August 6, 2020 – As COVID-19 continues to impact health care, providers are forced to re-evaluate the practices and structures they once took for granted. The pandemic inflicts a double-blow to medical professionals. Willingly, they accept an increased risk of exposure to the virus in order to treat patients — many of whom are struggling with social isolation, new barriers to in-person care, and psychological distress. At the same time, providers navigate dramatically decreased patient volumes and financial struggles in response to necessary social distancing precautions combined with patient fears of hospitals.
Now, more than ever, for a practice to survive, it needs to think “outside the box.” Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) is a novel way for practices to add a dimension to patient care — expanding the monitoring of therapy beyond sporadic, and now unpredictable, patient visits. RPM allows care to continue linearly — even when the patient is at home and not physically in the presence of a clinician. RPM is a win for medical professionals too, who receive reimbursement for services.
The focus of health care continues to shift from reactive care to preventative care. RPM shows great potential to assist in the early identification, tracking, and treatment of problems such as addiction or depression before damages are irreversible. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) acknowledge significant opportunity to reduce healthcare costs through the improved care management and coordination that is integral to RPM. The introduction of new RPM billing codes encourages healthcare providers to engage in RPM by compensating them for time invested.
Pain Scored — a platform created by Patient Premier and found at https://www.painscored.com, is an example of RPM in action. The platform primarily assists in tracking patient-reports of pain, opioid utilization, functional ability, and mental health. These are critical cornerstones in the management of chronic pain. The platform is easily customizable to any medical practice — be it internal medicine, physical medicine and rehabilitation, neurology, or surgery. Dr. Bryan Marascalchi, co-founder of Patient Premier and pain medicine faculty at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine states, “Pain is a complex, multi-dimensional phenomenon that cuts across all medical specialties. Without RPM, a clinician’s data is limited to a few points in time — actual visits. What happens between those visits is a function of the patient’s recall and ability for expression. RPM fills in the gaps, leading to better extrapolation of trends, analysis of patient needs, and treatment outcomes.” Standard assessments are provided and clinics may personalize these to meet their clinical demands and individual patient needs. Revenues of over $100 per-patient-per-month are possible depending on the clinical situation.
These assessments improve the efficiency of clinic or telehealth visits. Critical information is presented by the Pain Scored platform to the medical professional in a clear manner, with trends over time represented graphically. RPM empowers care-teams to easily contextualize any temporary set-backs in a patient’s growth against the summative progress over time. RPM allows informed judgements about medication management and the use of intervention.
About Dr. Amar Setty
Dr. Amar Setty is the co-founder and CEO of Patient Premier, Inc. a remote pain management service headquartered in Baltimore, MD.
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