Research: Medicare distant affected person monitoring use surges throughout pandemic

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Distant affected person monitoring use soared amongst Medicare beneficiaries in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, based on an evaluation revealed in JAMA Inner Medication

The examine reviewed conventional Medicare claims from Jan. 1, 2018, by way of Sept. 30, 2021, on the lookout for distant affected person monitoring (RPM) CPT codes. That included new codes launched in 2019 for monitoring normal physiological information. Researchers then in contrast normal RPM use in the course of the pandemic to steady glucose monitoring, a extra particular case with completely different CPT codes.

They discovered normal RPM use elevated from 91 claims per 100,000 enrollees in February 2020 to 594 claims per 100,000 enrollees in September 2021, representing a 555% bounce. Throughout the identical time, CGM use elevated solely 42%. 

The examine additionally analyzed how these RPM companies have been getting used and by which practitioners. Through the pandemic, 63.1% of normal RPM was offered by major care clinicians. In the meantime, 19.7% was offered by cardiologists and 4.1% was supplied by pulmonology specialists. 

The most typical major analysis for RPM care was hypertension, representing 62.5% of RPM companies. Diabetes made up 8.3%, whereas sleep problems have been cited for 3.9% of claims and hyperlipidemia, or excessive ldl cholesterol, for 3.5%.

The researchers famous that major analysis different inside specialties; for example, sleep and respiratory problems made up 76.4% of normal RPM for pulmonologists. General, hypertension monitoring by major care suppliers dominated RPM use in the course of the pandemic, making up 42.7% of companies. 

WHY IT MATTERS

Though nonetheless small, the expansion of RPM may have a critical affect on price if use continues. The examine’s authors notice many Medicare beneficiaries have hypertension, an enormous use case seen on this evaluation. 

However they argue extra analysis is required to determine when RPM might be most helpful. 

“Prices should be balanced with RPM’s potential advantages, corresponding to decreasing hospital admissions. Randomized medical trials of RPM confirmed combined outcomes total, however some focused use instances confirmed promise,” the researchers wrote. “Additional analysis is critical to establish medical eventualities during which RPM is most helpful and to grasp which sufferers are utilizing it and whether or not there are teams going through entry points.”

THE LARGER TREND

A wide range of firms are providing RPM know-how. Biofourmis, which focuses on AI-backed monitoring in addition to digital therapeutics, not too long ago added one other $20 million to its $300 million Collection D increase first introduced in April. 

Linked well being tech firm Withings additionally launched its personal RPM service utilizing its wearables, scales and sleep mats, whereas Alio obtained FDA 510(okay) clearance for a monitoring system that collects information on pores and skin temperature, auscultation and coronary heart fee.

In the meantime, the Digital Medication Society (DiMe) final month launched 4 toolkits aimed toward serving to healthcare and life science organizations use sensor information from wearables and RPM methods at scale. 



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