RPM Can Be a Time Saving, Cost Saving Resource
A January 2022 piece by NBC News stated that 54% of all nurses and doctors reported being burned out even before the pandemic. The news story portrayed a dire situation. “Nearly 1 in 5 healthcare workers have quit since the beginning of the pandemic,” reported NBC News’ Priscilla Thompson.
Earlier in late 2021, U.S. News & World Report held a webinar with top healthcare leaders, who detailed a “serious threat that burnout presents to the resiliency of hospitals and health systems. Across the nation, front-line workers have been challenged by even higher levels of stress caused by systemic changes to care delivery and exacerbated by COVID-19.”
Since the start of the pandemic, Dr. Victor Dzau, president of the National Academy of Medicine, said, “some 60% to 75% of clinicians report symptoms of exhaustion, depression, sleep disorders and PTSD . . . while nurses are equally if not more stressed. About 20% of health care workers have quit during this period, and 4 out of 5 of those who remain say that staff shortages have affected their ability to work safely and to satisfy patient needs.”
Research estimates that burnout cost the healthcare system about $4.6 billion a year before the spread of COVID-19, Dzau said, and that number has surely risen since then.
Although the implementation of remote patient monitoring (RPM) is not a panacea for healthcare staff burnout, we have seen at WITHmyDOC that staying on top of critical patients saves costs, staff time and results in better care. It is a win-win for both patients and providers when advanced technology, including artificial intelligence (AI) and predictive analytics, are used to monitor patient vitals on a daily basis.
We support providers in two important areas — patient engagement and monitoring. Our MedSquad members, all licensed and experienced nurses, carefully monitor the data from patients and ensure that providers are notified immediately of any patient vitals that are out of the normal range set by the physician. The result is fewer trips to the ER, one of our nation’s most expensive healthcare costs and an unnecessary burden for both patients and providers.
Reporter Sara Heath in her article, which appeared in Patient Engagement HIT, wrote:
“Between 13 and 27 percent of ED visits could be referred to a primary care clinic, urgent care center, or retail clinic, thus saving the healthcare industry $4.4 billion annually. That’s not to mention that the ED is a less than desirable experience for patients, as well. Visiting the ED is scary and stressful, and can generate high out-of-pocket bills for patients, too.”
Patient adherence is vital to helping RPM reduce ER visits. WITHmyDOC uses a systematic onboarding process centered on patient engagement. Once a patient is qualified to be in the program, a member of the PEPsquad connects with the patient and schedules a formal onboarding and training session with a member of the MedSquad, who obtains a general overview of the patient’s history during the onboarding session. Our nurse will continue to interact and engage with the patient on an ongoing basis, monitoring the alert notifications defined by the clinical workflow set by the provider.
“We are able to get a big picture of each of our patients’ daily vital signs. We then make sure that anything that needs to be followed up on is handled,” said one MedSquad nurse.
PepSquad and MedSquad members can communicate with patients in English, French, Creole and Spanish, serving as vital liaisons between the patient and provider.
This comprehensive support means patients are happier because they feel more in control of their health and have the comfort of knowing both technology and real people are keeping a close eye on their health. Providers are less stressed because they know their patients are being carefully monitored. They only need to get involved when an issue arises. When patients visit their doctors, they can review the vitals report for a more productive appointment.
Our passion is strong for creating a healthcare ecosystem that helps both patients and providers know that technology to accomplish this vision will continue to improve. Supporting providers by handling the daily monitoring of chronically ill patients is one way we can help lighten the load of over-worked healthcare workers. This is a change whose time has come, as patients take on more control of their own health and providers have more robust data to help support their patients more effectively. We all win with this model.