Since the pandemic swept the world, companies have been looking for ways to provide services to their customers without their customers having to leave their home to get them. One way that the healthcare industry has tackled the problem of in-person disease management is by implementing a remote patient monitoring program. However, this can be a daunting task, especially if you aren’t sure how to get such a program up and running. These best practices for adopting a remote patient monitoring program will give you the foundation you need to get started.
Start With a Pilot Program
It’s unwise to implement a system-wide program like remote patient monitoring without having tested it on a small subset of your patients beforehand. You should always start a major initiative with a pilot program that allows you to work out the kinks, make adjustments, and determine the results without spending a fortune on a program that doesn’t work for you.
There are many different report patient monitoring platforms available, and not all of them are appropriate for all medical practices. You need to take the time to test one (or more) out before adopting it for the entire practice. You might discover that you don’t have enough patients to make it cost effective or you serve a population of patients who just won’t adopt technology.
Prioritize Patient Engagement
Your remote patient monitoring program isn’t going to be successful if your patients don’t use it. For this reason, you must prioritize patient engagement by making sure the technology is easy to use, data is provided in simple terms for the patient to understand and track, and patients are able to take an active role in their care by giving them tools to improve their numbers.
Understanding what motivates the patients you’re targeting can go a long way in ensuring they actually use the program. For example, diabetes patients often aren’t motivated to control their blood sugar levels because they don’t know how to cook to manage their condition. Providing tips on diabetic cooking when they log their numbers might be a great way to motivate them.
Have Clearly Defined Goals
Without clearly defined goals for your remote patient monitoring program, you’re not going to be able to determine if your program is working. Before deciding on a program, you’ll want to know which patients you’re targeting (high-risk patients, specific diseases, etc.), what change you’re trying to achieve with those patients (reduce blood sugar levels, achieve better medication compliance, etc.), and how you’ll define success (blood sugar levels will improve by 10% in the first six months of use by type II diabetics, etc.).
When you create your goals for your program, make sure they are specific and measurable. A goal of “improving blood sugar levels” isn’t specific enough for you to determine whether or not your program is a success. Instead, providing a percentage that can be calculated at the end of a particular time frame will give you the data you need to either keep the program as it is or adjusting it somewhat so that you can meet your goals.
Focus On Outreach and Onboarding
Recruiting patients to enroll in the remote patient monitoring program is critical to its success. There are three basic ways to recruit patients: in-person, telephone calls, and a written outreach campaign (emails, letters, posters, etc.). The most effective way to recruit patients is during an in-person visit by that person’s doctor. Their suggestion will hold the most weight in getting patients enrolled and patients can ask any questions they have from the right person to answer them. Additionally, the physician can onboard the patient and make sure they understand how the technology works.
In these days of COVID-19, though, you may need to resort to a phone call or print outreach campaign. These are less effective, but can still work if you personalize the approach, explain how the program is going to benefit patients, and provide them an easy way to access it. Onboarding needs to be simple and straightforward, especially if you are enrolling older patients. Have a live person they can contact if they need help.
Implementing a remote patient monitoring program has proven to be extremely beneficial to patient outcomes, especially those who have had difficulty managing their condition in the past. There are many benefits to adding a program like this to your practice, but before you do, consider these best practices to ensure your success.