We’ve made it to the fourth and final blog post in our series on remote patient monitoring (RPM) in clinical practice. Previously we covered reasons for implementing an RPM program, how to evaluate vendors and what steps to take before launching. We’re now ready for the best part: Going live with the program and scaling.
Enrolling the First Patients
The first few months of your program are an opportunity to test the assumptions you made during program design and to fine-tune workflows before scaling more broadly. As you enroll the first few patients into your program, ask the following questions:
- Are we using the right value proposition? Are patients receptive when they hear about the program? Different patients have different motivations — some will jump on the opportunity to improve their health, while others might be more interested in whether the solution will save them time or money. Test messaging and value propositions to see what works. If patients don’t want to participate, ask them why and record their feedback if possible.
- Are we using the right channel? The main ways to reach patients are by phone, email, direct mail and during care visits (in-clinic or virtual). At Propeller, we’ve seen the highest rates of enrollment when clinicians advise patients to enroll in the program during a telemedicine or in-person appointment. If that’s not an option, an email campaign from you or your vendor can be an effective, low-cost way to nudge the patient through the phases of awareness, to product consideration, to enrollment. Traditional channels, like phone and direct mail, are useful in reaching less digitally active patients. If you can try all of them, do so, and measure which channels enroll the most patients at the lowest cost over a period of six months or more.
- Are we keeping patients engaged? Once a patient signs up for the program, their enrollment is not very useful if they don’t use the device or provide you with actionable clinical data. While some disengagement is inevitable, it’s important to find out if there are technological or behavioral barriers to ongoing participation, so the vendor can help you overcome them.
Growing the Program
We’ll be honest with you: Scaling digital health in a healthcare organization is no easy feat.
But as the American Medical Association notes in its Digital Health Playbook, it’s crucial not to let your RPM program languish in the “Pilot Graveyard.” During the first year, build processes and resource the program as if you are scaling it to every eligible patient in your organization. Keep in mind, if it’s difficult to work through problems with a small patient population, it may be even harder with a large one.
Finally, try not to despair if successful metrics — enrollment, clinical or otherwise — don’t materialize right away. Digital health is a burgeoning space. Some of our national health system programs with the highest patient satisfaction took years to achieve the scale they’ve reached today. It’s not always quick and easy, but the investment in RPM is worthwhile. The long-term cost savings and clinical outcomes prove it.
If you’d like to speak with Propeller about setting up a remote monitoring program for your patients with asthma or COPD, email firstname.lastname@example.org.