Remote Therapeutic Monitoring, Patient Satisfaction and Better Outcomes

As rehab providers, one of our biggest challenges is patient adherence to a Home Exercise Program. What if you received extra money for helping the patient to be adherent to their HEP?  Did you know that you can?  That is what the five codes for remote therapeutic monitoring are designed to “reward”.  But what about those patients that don’t want to use technology?  Perhaps the use of technology isn’t for everyone, but what if you could use it with the population that would welcome it?

First, let’s review why patients who come to therapy for help, receive guidance on what can help them, still have about 50% of patients who don’t engage in those exercises/activities.  Studies show the most common barriers, not surprisingly, are:

  • Pain
  • Views/beliefs surrounding therapy (the therapist should heal me)
  • Lack of support/encouragement
  • Similar barriers as “general exercise” (no time, “forgetting”, lack of space, busy schedules)
  • Fear of injury/unsure of how to perform the program correctly.

Since the pandemic, research has shown that more and more patients enjoy a blended approach of face-to-face and virtual appointments. Studies also show that the population we’ve always thought of as “less likely to use technology”, has become more “tech likely” because of how they were forced to communicate with family and loved ones during the pandemic using technology. So, while technology still is not for everyone, there is more of the population that is willing to engage and benefit from technology within their rehab experience.

So how do you use this knowledge to your advantage?

First, the technology has to be easy to use.  If it’s cumbersome or isn’t easy to understand, it won’t be utilized.

Second, communication is the key.  Two barriers that are addressed with exceptional communication are “views/beliefs surrounding therapy” and “fear of injury/unsure of how to perform the program correctly”.  The patient needs to understand and verbalize their acceptance of their role in their own care toward their goals.  They need to understand how to use the technology independently.  They need to understand how to perform their exercises correctly and without pain.  There is a large difference between handing a patient a page of exercises and saying “do these and I’ll see you next visit”, and engaging a workflow that looks like the following:

  1. Establish the importance “why” these specific exercises are being prescribed and how they’re designed to help accomplish the patient’s goals
  2. Go over the app and how to perform the exercises and indicated they were completed
  3. Let the patient know you are supporting them between visits and they can contact you via the app if they experience any pain or challenges
  4. Let the patient know you can see how often they’re performing their exercises (accountability goes a long way)
  5. Let the patient know that if they perform these activities as prescribed, they should see change in X amount of time (don’t let them incorrectly assume that they should see dramatic changes after just 1-2 weeks; consider healing and strengthening timeframes)
  6. Establish a verbal contract of what is expected of them (completion of recommended activities as prescribed), and your role as the provider in guiding them over the next few weeks/months

“Lack of time” is a frequent excuse.  In that same conversation, encouraging the patient to set aside 10 min or provide some suggestions to incorporate the exercises into their day between scheduled activities “may” help.  The technology reminders are helpful with both the “lack of time” as well as the “forgetting” excuses.  The patient must see value in what has been prescribed, otherwise they won’t “make the time”.  One variable related to this is the number of exercises prescribed.  Research shows that beyond 3 exercises, the patient is less likely to perform them.  Consider prescribing those that “give the most bang for your buck”, then replacing them with something higher level as they progress; not giving 5-15 exercises all at once.

So where does RTM come into play?

RTM helps incentivize the therapist to use technology to address many of these barriers while focusing on what matters: improved adherence = better outcomes = improved patient satisfaction and quality of life.

If you were going to earn an extra $120 on average for a patient you engaged in Remote Therapeutic Monitoring (outside of an in addition to what you’re reimbursed for a visit), would you consider tweaking your workflow to ensure you met the requirement to bill for these codes?

You have the tools embedded in OptimisPT to help you engage your patients.  This includes:

  • The optimumMe app
    • Complete electronic outcome measures
    • Receive reminders to perform your HEP
    • Communicate with your provider
    • Transmit data back to your provider on adherence, pain and difficulty with the HEP
    • Receive appointment reminders
  • Electronic Outcome Measure library
  • Remote Therapeutic Monitoring Suite

We created a comprehensive video series for implementing RTM in your practice and have just introduced a new RTM suite to assist with tracking, providing supportive documentation and billing.  As your practice partner, we want to help you become successful with RTM to generate additional revenue, and to help improve your patient outcomes.  

Our RTM suite is free for OptimisPT customers until March 31st!  If you’re already an OptimisPT customer, make sure you’re taking advantage of these tools to add additional revenue to your practice!  If you’re not yet an OptimisPT customer, come see how OptimisPT can help you thrive!