Your practice is busy. You likely have patients with chronic conditions who take a lot of your time—and need a higher level of care. Your office is taking calls from these patients throughout the day and your staff does their best to squeeze in last-minute appointments or arrange calls back from the doctor.
The problem with this? Workflow disruption, for one, along with a less than ideal experience for all of your patients inside your office and out. Plus, the time spent on these unplanned patient interactions aren’t reimbursed.
There is a solution: Remote Patient Monitoring. Partnering with the right remote patient monitoring company enables you to put a system in place to provide an enhanced level of care to all of your patients, especially those with chronic conditions, and also gives you the ability to automatically track time spent with these patients, including phone calls, through easy-to-use technology.
We talked to Donna Murphy, chief revenue officer of Remote Care Partners, with whom PatientPoint is partnering to provide healthcare providers a turnkey, convenient remote patient monitoring solution that optimizes your practice’s reimbursement potential.
PatientPoint: Tell me about the importance of activity capturing and dedicated billing support when it comes to a remote patient monitoring solution.
Donna Murphy: Activity capturing is when the nurse is reviewing blood sugar levels or body weight fluctuations with a patient, for example. The nurse is also coordinating the patient’s care, while speaking with the patient and developing the right educational materials to help them manage their condition—all of this is billable activity that often goes untracked.
That’s where dedicated monthly billing support comes in. It helps ensure that opportunities for reimbursement and revenue aren’t missed.
PatientPoint: What do practices need to know about billing codes for remote patient monitoring?
Murphy: There are really four codes used for remote patient monitoring. First, there’s the education component you bill for (CPT 99453); that’s a one-time thing. Second, there are the readings from the device that you bill for each month (CPT 99454).
The other two codes (CPT 99457 and CPT 99458) are about the time you’re spending with and on patients. This is time you’re spending reviewing readings and surveys. It’s time you’re spending talking to patients and coordinating their care. It’s also the time you spend building out educational material for patients. These are all activities your practice has been doing for years, but you weren’t getting paid for it.
PatientPoint: What’s one thing physician practices can do better with remote patient monitoring?
Murphy: Don’t assign 500 patients to a single nurse; the only thing the nurse can do with that many patients is capture their vitals. Cap the patient load per nurse to 250 patients so that they have time to work with patients. The nurse has to build a deep and wide relationship with each patient.
PatientPoint: Can a practice bill for remote patient monitoring and chronic condition management in the same month?
Murphy: Yes, but realize this: It’s about a lot more than having the device shipped to your patients and telling your nurse to review the patients’ clinical data for 20 minutes. Practices need a combination of remote patient monitoring and access to an expert solution provider who knows the billing codes and how to get the highest reimbursement while also helping you provide a higher level of care.
PatientPoint: Give me an example of a simple intervention due to remote patient monitoring that can have a big impact.
Murphy: Let’s say a Nurse Coach, who’s monitoring a patient’s vitals, catches a bad reading from a patient’s device. She alerts the physician, who changes a patient’s medication. This one action prevents the patient from needing to go to the hospital. It took the nurse 20 minutes check the vitals and alert the physician. The practice should be paid for that work because the nurse just saved CMS a $5,000 hospital stay.
PatientPoint: Can remote patient monitoring improve efficiency at the physician's practice?
Murphy: It sure will. You’ll see improvements in two parts of your practice: In the schedule and in the dramatic decrease in calls to your receptionist.
Because you’re tracking your patients’ vitals using remote patient monitoring, you’re reaching out to patients who report a troubling reading on their device. These patients are getting a call from their nurse coach, and you’re heading off problems. That means fewer calls coming in, and fewer disruptions to the schedule.
Remote patient monitoring is a proactive version of medicine, not a reactive version of medicine.