Over the past decade, the healthcare industry has shifted towards more innovative care strategies that support better chronic disease management, prevention and more comprehensive whole-person care. Among these advancements, remote patient monitoring (RPM) has emerged as a pivotal tool for preventing hospital readmissions and ED visits, improving health outcomes and curbing care costs. Not only has RPM been a game-changer for chronic disease management, but it also provides a multitude of benefits that directly impact the bottom line.
There is a broad range of evidence that supports the use of remote patient monitoring for chronic care management. For example, a study published by the American Heart Association (AHA) found that for individuals with uncontrolled hypertension, telemonitoring may cut heart attack and stroke rates by 50%, compared to usual care and self-monitoring alone.
In addition, a cost-utility analysis published in the Journal of American Medicine Association suggested that remote patient monitoring was associated 87% fewer hospitalizations, 77% fewer deaths, and reduced per-patient costs of $11,472 over standard care. A substantial cost savings when multiplied by hundreds or thousands of members or patients.
Forward-thinking healthcare providers and health plans that have implemented remote care programs understand that the overarching goal isn’t just about the savings; it’s about delivering better, more accessible, and sustainable healthcare for all. However, justifying a remote care program most often requires showing the ROI. The following are five ways RPM is helping to lower overall care utilization and costs for healthcare organizations:
Preventive Care and Early Intervention
Remote patient monitoring enables early identification of potential health issues through continuous tracking and analysis of patient data. This allows healthcare providers to detect abnormalities and address them more promptly, helping to mitigate the need for more costly emergency care.
Reduced Hospital Readmissions
By enabling healthcare providers to keep a watchful eye on patients’ health in real-time, clinicians can intervene proactively to reduce the likelihood of potential escalations that could lead to ED visits or hospital readmissions. This significantly lowers the substantial costs associated with repeated hospital visits. In fact, a recent KLAS research report found that RPM helped to lower hospital readmissions by as much as 38%. Considering that a 3-day hospital stay costs around $30,000, this would contribute to a substantial cost avoidance per patient or member.
RPM allows healthcare practices to allocate their resources more efficiently by enabling clinicians to monitor their patients’ health remotely. This can help practices optimize their personnel and potentially reduce overall operational costs. With today’s workforce shortages, this is not only more effective but also more efficient. For example, a single nurse can monitor between 125 and 250 patients at a given time, depending on the acuity of that patient population. This would not be possible in a traditional care setting without remote patient monitoring.
Improved Patient Compliance
Remote monitoring also encourages greater patient engagement and compliance with treatment plans. Patients feel more connected to their healthcare providers, knowing their health is being monitored. Consequently, this fosters better adherence to medication, lifestyle modifications, and follow-up appointments, ultimately preventing further disease progression and associated care costs.
Enhanced Decision Making
The critical health data generated through RPM offers invaluable insights into patient health trends. This information can be leveraged to make more informed clinical decisions that optimize care plans and predict potential health issues. Such proactive measures can significantly reduce the financial burden of more reactive treatments.
Healthcare leaders who embrace and integrate remote monitoring into their care services are poised to see substantial benefits in terms of cost savings. However, the implementation of remote monitoring is not merely a cost-saving strategy but should be considered a strategic investment in patients’ well-being and overall health. Its ability to reduce care costs while enhancing the quality of care makes it an indispensable tool in today’s healthcare landscape.