Study: Medicare use of remote patient monitoring surges during pandemic
According to a analysis published in JAMA lingerie.
The study looked at traditional Medicare claims from January 1, 2018 to September 30, 2021, looking for remote patient monitoring (RPM) CPT codes. That includes new codes introduced in 2019 for general physiological data monitoring. The researchers then compared general RPM use during the pandemic with continuous sugar monitoring, a more specific case with different CPT codes.
They found overall RPM usage increased from 91 requests per 100,000 subscribers in February 2020 to 594 requests per 100,000 subscribers in September 2021, representing a 555% increase. Meanwhile, the use of CGM increased only 42%.
The study also analyzes how these RPM services are being used and by whom. During the pandemic, 63.1% of RPMs were generally delivered by primary care clinicians. Meanwhile, 19.7% were provided by cardiologists and 4.1% by vascular specialists.
The most common primary diagnosis for RPM care was hypertension, which accounted for 62.5% of RPM services. Diabetes accounted for 8.3%, while sleep disturbance was cited for 3.9% of the claims and hyperlipidemia, or high cholesterol, for 3.5%.
The researchers noted that the primary diagnosis varied across specialties; For example, sleep and respiratory disorders accounted for 76.4% of the overall RPM for pulmonologists. Overall, primary health care providers’ surveillance for hypertension dominates RPM use during the pandemic, accounting for 42.7% of services.
WHY IT IMPORTANT
Although still small, the growth of RPM can have a serious impact on costs if usage continues. The study’s authors noted multiple Medicare beneficiaries have high blood pressureA huge use case is seen in this analysis.
But they argue that more research is needed to figure out when RPM will be most useful.
“Costs must be balanced against potential benefits of RPM, such as reduced hospitalization rates,” the researchers write. “Further research is needed to identify clinical situations in which RPM may have most beneficial and to understand which patients are using it and whether any groups are facing access issues.”
TREND TO BIGGER
Many companies are offering RPM technology. Biofourmis, which focuses on AI-powered surveillance as well as digital therapies, was recently added Another 20 million dollars to it Raise $300 Million Series EASY was first announced in April.
Connected health technology company Withings also launch its own RPM service use its wearables, scales, and sleeping mats, while Alio received FDA license 510(k) for a monitoring system that collects data on skin temperature, auscultation, and heart rate.
Meanwhile, the Association for Digital Medicine (DiMe) last month released four toolkits aims to help healthcare and life sciences organizations use sensor data from wearable devices and RPM systems at scale.