During the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s become crucial to keep chronic care seniors at home, as they have the highest mortality rate, and 73% of those hospitalized for the virus have a pre-existing condition. But, continuing to provide care by monitoring and treating their chronic conditions during this time is critical. If their conditions — diabetes, obesity, and congestive heart failure — become unmanaged, it can result in potentially catastrophic and expensive outcomes, further stressing the healthcare system.
In 2019, Medicare introduced reimbursement for remote patient monitoring, making it no cost to seniors with at least one chronic condition. Even during “normal times,” going to a medical office or clinic for seniors has been logistically challenging, as approximately half have transportation barriers to get to their doctor. With the COVID-19 pandemic, going to the office can be life-threatening, as it heightens their risk of infection.
Addressing a growing need to serve seniors at home during the COVID-19 pandemic
COVID-19 is changing how doctors, nurses, and the medical community can safely treat patients. Virtual care, including telemedicine and remote patient monitoring, has come to the forefront as an effective method of maintaining social distancing protocols while providing necessary care to an at-risk senior population.
While telemedicine eliminates the barriers of transportation and distance, practitioners need data about their patients’ chronic conditions to understand who needs to be attended to and who needs intervention. Remote patient monitoring enables providers to serve their seniors patients with diabetes, obesity, and congestive heart failure via cellular-connected devices and receive longitudinal data in perpetuity. The output informs a telemedicine visit and assists healthcare providers in ensuring a patient is in compliance – all without an office visit and thus minimizes the chance of their patients coming into contact with someone infected with COVID-19 outside their home.
If you’re considering a remote patient monitoring platform, be sure that it’s able to support the health of senior citizens in Medicare plans during the global pandemic and beyond. Specifically, RPM devices should enable healthcare providers to manage their chronic care Medicare patients by giving them cellular-connected blood pressure, blood sugar, and weight scales to monitor their chronic conditions, at no cost, within days of enrollment in the program.
Programs like 100Plus provide population health data to providers when patients are out of compliance, enabling a provider to intervene with the goal of avoiding expensive, episodic care – all without an office visit and thus alleviating stress on the health system. To provide a safer environment for seniors, learn more about remote patient monitoring and COVID-19.