In our last blog post, we discussed how to choose the right partner for your remote patient monitoring (RPM) program. Once you’ve selected a vendor and signed an agreement, there is still more to do before you can officially launch the program with patients.
Process Makes Perfect
A new platform for collecting and surfacing patient health data is bound to impact the clinician and patient experiences. It’s important to consider how the RPM program will fit into your practice’s unique workflows — otherwise, you risk low adoption from staff and patients alike.
Your vendor should take an active role in helping you design and implement new workflows based on what is needed to activate patients, collect data and make care decisions based on that data.
As you map out these workflows, it’s helpful to break down the phases of setting up a patient on the platform and develop processes for each phase:
- Segmentation: How will you define eligibility for participation in the program, and then how will you identify those patients? At Propeller, some of our partners focus only on patients with uncontrolled asthma or low medication adherence, while others benefit from offering the platform to all patients with asthma or COPD. Refer back to the goals you previously identified to ensure your targeting aligns with the groups you want to engage.
- Marketing: How will your patients find out about the program? Will you notify them during clinic visits (or telemedicine visits in times of quarantine), make calls or send out mailers? Your RPM vendor should have experience with other clients in this area and can advise on what they’ve seen work best for their solution with your target patient demographic. They may provide clinical marketing materials or, with your cooperation, market directly to your eligible patients.
- Enrollment: Ideally, the platform you’ve selected should offer digital enrollment paths for the patient to self-enroll and for clinical staff to enroll patients on their behalf. Assuming both of these options are available, you can choose between onboarding patients within a clinical setting or having the vendor mail them devices with enrollment instructions. Depending on the type of device, it’s often more helpful to educate and enroll patients live to ensure they understand how to use the product and why it’s beneficial to their health. But, busy practices don’t always have the luxury of in-clinic or video call enrollment, so it’s important for the vendor to offer alternatives. Bonus points if the vendor can nudge the patient directly with emails or mobile push notifications to keep them engaged throughout the program.
- Intervention: Whether it’s EHR integration or a secure clinical portal, you must have a strategy for incorporating RPM data and surfacing it at the point of care to inform treatment plans. Then, standardize what actions you will take based on the data you receive. When a patient doesn’t adhere to their medication regimen for two weeks, for instance, you may have a care coordinator call them to intervene. Many of Propeller’s clinician partners use our platform to see which patients have high rescue inhaler usage — this helps them focus on people who would benefit most from intervention.
- Support: As with any technical program, there must be a clear system for customer support. Your RPM vendor may have dedicated support teams for clinicians and patients using the platform, as well as support articles within their help center, mobile app and provider portal. Make sure your staff and patients know who to contact if they run into issues.
It’s a heavy lift to create new protocols while the program has yet to launch, but the upfront investment will hopefully pay off for years to come. We recommend consulting resources like the American Medical Association’s RPM Implementation Workflow Checklist as you prepare to start the program.
Staffing for Success
Without clearly assigned roles and responsibilities, it’s easy to see how a program could run into trouble. As you map out each of the steps above, consider which members of your staff will own which responsibilities, and what that will mean for their overall workload.
Staff members also need to understand how and why what they’re doing is helping the patient. If your medical assistant is the person primarily responsible for enrolling patients into the program, they are much more likely to enroll patients if they believe in the program themselves and see how it could improve the patient’s quality of life.
If you work in a smaller practice with limited staffing resources, talk with your vendor about how they might be able to support the areas we’ve covered in this post. They should be as invested in the program’s success as you are.
This is part three in a series on implementing remote patient monitoring in clinical settings. In the next and final blog post, things get really exciting: we’ll cover how to launch, measure and scale your program over time.