In a matter of weeks, COVID-19 public health numbers have almost doubled, reporting close to 15 million positive cases and 280,000 deaths nationwide, since March 2020. These data confirm the arrival of a “second wave” or “surge” that our experts anticipated with the start of fall and early winter. According to a December 4, 2020 Reuters report, two Americans are dying every minute due to COVID-19 complications.
Florida’s data and trending are similar to the national numbers mentioned above, with more than 1 million positive cases and 20,000 deaths reported statewide to date. AHCA reports low bed availability and ICU capacity throughout the state, suggesting resource challenges.
This concerning public health data has also affected our medical workforce as our providers and first-line caregivers find themselves “stretched to the max” due to an escalating workload demand. Hospital providers and staff are profiled every day in the news, as they are overwhelmed and fatigued, many showing symptoms of burnout. A combination of surging pandemic numbers, lack of resource capacity and provider burnout points to a sure-fire formula for a bad national outcome or worse yet, a profound crisis and breakdown of the national health system.
RPM solves capacity issues and provider burnout due to its scalability and population health approach
RPM provides a scalable, intelligent solution that can handle increasing numbers of COVID-19 positive patients at home, saving hospital resources for those patients that meet admission criteria. RPM offers comprehensive monitoring and assessment for positive COVID-19 patients at home, as it allows biometric measurements, telehealth interventions and communication. Proper stratification of patients into correct and appropriate service lines saves hospital beds for the care-intensive patient. In other words, RPM helps our providers deal effectively with their inpatient/outpatient work load allocation and provides efficiency and capacity to the healthcare system.
Patient stratification algorithms are important in a surging pandemic to place patients in correct therapeutic environments. These clinical decision trees should help manage in-hospital capacity and appropriate site-of-service allocation by creating two main tracks, one that meets admissions criteria or a second track for those that can be followed at home with RPM. These algorithms are commonly used in Population Health and include clinical metrics considering the person’s demographics, risk factors, comorbidities, severity and intensity indexes, and others.
If the decision is taken to follow the patient at home, RPM is able to provide relevant biometric information in real time, report customized unique clinical/demographic metrics, provide red flags and alerts for critical values and set nurse assessment or interventions. Monitoring at
home will free hospital beds and provider/hours for other patients. In addition, RPM allows for physician extenders, such as medical assistants, to do the monitoring thus increasing the potential number of patients that can be cared for on a daily basis. Further, as a cloud-based solution, monitoring can occur from anywhere in case medical assistants are working from home. This level of efficiency and management of the practice is bound to mitigate burnout as the physician provider gains control and confidence in their practice. In essence, RPM injects quality, manageability and cost-effectiveness into a difficult public health situation.
Indeed, a world renowned mid-western medical system is using RPM in their “Center for Connected Care”. The COVID-19 at-home patients are stratified into two risk tracks and followed by nurses and personnel who communicate and monitor pulse oximetry, blood pressure, temperature, and weight measurement among other important patient information. The medical system created their own RPM solution, but there are other solutions available for physicians and medical systems to utilize.
WITHmyDoc is a healthcare software company located in South Florida that offers state-of-the-art RPM capabilities. The visually intuitive, intelligent platform is device and EHR agnostic. WITHmyDoc’s expert team is focused exclusively on RPM, incorporating AI and predictive modeling analytics to its progressive and successful platform. WITHmyDoc has been a visionary in RPM and currently works with medical systems needing chronic condition at-home management, Population Health strategies and COVID-19 monitoring.
Bottom line, RPM is increasingly endorsed by experts and renowned organizations, recognized as an essential clinical tool to follow COVID-19 positive patients at home during the pandemic. Medical literature and experience support the use of RPM in acute (COVID-19) as well as in chronic conditions, to the extent that it has been recognized, reviewed and expanded in recent CMS reimbursement policies and in the new 2021 Medicare Physician Fee schedule. RPM offers 24/7 comprehensive care and assessment, thus improving the quality of life of the patient at home and the quality of care given by the provider remotely. By remaining at home these patients help reduce the transmission of disease. The physician provider gains control and confidence in his/her practice by being able to allocate patients and resources effectively, thus mitigating burnout. RPM’s scalability allows providers to follow large populations safely and efficiently. Keeping patients out of the hospital will increase bed availability and capacity for others needing the care.