The importance of remote patient monitoring (RPM) and telehealth could not be better demonstrated than by the effectiveness they have shown in improving patient care at an urban health center in Ohio. A recent spotlight from Healthcare IT News on how the Neighborhood Family Practice in Cleveland responded to the COVID-19 pandemic identifies key areas in which both the patient and the practice benefit from the implementation of telehealth solutions.
Here are the highlights:
1. Reduction of no-shows: Telehealth options allow patients greater ease in communicating with their healthcare professional. Virtual visits give patients the opportunity to seek care from their home, meaning they can more easily fit an appointment into a busy day and they limit their exposure risk to COVID-19.
“The no-show rate in that department has been cut nearly in half. That has not only been because of increased demand for services, but the ease of use for patients.”– Dr. Charles “Chad” Garven, Neighborhood Family Practice
2. A more personal and data-driven approach: Distribution and use of blood pressure cuffs and scales have proven effective in remote monitoring of pregnancies and hypertension. Use of these devices give healthcare professionals more data on which to base decisions about patient care. Additionally, virtual visits taking place in a patient’s home gives healthcare professionals valuable insights into the patient’s day-to-day life and enables solutions and treatment plans that are individualized based on patient needs.
“Early results are promising for those who have been successful in engaging in the program. We have been able to manage hypertension effectively, quickly and safely.”– Dr. Charles “Chad” Garven, Neighborhood Family Practice
3. Improved business model: Offering telehealth and RPM services brought significant increases in the monthly visitations at Neighborhood Family Practice, which allowed them to hire back staff who had been furloughed at the start of the pandemic. Incorporating RPM can be a good way for practices to get their businesses back on their feet.
“In looking at our visit volume, we had an expected dip in visit volume during the most restrictive period of the COVID-19 stay-at-home order for March/April/May. By June 2020, we surpassed June 2019 visit volume by 12%, July by 20%, August by 8%, and September by 18%. October and November are even busier.”– Jean Polster, RN, president and CEO of Neighborhood Family Practice