As of 2022, 37 million Americans currently live with diabetes, and these numbers show no sign of abating. As number nine on the World Health Organization’s list of the top ten diseases, diabetes is also a leading cause of global deaths. Every clinician wants to provide the best care for diabetes patients, but the sheer numbers make monitoring their biometrics, blood glucose levels, and insulin usage a mammoth task. However, technology has stepped up to the plate in recent years, with the delivery of remote patient monitoring (RPM) tools that enable practitioners to provide a better level of care than ever before.
Implementing RPM for Diabetes Patients
Implementing an RPM program includes supplying patients with appropriate diabetes home monitoring devices and software. In Type I diabetic patients, this could consist of technologies such as an insulin delivery method, a personal glucometer, and software that facilitates communication between the pump and the monitor to calculate the amount of insulin to administer.
People with type II diabetes use digital blood glucose monitors to capture and wirelessly transmit daily blood glucose levels to a secure, HIPAA-compliant web portal. Once received, the data is analyzed for negative trends and patterns that could lead to potential complications. If a problem is identified, the system sends a real-time alert to the appropriate healthcare professional, who can then follow up with the patient.
Top 9 Benefits of Using RPM in Diabetes Cases
An RPM solution offers significant benefits for both diabetic patients and their physicians. From the provider viewpoint, a patient monitoring system allows them to:
1. Gather real-time data
The RPM system delivers insight into the patient’s day-to-day health. Before remote patient monitoring, doctors would only discover if a diabetes patient was non-compliant or was at risk of complications when the patient experienced a serious problem that prompted them to initiate an unscheduled appointment or led to hospitalization. Often, patients wait until the situation has progressed to the point of requiring a major medical intervention.
2. Provide immediate intervention opportunities
When a patient monitoring system identifies a potential risk factor, it triggers an alert that can be escalated to the physician if necessary. When a medical practitioner receives such alerts, addressing them without delay helps reduce the diabetic patient’s chances of developing severe illness. Whether the situation calls for a telephone conversation or a scheduled in-person appointment, the practitioner can take steps immediately from their current location.
3. Minimize readmissions
Until recently, readmissions after hospital stays cost the healthcare system $528 million a year in Medicaid and Medicare penalties. However, RPM solutions have reduced readmissions by up to 50% in some cases. Since every clinician’s most heartfelt desire is to see their patients thrive, a tool that delivers this kind of result is a dream come true.
4. Increase profitability
Remote patient monitoring provides opportunities for providers to generate more revenue from reimbursements, while simultaneously reducing the cost of overheads, staffing, and supplies used during in-person visits. Improved workflow efficiencies, higher staff productivity, and lower admin costs all help boost net patient revenue, reduce billing errors, and increase profitability, leading to a more robust ROI for the practice.
5. Improve competitive advantage
RPM systems permit providers to compound their competitive advantage by attracting prospective patients and increasing existing patient retention. Practices that offer convenient, consumer-driven care for diabetic patients benefit from increased referrals and revenue. The ability to connect with patients through technologically advanced diabetes home monitoring devices enhances a provider’s credibility and position in the market.
6. Expand access to care
Diabetes is a non-discriminatory disease, impacting people from every income level and background. Many patients are unable to attend frequent in-person doctor visits due to financial and transportation constraints. Remote patient monitoring offers a way to improve access to care for even the most rural patients and those with restricted mobility. It also reduces patients’ inconvenience and the costs of travel, parking, childcare, and time off from work.
7. Address the shortage of care
One of COVID-19’s legacies is a significant shortage of healthcare workers. According to an October 2021 report by Premier Inc, medical staff turnover has increased from 18% to 30% since the start of the pandemic. This factor, combined with the increase in the number of insured patients over the past few years, has made it more difficult for some patients to access care. RPM offers a valuable way to address the shortages currently facing healthcare.
8. Relieve provider burnout
A 2020 report by the Physicians Foundation shows 58% of physicians often have feelings of burnout, compared with just 40% in 2018. This situation is exacerbated by the current staff shortages, increased patient numbers, a high number of daily visits, multiple canceled appointments, and patient no-shows. In addition, U.S. clinicians spend 50% more time working in EHRs than those in other countries. These factors create a high-stress environment for providers that remote patient monitoring can mitigate by decreasing workload without reducing revenue.
9. Benefit the doctor-patient relationship
With more opportunities for communication, patients become more engaged, and the relationship between provider and patient improves. Diabetic patients benefit from the reassurance of knowing their health is being monitored 24/7, and providers benefit from improved data to inform clinical decision-making.
The Final Analysis
Remote patient monitoring offers a range of advantages for patients, providers, and payers. However, the patient is the heart of healthcare, and as the nation works towards better quality care for everyone, technology presents the opportunity to make a real difference going forward. With the use of diabetes home monitoring devices that gather data and can trigger real-time alerts, providers can rest assured their patients receive the very best care at all times.
For more information about Remetrichealth’s innovative patient monitoring system, please click here to schedule a demonstration.