
The most common patients benefiting from remote patient monitoring are those living with chronic conditions such as hypertension, diabetes or COPD. Those are individuals who are usually advised to keep an eye on their vitals and to measure at home, and with remote patient monitoring devices they now have a better way to keep their care team in a loop. If reimbursements are important to you, then Medicare patients are all eligible as long as they have an underlying condition that warrants a remote patient monitoring service.
Are devices for remote patient monitoring reimbursable?
There is no specific CPT code that pays directly for devices provided as part of remote patient monitoring care. However, codes 99453 and 99454 are closely tied to the use of remote patient monitoring devices. CPT 99453 reimburses practitioners for their assistance with setting up a device and educating the patient on its use. The national average* value of the CPT 99453 code is a one time payment of $21. CPT 99454 pays a monthly amount (national average) of $69 a month for each patient that has been actively using a RPM device to measure their health.
Lara Health simplifies remote care for both practitioners and their patients. The Lara Health app for patients works with a variety of connected devices such as blood pressure monitors and glucometers, making measuring vitals at home easy and engaging. Book a free, no obligation demo and see for yourself.
* Reimbursement amounts are shown as the national average value and the actual reimbursement varies per state.