June 1, 2023

How to scale your remote care program

‍Remote care management programs use technology to facilitate clinically driven, remote monitoring, care and education of patients and are essential to effective health management - in particular for managing patients with chronic disease.

How to scale your remote care program

Using technology and specialized staff facilitates a practice’s ability to scale and grow these programs easily and efficiently to offer better care and support to many more patients. 

Scaling your remote care program can bring many benefits to your providers, your patients and your practice. Today, scalable remote care management is an essential part of medical practices’ growth, improving health outcomes for patients, increasing satisfaction for providers, reaching and caring for more patients and the key to staying competitive. With a successful, scalable remote care program you increase the efficiency, effectiveness, quality and outcomes of your practice and care delivered to your patients.

Benefits of scaling = reaching more patients, improving outcomes + staying competitive

Set yourself up for success

Here’s what you need to do to scale your remote care program and bring the benefits of scaling to your remote programs and practice:

HOW TO SCALE YOUR REMOTE CARE MANAGEMENT PROGRAM CHECKLIST

- Ensure a quality patient experience -  putting patients at the center

- Develop highly sophisticated software and the infrastructure to do deep integration into the EHR

- Hire sufficient staff to successfully run your remote care management programs

- Improve operational efficiency and create key processes to track, monitor and report on patient data and your remote care programs

More specifically, there are three key considerations- requirements, really - that your practice must consider to successfully scale a remote care program - you’ll need highly sophisticated software and the supportive infrastructure for the software, sufficient staff and to have processes that integrate the software and various data to ensure the program is run accurately. 

Below, we offer a guideline for successfully scaling your remote care management programs. While there are only a few key requirements, they do require extensive resources and work for your practice to establish and maintain.

3 key requirements: software, staff and processes

There are three key requirements  that your practice must consider to successfully scale a remote care program:

Software

You’ll need updated software and the supportive infrastructure for the software

Staff

You’ll need sufficient staff (specifically) dedicated to managing your remote care programming

Processes

You’ll need to have processes that integrate the software and various data points and national requirements to ensure the program is run accurately

Updated, highly sophisticated software and a supportive infrastructure are essential

Successful scalable remote care management relies heavily on seamless EHR integration with highly sophisticated software and sophisticated, reliable software infrastructure. This software infrastructure is necessary because the EHR systems themselves are not systematically designed for multichannel, frequent communication with patients - and instead are designed only to work around more sporadic appointments - whether in person or telehealth. For practices wanting to add scalable remote care management programming, it’s important to have the software development capabilities that will allow your practice to build a solid infrastructure that seamlessly integrates with the patient’s EHR, and in turn, will lay the groundwork for your program. From there you’ll need to know that the software ensures accurate patient data and encounters tracking (for accuracy, cross provider communication, care and outcomes tracking, billing and compliance). Finally, you’ll need to design the software to help run efficient workflows specific to the type of remote care management program you are using - setting up clear standards of care and steps in each program. So for example, if you are doing remote patient monitoring, there will be clear workflows and data collection protocols to care for and monitor the patient, that will differ from the workflows built into the software that will be used for chronic care management. Long term, this increases the accuracy and ease of each aspect of remote care patient management.  But in the short term, you’ll need these software design, development and implementation capabilities to successfully establish the programs. Learn more about the long term success of these programs. 

Substantial staffing requirements to run successful programs

On top of highly sophisticated software, you need a lot of additional staff to develop and run successful remote care management programs. You need 10 to 20 new people at least - dedicated specifically just to make the calls and handle the day to day needs of the program. More likely you might need  30-40 new staff at best when you account for how many patients need to be managed (often between 5,000-10,000 patients), and to ensure high quality of care and quality assurance of the programs. The staffing requirements are such that you can’t really substitute or share your existing office staff to handle this from time to time. It’s all hands on deck and you need new, dedicated clinical staff to establish remote care with your patients. So, you’ll need to hire this large pool of certified staff - and you’ll need to complete certification and background checks on each new staff hired - as well as support their ongoing continuous training and monitoring.

