Through remote blood pressure monitoring, clinicians can optimize workflow efficiency, provide more accessible healthcare, and generate more revenue.
Why isn’t it already common practice? Remote patient monitoring is a relatively new digital technology that many falsely assume is too complicated to establish in their clinics.
To help determine the efficacy of remote blood pressure monitoring, this article will go over the risks associated with hypertension, the benefits of remote blood pressure monitoring, and the updated CPT billing codes for medicare reimbursement.
Risks Associated with Hypertension
Hypertension is a chronic condition that affects nearly 1.13 billion people worldwide.
However, many people are unaware that they have hypertension because symptoms aren’t always apparent.
As a result, poorly managed hypertension can increase the risks of serious diseases including:
- Heart attack
- Heart failure
- Kidney disease/ failure
- Vision loss
- Sexual dysfunction
These conditions generally require hospitalization and can be very costly to treat. In order to prevent the development of major health threats, it’s essential to measure blood pressure on a regular basis.
According to the American Heart Association, hypertension is defined by a systolic reading of 130+ mmHg or a diastolic reading of 80+ mmHg.
Remote blood pressure monitoring allows clinicians to get the health data they need to identify complications early, observe treatment outcomes, and administer necessary changes in a timely manner.
What Kind of Patients Can Benefit from Remote Blood Pressure Monitoring?
Remote blood pressure monitoring can be beneficial not only for individuals with hypertension, but also for people that are included in demographics with a greater risk of developing hypertension such as:
- Individuals age 65+
- Pregnant women
- Individuals with a family history of high blood pressure
Hypertension typically develops over a gradual period and is often preventable.
With remote patient monitoring, clinicians can identify risk factors early and focus on preventative care.
Benefits of Remote Blood Pressure Monitoring
Remote blood pressure monitoring can be utilized to the advantage of both the patient and clinician.
1. Provides Better Healthcare In Between Visits
A single blood pressure measurement only measures one’s blood pressure at that specific moment.
Many factors like stress or forgetting to take medications can influence this measurement, providing the clinician with an inaccurate representation of the patient’s health.
With remote blood pressure monitoring, patients can measure their blood pressure regularly from the comfort of their homes.
This will provide physicians with a more precise representation of the patient’s blood pressure levels over time and help ensure that treatments are effective.
2. Increases Patient Engagement
Remote blood pressure monitoring also encourages patients to engage in their healthcare.
The devices are user-friendly and utilize 4G cellular technologies to send the data to physicians in real-time.
Patients are held accountable for taking their measurements on a regular basis and seeing their results frequently will empower them to play a more active role in managing their blood pressure.
3. Reduces Costs
With current healthcare practices, the total direct costs related to hypertension from 2010 to 2030 are predicted to triple from $130.7 billion to $389.9 billion.
Additionally, indirect costs attributed to lost productivity (i.e. wait times, inefficient data collection, failing to identify health threats early on, etc.) are projected to double from $25.4 billion to $42.8 billion.
Remote blood pressure monitoring is easy to set up and integrate into a clinic’s workflow.
It can help physicians work more efficiently, treat health complications early, and ultimately reduce hospitalizations.
4. Generates More Revenue
Remote blood pressure monitoring allows physicians to care for more patients by making quality healthcare more accessible. Patients don’t have to worry about setting appointments, office wait times, or transportation.
Additionally, remote patient monitoring encourages patients to be more involved in their healthcare. This increases patient satisfaction, retention, and referrals.
CPT Billing Codes for Remote Blood Pressure Monitoring
To encourage more practices to adopt remote patient monitoring, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) introduced CPT codes that enable reimbursement for RPM services.
Remote blood pressure monitoring can be billed for the following 4 codes:
“Remote monitoring of physiologic parameter(s) (e.g., weight, blood pressure, pulse oximetry, respiratory flow rate); initial set-up and patient education on use of equipment.”
This is a one-time reimbursement for setting up and teaching the patient how to use the blood pressure monitor.
The current 2020 national payment amount is $20.50.
“Remote monitoring of physiologic parameter(s) (e.g., weight, blood pressure, pulse oximetry, respiratory flow rate), initial; device(s) supply with daily recording(s) or programmed alert(s) transmission, each 30 days.”
This code can be billed monthly as long as the patient uses the device for 16 days or more per calendar month.
The current 2020 national payment amount is $68.21.
"Remote physiologic monitoring treatment management services, clinical staff/physician/other qualified health care professional time in a calendar month requiring interactive communication with the patient/caregiver during the month; initial 20 minutes"
This code can be billed once a month. It covers the first 20 minutes of remote patient monitoring services.
One of the updates (effective January 1, 2020) qualifies CPT 99457 and CPT 99458 to be carried out under the general supervision of a physician instead of direct supervision.
The CMS defines ‘general supervision’ as circumstances where “the procedure or service is furnished under the physician’s overall direction and control, but the physician’s presence is not required during the performance of the procedure.”
This means that some of the more general RPM services can be outsourced, which saves more time for the clinician.
The current 2020 national payment amount is $35.88 (for facility) and $56.38 (for non-facility).
"Remote physiologic monitoring treatment management services, clinical staff/physician/other qualified health care professional time in a calendar month requiring interactive communication with the patient/caregiver during the month; additional 20 minutes"
This code can be billed on a monthly basis. It covers every additional 20 minutes of remote patient monitoring services.
There’s no limit to the amount of units this code can be billed for. For example, if 80 minutes are spent on RPM services for a single patient, clinics would bill for 3 units (3 additional 20-minute sessions).
The current 2020 national payment amount is $35.88 (for facility) and $46.13 (for non-facility).
The Next Step
Interested in trying remote blood pressure monitoring at your clinic?
Tenovi Health BPM offers an accurate and easy-to-use solution that will boost workflow efficiency and customer satisfaction.
Click here to get started with a free demo!
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