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Remote Patient Monitoring: Necessity and the Desire for Improvement

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, chronic diseases are broadly defined as “conditions that last one year or more and require ongoing medical attention or limit activities of daily living, or both.”[i]  Chronic conditions such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes are the leading causes of death and disability in the United States.  With six in ten adults in the United States having a chronic condition, and four in ten having two or more, they account for 90% of the nation’s $3.3 trillion in annual health care costs.  However, it doesn’t always have to be this way.

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Thank you to all the caregivers

An interesting thing happened last week.  I had the opportunity to go onsite to a key partner, in conjunction with a new program launch.  The site was in Western North Carolina and I had chosen to drive versus fly – possibly one of the best travel decisions I have made.  This meant that I had a six hour drive home afterward – through beautiful Western North Carolina and Tennessee.  I drove the Blue Ridge Parkway west across the Eastern Continental Divide, stopping liberally to take pictures (like this one accompanying this blog). I have no doubt in my mind that in a week or two, the scenery would turn to a lush green, but would still be as spectacular as it had been when I visited last week.

I found my drive was an opportunity to spend some time reflecting introspectively.

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Five ways to start listening to your data

“Psssst….I’m talking to you…Hello?I have something to say and I think you’ll want to hear it…Stop ignoring me…Why are you still ignoring me?”

To deliver successful remote patient monitoring programs, MobileHelp provides options to our client partners. These options are both valuable and flexible, fitting our client partners’ specific program and population needs. In addition to offering exceptional hardware, clinical monitoring software, and a patient portal – MobileHelp also provides logistics, contact center services, integration and now – data analytics.

With a continued focus to improve patient-centric care and balancing organizational goals to reduce care costs, MobileHelp continues to expand services.

 Through our partnership with Versatile MED, our clients can receive expert support in identifying and prioritizing their unique opportunities, selecting the appropriate patient population and identifying critical data points necessary for tracking ROI and outcomes. By way of this blog, please meet our partner, Versatile MED.

This is what your data would say to you if it could talk.

Data has been itching to tell us all a story, but it’s only been within the last five years that it has been able to through better data capture, integration, and meaningful analysis. If you work with even the tiniest sliver of the 2.5 million terabytes of data that is generated daily, you can glean valuable information about your organization.

Here are five simple ways you can start listening to your data now.

1. Pay attention — but not too much attention — to those pesky outliers.

Outliers are those rogue data points that make us raise an eyebrow when we see them. Outliers may crop up when something has changed, but it has to be significant enough to cause your little outlier friend to be a noticeable distance from the other data points. They weren’t invited to the party, so why are they here?

Remote Patient Monitoring CPT 99454 / CPT 99457 – An Update

It has been three months since the CMS CY 2019 reimbursement codes for remote patient monitoring (RPM) became effective – outlined in the 2019 Physician Fee Schedule.  At MobileHelp, we have been asked numerous questions and I thought it might be helpful to consolidate some of the questions and answers, by way of this post.

But first, can you explain the codes?

There are three non-face-to-face codes approved for remote patient monitoring (RPM), effective January 1, 2019.  Those codes are listed in the table below.

It is important to note that CMS defines these as “remote monitoring of physiologic parameter(s) (e.g., weight, blood pressure, pulse oximetry, respiratory flow rate).”  In other words, the emphasis is on measuring and reviewing physiological data remotely.

Code Description Payment amount (PFS varies by locale)
CPT 99453 initial; set-up and patient education on use of equipment $21.00, one-time fee
CPT 99454 Device(s) supply with daily recording(s) or programmed alert(s) transmission, each 30 days $55.63 – $74.25, monthly
CPT 99457 Remote physiologic monitoring treatment management services, 20 minutes or more of clinical staff/physician/other qualified healthcare professional time. $46.97 – $56.09, monthly

For CPT 99454 and 99457, the patient must be seen in-office at least once in the past 12 months and have opted in to the program with express consent.

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February Was Not Just About Love – It Was About Heart

My parents and I (alongside mascots Albert and Alberta) on the day of my UF graduation (go gators!)

