The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has stressed the importance of the healthcare industry meeting the “Triple Aim” objectives, meaning there is increasing pressure to come up with innovative ways to achieve those goals. Remote patient monitoring (RPM) has shown itself as a viable option – and it could even become a standard clinical pathway, helping healthcare providers promote more organized and efficient care.
What are the Triple Aims?
The Triple Aims were originally thought up by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement. They were adopted by CMS in 2010 by then acting administrator, Donald Berwick; and they are still a priority for the organization today. The three objectives are as follows:
- Improve the patient experience
- Improve the health of populations
- Reduce the per capita cost of health care
Though successfully achieving these goals will require much greater effort than simply implementing remote patient monitoring programs at healthcare organizations nationwide, RPM can help providers get one step closer to reaching the Triple Aim objective. Here’s how:
1. Improve the patient experience.
Meaningful Use guidelines are pushing for greater patient engagement – and, as it turns out, remote patient monitoring services can help do just that. Along with other telehealth technologies, RPM allows patients to become more involved in the treatment of their medical conditions by giving them more responsibilities and supervised medical guidance. Aside from having a greater awareness of their condition (patients can monitor vitals through their provider’s patient portal), patients also benefit from a continued connection with their medical team. In fact, with RPM, patients are usually required to report regularly with answers to relevant medical questions.
2. Improve the health of populations.
Elderly patients, as well as those in rural areas, often do not receive the care they need. This can be due to a lack of specialist care in the community, transportation issues, or difficulties traveling. With the help of RPM services, the overall health of both populations could improve significantly. Patients in outlying areas could receive the treatment they need without having to travel long distances. Meanwhile, elderly patients could be monitored at a distance so as to eliminate unnecessary trips to the doctor. This is important, seeing as patients that do not have easy access to health care often choose go without receiving necessary medical treatment.
3. Reduce the per capita cost of health care.
According to a study by Dr. Robert Litan, published in 2008 by Better Health Care Together, remote patient monitoring could reduce healthcare spending by $197 billion over a 25 year period. Though it’s difficult to tell how accurate that estimate is now, recent telehealth programs have actually seen reductions in hospital admissions and reduced costs overall. The Veterans Hospital system, for example, saw a 19 percent reduction in hospital admissions since implementing their remote monitoring program. This means that fewer patients are putting unnecessary strain on their healthcare system. Seeing as CMS is penalizing medical facilities for excessive readmissions, hospitals have more reason than ever to implement RPM solutions.