I am so pleased that insurance companies have gotten this one right: many of them are now covering something called “Remote Patient Monitoring.” I have long lamented the fact that our health care model was based mostly on discrete episodes of care while most of a person’s health is determined during the 525,500 minutes a year that they are not in their doctor's office. This conundrum is frequently highlighted in much of health research: how do I, as a physician, actually partner with a person to make meaningful change with such artificial and limited interactions? The answer may be remote patient monitoring (RPM).
In RPM at Rainier Medical, if appropriate for your medical goals, we will provide you with an iHealth Nexus body composition scale which links directly to our HealthTrac app. All you need to do is step on the scale at least four times a week and use the “Color My Day” feature of the app to mark the day as green, yellow, or red to note how you felt the day went for you. No more laborious food diaries unless you want to! We will then partner with you to offer resources, accountability, and “just in time” support. (Don’t worry, we will not be the food police!) RPM is based on interactive communication with your physician and Program Director over the HIPAA secure app messaging or virtual video Telehealth visits, to offer whatever can help you best at the time. Overwhelmingly, the feedback I have heard from patients is, “I need accountability.” There are important studies that have shown that this type of partnership does lead to improved long term outcomes. This is also how you can monitor your body composition at home in lieu of the office InBody reports you may miss from pre-Covid era.
To enroll in RPM, these are the steps:
Make an appointment with Dr. Sutherland.
Dr. Sutherland will work with you to set a program and health goals individualized to you and how RPM will be used as part of your program. This will include joint medical decision making on what to monitor, how often, and what the goals are for you and a timeline.
Read the RPM consent form which Dr. Sutherland will provide for you.
Enroll in the HealthTrac app with your personal HIPAA secure profile. You will need a username and password from us.
We will have an iHealth scale shipped directly to your house.
Follow up with Dr. Sutherland monthly to reassess progress and adjust as needed!
If you would like to check your insurance benefits, RPM is covered by the following CPT codes: 99453, 99454, 99457, 99458. Any out of pocket costs are appropriate for Flex or HSA accounts.
Remote Patient Monitoring is simple. Get a device, enroll in the app, step on the scale, Color your Day, and partner with Rainier Medical on your personal health journey!
Valerie Sutherland, MD