What Is Remote Patient Monitoring?

In this article...
  • Remote physiological monitoring (RPM), sometimes called remote patient monitoring, gives your doctor access to your physiological data so they can support you in your journey to become and stay healthy. Learn more about how RPM telehealth services can benefit you during COVID-19 and beyond.

Do you ever wonder what it would be like if your doctor automatically knew when something was wrong and could intervene as quickly as possible? For example, did your blood pressure spike suddenly?

Are your glucose levels recently trending upward? What about your weight, pulse oximetry, electrocardiogram readings, or respiratory flow rate?

Your doctor can keep an eye on this data and use it to manage your health thanks to a Medicare-covered service called remote physiological monitoring (RPM), which is sometimes referred to as remote patient monitoring.

What Is Remote Monitoring?

With RPM, your physician monitors your health remotely. You don’t need to come into the office.

RPM uses digital technology to collect your health data and securely transmit it electronically to your doctor in a different location so they can assess it and intervene, when necessary.

How Can Medical Monitoring Benefit Me?

With RPM, it’s all about using certain types of devices to give your doctor automatic access to physiological data that can help them treat you more effectively.

For example, if they see a spike in your blood pressure, they can contact you and make sure you’re taking your medications as prescribed. Without this data, they (and you) might not know there is a problem.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, RPM is especially beneficial because it prevents you from having to go into the office for this type of frequent monitoring.

However, monitoring your health data is always important because it can prevent your condition from worsening and keep you healthy and out of the hospital.

Does Medicare Cover Patient Monitoring?

Potentially, yes. You may be eligible for RPM if you have a chronic or acute condition that can benefit from data-driven monitoring. You must also have an order from a physician or other qualified healthcare professional to receive RPM services, and you must use a medical device (as defined by the Food & Drug Administration) to capture the data.

This device must automatically transmit your data to your doctor. Your doctor may provide this device to you, or you may need to purchase it separately.

What’s Included with RPM?

If you consent to RPM, your doctor will first educate you on how to set up and use the device to collect the relevant data. Next, your device will transmit at least 16 days’ worth of data and possibly much more, depending on your condition.

In some cases, your doctor may contact you directly to discuss revisions to your treatment plan based on the data you’ve provided.    

How Much Does Remote Monitoring Cost?

RPM is a monthly service. You will pay for the first RPM visit and a monthly fee after meeting your Medicare Part B deductible.

About the Author

Lisa Eramo is an independent health care writer whose work appears in the Journal of the American Health Information Management Association, Healthcare Financial Management Association, For The Record Magazine, Medical Economics, Medscape and more.

Lisa studied creative writing at Hamilton College and obtained a master’s degree in journalism from Northeastern University. She is a member of the American Health Information Management Association, American Academy of Professional Coders, Society of Professional Journalists, Association of Health Care Journalists and the American Society of Journalists and Authors.

Lisa currently resides in Cranston, Rhode Island with her wife and two-year-old twin boys.

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