Every healthcare organization is pressed to improve communications with patients, both person to person communications, but increasingly too, to directly acquire data from devices in patient homes. Medicare in January of 2019 now permits remote care monitoring by physicians and through a combination of billing codes can generate over $1,200 per year in physician additional payments. Chronic care management (patients can be eligible for both programs) is another $490 per year. Private payers are following suit announcing their own new programs. It’s clearly proof that early detection of issues can lead to lower downstream costs and better patient health. Clearly, this is a major shift in health care business models and may well be more important than other recent initiatives around patient satisfaction, readmission risks, and other quality type measurements.
To participate in these initiatives, health care organizations need to find communications services companies that can meet a variety of needs and understand the requirements of various programs:
- Devices have plummeted in costs, include bluetooth connectivity options, but the physician or other health care organization needs that data automatically forwarded to them without requiring the patient to download apps, figure out “peering”, or even access wi-fi networks. MessagePro uses a wireless hub, preconfigured with equipment that it provides to health care organizations that make it as simple as plug and play by a patient;
- Patients need reminders to use the equipment and the ability to self-report data if traveling for example—empty data files won’t support billing and the point is to improve adherence to many care management plans, MessagePro and competitors can prompt patients via automated calls, text messages, or apps to drive compliance with care regimens;
- Great reporting, easy to use summaries, and support for billing (Medicare requires 20 minutes of review by physician or a licensed professional under direct supervision of the physician) to bill the physiological billing code in the new regime. MessagePro also provides alerts and alarms to care managers for patients falling outside of expected ranges in weight, blood pressure, glucose, and other measurements. Health care needs actionable and organized data–make sure your communications partner includes these capabilities and isn’t just sending over raw data that is tedious and time consuming.
- Think about your primary payers, demands upon your healthcare organization, and likely upcoming needs (patient satisfaction scores for example) and select a partner that can help you navigate all the demands of the coming years–and while an end to end solution for a particular program is certainly beneficial (like Medicare), adaptability to expected needs should be important too.
It’s a new world out there with healthcare—and your organization needs a partner that understands devices, human behavior, communications networks, and reporting to make your programs successful.