Remote Therapeutic Monitoring: A new proposal for the future of Digital Health
The proposed 2022 remote therapeutic monitoring (RTM) codes are intended to greatly expand the reach of digital health companies by reimbursing technology that monitors non-physiologic data and self-reported data.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) introduced a significant step forward in the digital health care world on January 1, 2019, with new Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) codes. Each year since the CMS has proposed additional codes for remote monitoring services. These annual changes incentivized physicians to adopt RPM technology to effectively monitor and manage patient care needs.
Nonetheless, remote patient monitoring is limited in scope. RPM codes relate to physiological data only and do not cover self-reported data. Instead, data must be automatically transmitted by a connected device.
The proposed 2022 Physician Fee Schedule, on the other hand, is intended to greatly expand the reach of digital health companies by reimbursing technology that monitors non-physiologic data as well. The additional proposals are for remote therapeutic monitoring (RTM) codes. These codes are good news for patients, providers, and digital health companies, like VyTrac, because the RTM codes will fill the gaps left by the RPM codes of prior years.
The difference in RTM codes versus RPM codes that will improve VyTrac’s scope of care and efficacy are the changes in the type of data collected and the method that the device collects data.
Remote therapeutic monitoring codes allow non-physiological data to be collected. This includes monitoring health statuses such as pain and medication adherence and response, as well as musculoskeletal and respiratory system statuses. The codes are still vague but imply a broader range of data points important to monitor patients’ health. Such a change will allow VyTrac greater scope of care and will incentivize physician and hospital systems that use VyTrac’s technology to collect and monitor more patient data points. This will ultimately provide better care for RTM patients.
The current remote patient monitoring codes require that data be automatically transmitted by a connected device for the physician to access. Remote therapeutic monitoring codes propose that self-reported data be included under the proposed rule of non-physiological data inclusion. The proposed change is important because self-reported data is necessary to monitor metrics like pain levels and medication adherence. These metrics are not always captured through the current devices in place to monitor patients remotely. Of course, VyTrac welcomes this change.
Although RTM does expand the scope of reimbursement by instituting new codes, the proposed changes are limited in the patient profile that they apply. As of now, the new RTM codes only apply to those with respiratory and musculoskeletal health issues.
The proposed changes to RTM differ from RPM in that they are aimed to be more inclusive. The changes reflect the growing realization that telehealth and remote patient monitoring efforts are invaluable for the future of medicine. VyTrac, a pioneer in remote patient monitoring, will be one of many future organizations to gladly welcome the much-needed adjustments to the codes. VyTrac suspects that over time, the range and scope of what is defined as “telehealth” will increase and physicians will have more opportunities to be compensated for the various aspects of VyTrac remote care they provide patients.