Escalating care costs, increasing rates of chronic disease and extensive workforce shortages have strained our already resource-strapped healthcare system. As a result, many healthcare organizations are turning to remote care strategies to help more efficiently manage care for patients with acute and chronic conditions.

Remote care programs can provide a lifeline to healthcare organizations by:

  • Enabling providers to extend their reach beyond the four walls of the office.
  • Delivering deeper clinical insights that support more informed decision-making.
  • Contributing to better patient outcomes and reduced care costs.

Whether your organization is exploring a remote care program such as remote patient monitoring (RPM) or chronic care management (CCM) for the first time, or you have an existing program and want to ensure it is the best fit, evaluating potential partners is essential.

Understanding what to look for in a partner can make all the difference in the success of your organization’s program. Below are a few key factors to consider when choosing a partner for your program.

1. Proven Experience

How established is the company you’re considering, particularly with regard to specialized RPM and CCM solutions? A lot of start-ups and other technology companies are racing to adapt right now by shifting focus to capitalize on what they see as a lucrative current business opportunity. As a result, many are claiming they can offer diversified and comprehensive remote care capabilities – but can they really?

That’s why experience – and even financial stability – should be essential factors in your decision. When considering a potential remote care provider, focus your shortlist on reputable companies with a proven healthcare technology business model that can help you seamlessly make the move to a remote care model and deliver a best-in-class experience for patients as well as your medical and healthcare teams.

Also, it’s important to remember that an established company will be there with you for the long haul because this model of care isn’t going away anytime soon. In fact, with the sudden and rapid widespread adoption, it’s gaining momentum.

2. Flexibility

Your remote care program should be highly configurable to support your organization’s specific needs. To be effective, it must have the ability to remotely monitor and manage your patient’s health and deliver critical insights that can help drive more informed decision-making and earlier interventions.

Based on the platform you choose, you’ll see increased patient satisfaction, higher adherence and better health outcomes. Plus, you’ll get maximum reimbursement and increase your ROI.

The key to a successful remote care program is patient adoption and ease of use. To ensure this, you need a remote care partner that offers an AI-enabled virtual health assistant, such as Esper. Esper proactively engages patients to boost adherence through regular phone and SMS text communications, including alerts for daily vitals collection, device updates, satisfaction surveys and genuine encouragement.

Additional offerings to look for include fall detectionmedication dispensers, alerts, notifications, recommended escalation actions, and education.

For a superior experience for both patient and provider, look for a platform that can be customized to reflect your own unique protocols, control tolerances, thresholds, and alerts. Many remote care providers don’t have this sophisticated level of capability, so be sure you ask about flexibility up front.

3. Compatibility

To ensure ease of integration and use, ensure that the remote care platform you consider is easily integrated with existing technology. Look for a company with a robust portfolio of products and services as an indicator of how innovative the company is and how dedicated they are to solving complex healthcare challenges.

The platform you choose should work seamlessly with your EHR system and patient portal – and all user groups should have the ability to send data from devices accurately, on time, and securely right to your systems. Additionally, it should be intuitive and simple to use for health professionals, patients, members, and caregivers. The system should be able to monitor and detect health changes through advanced capabilities that can analyze actionable data to easily identify at-risk patients and flag intervention alerts before escalation.

4. A Complete End-to-End Solution

An experienced partner will be able to manage all aspects of your remote care program efficiently. Finding a one-stop-shop where product, service, fulfillment and support are all “under one roof” will ensure program success and save you money in the long run. For example, a full-service program will include:

  • Clinical monitoring and billing
  • Facilitation of patient outreach, education, and enrollment on behalf of the practice
  • Communication and reminders to ensure patient adherence
  • Devices shipped directly to your patients with no setup required
  • White-glove service and support for practices and patients

Don’t forget to inquire about monthly connection charges, app fees, and other potential hidden costs that may reveal themselves later when it’s too late to object. Be clear about what you’re getting upfront, and ask a lot of questions. A trusted remote care partner will provide plenty of guidance to help you make informed decisions.

5. Scalability

The remote care provider you choose should be staffed and equipped to implement to the size and scope of your organization. Ask how quickly they can scale up – and if necessary, scale down – in response to fluctuating patient demand. The ability to scale is a major pain point for many small or niche players because they do not have the inventory, capacity or support to scale your organization quickly or cost-effectively.

Providers that offer staffing support as a supplemental service can help you quickly scale for increased demand. For instance, if you don’t have the staff capacity to handle a surge in patients, a full-service provider will enable you to continue delivering patient care during high-volume cycles by managing nurse triage for you, eliminating the need for significant system or operational changes within your organization.

When looking for a remote care provider, also be sure they are setting realistic timelines, accurate cost projections and clear expectations. Furthermore, look for established companies capable of implementing and managing a large-scale deployment with multiple fulfillment centers that can get you the products you need when you need them.

6. Education, Training and Support

Only experienced remote care partners can offer a program designed to include tech support, education, and training to ensure your staff and patients can reap the greatest benefits from your program.

A robust remote care program will also include pre-contract support, ROI transparency, an understanding of who the program champions will be once the contract is signed, managed implementation, hosted training calls, assistance with device setup, meetings with individual clinical teams, milestone mapping, and more.

Therefore, it’s recommended that you choose a partner with a full-scale program, IT support, and a dedicated team committed to seeing your program from pre-contract through to implementation and execution.

Choosing the right remote care partner can make all the difference in the success of your program. It’s important to think beyond your short-term needs and prepare for where you see your organization heading in the future. By choosing an established, forward-thinking partner with a proven track record of bringing innovative technology to the market faster, you’ll be well-positioned for easy implementation and poised for organizational success.