Virtual Care: Remote patient engagement and monitoring

November 4, 2019  //  FOUND IN: Updates & Resources

In September, Headlines featured a story introducing faculty and staff to Michigan Medicine’s Virtual Care Program.

In a new bi-weekly series, the newsletter will now take a deeper dive into the five segments that make up Michigan Medicine’s Virtual Care program, beginning with remote patient engagement and monitoring (RPE/M).

What is remote patient engagement and monitoring?

Remote patient engagement and monitoring refers to technology used to monitor and engage patients outside of a clinical setting (i.e. home, office, etc.), whether it be by mobile application, phone call, text, mobile applications or remote monitoring device. It allows clinicians to keep track of patients around-the-clock, allowing for real-time care plan adjustments along with condition-specific education at teachable moments. It also provides an opportunity for patients to receive post-acute care and interventions without visiting the provider’s office, reducing costly and often unnecessary emergency room/hospital admissions.

The benefits for patients

There are a number of benefits to remote patient engagement and monitoring for patients. It allows for them to maintain independence, offering a proactive and timely approach to medical data collection. Patients can undergo routine tests and have their vitals such as blood pressure and weight measured, track exercise activity for high-risk patients, and collect data and transmit it directly to the provider in real-time. Add in the ability to electronically report symptoms experienced, and patients can now receive guided support (and possibly medical interventions) outside of their regularly-scheduled care appointments.

“With remote patient engagement and monitoring, patients appreciate the engagement in their care and they feel as if they’re an active member of their own care team.” said Virtual Care Project Manager Brandy Knudson. “They appreciate the automated outreach and not having to call the clinic or travel to a Michigan Medicine facility for an appointment when they’re experiencing symptoms.”

Helping providers deliver care systemwide

On the clinical side of remote patient engagement, this service may possibly prevent complications because patients are consistently being monitored. Providers are able to focus on the patients who need immediate care rather than those who are doing well, and they can adjust patient care plans in real-time, treating patients in a convenient way.

Systemwide, the institution is able to identify clinical efficiencies and measure unplanned 30-day readmission rates including the associated cost penalties, length of stay, unnecessary emergency department visits, available exam room clinic space, and patient and clinician travel.

Remote monitoring has enhanced care at Michigan Medicine for more than 2,000 patients with congestive heart failure, diabetes, cancer (post-chemo symptom management), and post-acute and post-surgical needs. The Virtual Care Program has developed a multi-modal set of tools for collecting patient-generated health data (PGHD) in MiChart that focuses on ease of use for patients.

In a nutshell

Remote patient monitoring provides unique mechanisms for patients and providers to interact, saving time, money, and unnecessary trips to the provider’s office. As the program continues to grow and utilized more frequently, patient satisfaction and clinical efficiencies will be the result. And that’s good for everyone!

Make sure to check out the next article in the Virtual Care series, which highlights video visits.