What do you need to know about RPM health equipment?

If you have ever researched remote patient monitoring (RPM) and considered implementing it in your agency or medical practice’s line of services, at some point, you probably asked yourself the questions “What kind of equipment should we use?”, “What is required of it?”, or “How expensive is this going to be?”. These are all valid questions that absolutely should be asked. The biggest problem you’ll likely run into is the lack of information outside of manufacturer websites or Telemonitoring Software websites plugging which ever devices they prefer, have a business affiliation or can connect with.

When it comes to making an educated decision, things can become difficult now that dozens of manufacturers are selling different devices, at different price points, with varying levels of capability and complexity. Here are three questions you should ask when researching different options.

1. Is this Remote Patient Monitoring equipment compliant with federal and state regulations?

Your first question should be whether the equipment you’re considering purchasing meets the rules and regulations at a national and state level. For example, in Texas, the TMHP (Texas Medicaid & Healthcare Partnership) Telecommunication Services Handbook states that a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Class II hospital-grade medical device is required for use. These regulations can vary from state to state, a good starting resource to find state-specific information is the Center for Connected Health Policy, cchpca.org.

2. Will my patients like the RPM health equipment? Will they use it?

Although this is technically two questions, they are directly related. Having an RPM program in place doesn’t accomplish much if your patients aren’t interested in using the equipment. Low participation in the program will yield little if any valuable data. The simplest way to answer both questions is to ask yourself if it’s easy to use? Generally, devices which require little to no effort on the patient’s behalf will result in the best participation. Many devices on the market do their job with the press of a button; oftentimes, they transmit data via a cellular radio and require no additional effort from the patient to get the data to their provider(s). One trap many groups fall into is buying expensive equipment that requires multiple steps on the patient’s behalf to transmit data. Oftentimes this equipment ends up in a drawer or closet, wasting time and money. If the equipment is easy to set up and use, it is more likely your patients will like it.

3. Do the benefits of Home Health Monitoring justify the equipment cost?

This is really a tie-in to the last question; if your patients don’t find the equipment easy to use, odds are they won’t use it. The market is flooded with innovative equipment with loads of features, dedicated apps, tablet/smartphone connectivity, etc… Just be sure to keep your target demographic, staff bandwidth, and program goals top of mind. If you’re dealing with a patient population that’s tech-savvy and interested in putting in the extra work to help provide you with as much data as possible, then those options can be of great value. More often than not, this isn’t the case for organizations just getting their RPM program started. If you are interested in data such as blood pressure, glucose levels, pulse oxygen, weight, or temperature, there are tons of options for quality equipment which accomplish the job at a reasonable price ($100-$200 per device). Ultimately, this is a question where the answer will vary depending on the factors stated above. We recommend you educate yourself on your software vendor’s different connectivity options. Once you have narrowed down your options, try a few before you make a large equipment investment. Making sure your staff and patients understand the equipment and its purposes, connectivity/data collecting options and use of the equipment are top priority. Once you have finalized your selection(s) you can invest in the equipment cost because the benefits justify the investment.

If you’ve read this far, it’s probably safe to assume you’re in the market for an RPM program and are at least in the research phase. Telos Health Solutions is an RPM Software Platform built to be powerful yet practical for our clients. If you would like to learn more about our platform, TelosRPM+, and the different equipment options we have, or have general questions, we might be able to answer. Click the link below for a quick meeting with us. We’re happy to help.

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