February was a busy month – a month filled with love – as we celebrated Valentine’s Day.

And, a month reminding us how important it is to take care of our hearts – not just emotionally, but physically – during American Heart Month.

For me, heart health is not something I take lightly and something we should all have on our radar all year round.

My father suffered from Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) – he had several operations that involved stents to keep his arteries open. And, eventually he had to undergo a triple bypass heart surgery – it was a very long road to recovery. It was difficult enough to see him suffer at the hospital, even when he had around-the-clock care, but even more heartbreaking when we experienced it as his caregivers at home.

I, myself, had my own heart concerns.

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Caregivers – The Unsung HEROES of Health Care

My father, Carpio Rivera

 

Rob Lowe recently posted an article about his family’s experience caring for his mother, a cancer patient. His article underscores the toll – financial, physical, mental and emotional – that caregiving takes on those caring for a loved one. Although many of us would do anything for our loved ones, especially in time of need, it is important to note that the sacrifices made as a caregiver can be costly in many ways. And, when one is in the midst of caregiving and juggling daily life, they often ignore their own needs and miss the subtle and even glaring signs that they are veering toward a personal crisis.  To help avoid this and help caregivers prepare for the journey ahead, the article also included helpful information about resources, training, and support.

It can be daunting.

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HIMSS 2019: In a Word, Reimbursement

As the 2019 HIMSS Global Conference & Exhibition is underway this week in Orlando, more than 45,000 professionals from more than 90 countries will gather to see and hear what’s new in education and innovation around information and technology in the healthcare industry.

And within the more than 300 education sessions, spanning interoperability, personalized healthcare, cybersecurity and analytics, we expect one underlying message will predominate: reimbursement.

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The Polar Vortex and Senior Safety

 

“How cold is it in the Upper Midwest today? It’s so cold that if you toss boiling hot water in the air, it may turn to ice crystals. (Be careful out there and always check which way the wind is blowing, folks. People tend to scald themselves doing this.)*”

Ouch.

Thank you National Public Radio (NPR) for that interesting fact and safety warning.

As the polar vortex dipped south this week turning mid America into an ice block, I began to worry about family and friends who live in the areas being affected. Weather experts warn us that even a few minutes of exposure in these extremely low temperatures can result in frostbite and hypothermia.

Of particular concern is our senior population. The National Institute on Aging says older adults lose body heat faster than young people. What may be ok for some of us, could be very dangerous for seniors. It is recommended the inside temperature for seniors should be no lower than 68°F.

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New Year, New Health Goals – Encouragement Keeps RPM Patient Compliance on Track

Engaging a single patient in their health can be challenging, especially when that patient is somewhat isolated or solely responsible for managing their healthcare. Social isolation is talked about a lot these days and recently, while reviewing data gathered in a pilot program, I was able to uncover evidence to the point.

During a MobileHelp pilot study a few years ago, I noticed a concerning shift in patient engagement. The pilot study included more than a dozen individuals. They were given a MobileHelp Remote Patient Monitoring System, and a few Bluetooth enabled peripherals – a weight scale, blood pressure monitor and a pulse-oxygen saturation monitor. A home health nurse assisted in identifying potential participants for the study and answering their questions about the devices.  

The study started in June and ran through the next Spring. The questions the pilot study was to answer were: “Given access to devices to measure their own health, will patients monitor their health consistently on their own, will they be satisfied and confident with monitoring their own health and will their perception of safety improve when they track their health statistics?”  

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Healthcare & the Power of Voice

Nancy*, one of our longest-term customers, presses the button on her emergency response device every day. She has never had an actual emergency – as an older woman who lives alone, she simply wants to talk with someone, and we are happy to facilitate that connection.

As an emergency response company, we have had numerous such opportunities to experience what the power of another human voice can mean – from providing access to help and reassurance in an emergency, to simply being there for someone who is battling isolation.

So, what happens if that “human voice of connection” is not actually human, and comes from a smart speaker?

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