Telehealth’s demand and value skyrocketed at the start of 2020 but have since stabilized. The three main catalysts were an increase in consumer willingness to use telehealth, an increase in provider willingness to use telehealth, and regulatory changes that enabled greater access and reimbursement.
More and more medical services like home care providers are adapting to this new healthcare landscape by integrating telehealth and Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) into patient care. However, transitioning from entirely in-person to partially virtual healthcare can cost money and have a steep learning curve for some, so it makes sense to explore the future of telehealth and RPM in the home health industry before jumping in.
To evaluate the future of telehealth and RPM, let’s identify the following:
What’s the Difference Between Telehealth and RPM?
By definition, RPM refers to using specific technology to help healthcare practitioners and patients interact while the latter is at home. In contrast, telehealth refers to the entire method, industry, and technology that enables RPM.
Simply put, telehealth is a concept that refers to a broader range of virtual care methods, while RPM is a telehealth delivery system.
How Important is Telehealth & RPM to Home Care Patients?
There are multiple ways that telehealth and RPM benefit both home care practitioners and patients. Aside from allowing healthcare professionals to interact with patients virtually, telehealth and RPM provide practitioners with a more efficient observation of patient vital signs through devices like glucose monitors, pulse oximeters, and weight scales. These devices can connect to a tablet and then transfer these data into the home care business’ EHR system, where an in-office staff or virtual medical assistant will encode and handle them.
By having a virtual medical assistant from companies such as My Mountain Mover, decision-makers of home care businesses get the advantage of having a talent that can help them do more while spending less on overhead costs. Furthermore, virtual medical assistants are also trained to maximize telehealth and RPM so that home care businesses can deliver care remotely without needing to invest much of their time training their staff.
In addition, telehealth and RPM reduce the time gap between when a patient needs medical attention and when the home care provider will deliver the necessary intervention. Both allow patients to consult with their home care provider immediately should they need to, and the home care provider can subsequently monitor their vitals and take necessary action.
Another area where telehealth and RPM excel is controlling the spread of infections. Patients recovering from infectious diseases need complete isolation, and telehealth allows home care providers to monitor these patients and educate them on how they can do their part to make their recovery faster.
Why Integrate Telehealth & RPM?
When setting up a home care business, two crucial goals are to foster growth and obtain a competitive edge in the industry, and integrating telehealth and RPM does just that. These two advancements in delivering patient care are highly relevant in the age of digitization, and integrating these helps home care businesses keep up with today’s industry demands.
However, the spike in telehealth implementation doesn’t come without challenges. A little over half of remote telehealth providers still have patients with concerns about privacy and data safety, making them apprehensive about using telehealth. While this challenge is diminished by observing HIPAA regulations, implementing telehealth can also help raise awareness about its benefits and slowly build patient confidence in its usage.
With all that said, this leads us back to our original question:
Is There a Promising Future in Integrating Telehealth and RPM?
By definition, technological advancement is the continuous upgrading of old systems and methodologies in favor of convenience and efficiency. The thing about technological advancement is that it is inevitable and includes the method by which physicians provide patient care. Because convenience is essential to patients, telehealth and RPM have a demand that will grow larger than it is today.
To answer this question, the future of telehealth and RPM in the home care industry is promising.