Caitlin Clement|3/30/2023|3 min read

What is Remote Therapeutic Monitoring (RTM)?

Learn what RTM is, how it relates to RPM and its reimbursement status

woman blowing into an electronic spirometer

The virtual care and digital health spaces have been evolving at an unprecedented rate in recent years. To say the COVID-19 pandemic redefined the way we think of health care is a major understatement. The increase in telemedicine adoption came out of necessity, but healthcare organizations and providers alike realized its potential to fill the gaps left by an outdated healthcare system. 

As virtual care processes continue to evolve, this is where remote therapeutic monitoring comes into play.

What is remote therapeutic monitoring (RTM)?

Remote therapeutic monitoring (RTM) is a subset of telemedicine that allows healthcare providers to remotely monitor and manage the real-time health of patients dealing with non-physiological data. It involves the use of electronic devices and software to collect, transmit and analyze patient data pertaining to both the musculoskeletal and respiratory systems. The remote technology can also be used to monitor pain levels and track a patient's adherence to prescribed therapeutics/medications.

Looking at it from a PHI and regulatory angle, the technology used to produce this data must be FDA approved and adhere to HIPAA regulations when transferred from patient to provider.

Additionally, you can find RTM’s roots in remote patient monitoring (RPM), which has been in use for decades. RPM typically involves the use of medical devices, such as blood glucose meters, blood pressure monitors and pulse oximeters, to collect physiological patient data outside of a clinical setting. 

How are RTM and RPM different?

While RPM has been effective in managing certain chronic conditions, such as diabetes and hypertension, it has limitations. RPM only provides healthcare providers with data about a patient's physical health, such as their blood pressure and blood sugar levels. While this data is certainly important, it doesn't provide information about the patient's mental health or their adherence to medication and lifestyle changes, which can be critical in managing more chronic conditions.

RTM takes RPM to the next level by incorporating software that collects data not just from medical devices, but also from patient-reported outcomes (PROs) and other digital health tools. By incorporating PROs into RTM, healthcare providers can get a more comprehensive picture of a patient's health, including their mental and emotional well-being.

The use of RTM in treating chronic conditions

RTM paired with RPM has the potential to change the way providers treat chronic conditions by expanding their access to more real-time patient data. This allows healthcare professionals to make more timely and informed decisions about treatment plans, identify potential health risks before they become serious and adopt more value-based care methods.

RTM can also help engage chronic care patients in their own care and increase treatment plan adherence by helping them understand the impact of their lifestyle choices on their health.

For example, diabetes is a chronic condition that affects over 400 million people worldwide and is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality. RTM paired with RPM data can help healthcare providers manage diabetes more effectively through evidence-based, outcome-driven care at home.

Real-time monitoring of patients' blood glucose levels, as well as their diet and exercise habits can identify potential health risks early on and adjust treatment plans accordingly. This could potentially reduce the risk of complications such as heart disease and stroke.

Remote therapeutic monitoring is reimbursable

There’s the question that plagues any new method of care, especially within the virtual care space, and that’s “Is this reimbursable?” Thanks to the creation of new CPT codes by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) this past year, remote therapeutic monitoring is reimbursable. However, there are some conditions that need to be met in order to receive these reimbursements. These include:

  • Assuring the software being used is deemed a medical device by the FDA

  • The platform enables a provider prescribed care plan that helps the patient achieve the same or better outcomes at home than traditional in-person care

  • A measurable, defensible audit trail for all interactions with the care plan

  • Interactions still need to be meaningful, measurable and well-documented set by the parameters for meaningful touch points identified by CMS

  • collection of data must happen within 16-day time period in order to be reimbursed

When adhering to these conditions, providers and health systems can enjoy streamlined patient workflows and increased access to high-quality, evidence-based care for their patients. 

Powering remote patient delivery at every touchpoint

Now that you’re a little more familiar with RTM and its potential benefits, we’d like to introduce OpenLoop and our telehealth delivery solutions. Our company excels at staying up-to-date on the latest in digital health, keeping our clients competitive in the virtual care space by scaling their telehealth operations. 

Services like our intuitive, API driven technology platform and 6000+ NCQA accredited clinician network—just to name a few—allow our clients to manage their patients and grow their patient pool nationwide.

Interested in what our services can offer your organization? Get in touch here!

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