Most medical practices are not designed to do this kind of work, nor to staff it sufficiently. In times of great staffing shortages - especially in health care, and great efforts to streamline and run practices efficiently and effectively - it can be difficult for an individual practice to take on and can be a real barrier for practices' ability to engage in remote care management. If your practice is determined to scale your programs and do it in-house, the numbers mentioned above, are what is typically needed to achieve the staffing requirements. 

Important processes to track, monitor, and analyze data must be established

To further scale your remote care program, your practice must design lots of protocols and processes that will allow your practice to track and use data to successfully monitor, report and share data. Much of this data will be designed in your software to be extrapolated for a broad range of reporting and compliance reports...

Some of the important processes and protocols that your practice will need to establish for automated reporting, tracking and billing include:

A solid quality assurance process, as well as quality protocols and continuous quality improvement analyses

Quality measures and quality assurance protocols need to be built into all remote care management software, program features and processes and constantly evaluated to ensure the program is helping patients and improving outcomes - and improving accuracy, effectiveness and efficiency of care provided.  

Compliance, audit trails and accurate record keeping

A well-designed compliance reporting process helps you be completely up to date on any regulations and requirements, have detailed, accurate reports on patient care and billing at your fingertips and will make your practice audit ready and audit proof.

Following CMS guidelines and annual updates

You will need plans in place to ensure your practice is monitoring annual Medicare coding, billing or programmatic changes for remote care management and that those changes are incorporated into your software for up to the minute accuracy on coding and billing.

Involve providers in the care process without adding more for them

Software must be designed to ensure all remote interactions are timed and tracked, provider notes and data are automatically uploaded into the EHR keeping all providers engaged and up to date on any patient issues and red flags, important updates and status reports - with little to no additional work required. Summary reports and other reporting processes will ensure all providers working with the patient have the most recent notes and information and updates at their finger tips. Provider and patient engagement will fuel the other. 

Specific workflows and care modules to follow

Specific, automated workflows and established care modules and care processes ensure consistency of the programs and consistency of the care provided. Workflows and modules help establish a standard of care for the practice and for remote care management programming. 

Protocols for specific use cases

While remote care programs and patient care can be standardized through workflows and other program designs to some degree, patient care is also often very individualized. Your practice must have procedures in place to allow for special protocols when a case requires more complex care or a different approach.

Patient grievance procedures and complaints tracking

It’s important to have established processes and systems designed for tracking and reporting patient grievances and complaints. You need to build these data points and tracking and reporting mechanisms into your software to ensure the practice is fully on top of and compliant with patient care and the patient experience.  You must have procedures in place to receive and track and respond to this data. 

Accurate and timely billing

Accurate and timely billing yields on-time payment and consistent revenue for the practice. 

Power up and scale your practice

To create a simple, scalable remote care management program requires complex, resource and time intensive work. Establishing a successful scalable remote care program will have heavy software development, staffing and process development burdens on a medical practice. The formula for successful, scalable remote care management is pretty straightforward, but it is a lot of work, time and investment for your practice. And, can be hard to implement on your own. 

Given the complexity and resources required to successfully scale, sometimes practices decide to use outside experts to help support the infrastructure for scaling their programs. If you’d like help - or would like to do it, but don't have the range of staff, time and software resources required to scale successfully, Medsien can do all of this - and much more -  for you quickly, efficiently and effectively. Learn more about the long-term success of our programs and get the help your practice needs. As experts in scalable remote management, you can work with Medsien to help scale your programs and get the most highly sophisticated software, certified staff and customized processes - in about one week - at no upfront costs.

About Medsien

Medsien is the leading provider of scalable remote care management for a quality patient experience. Hundreds of organizations trust Medsien’s unparalleled technology solutions to implement exceptional remote care management programs, personalize every interaction, and improve the lives of the people who need it most. Based in San Francisco and venture-backed by top-tier investors, Medsien was founded to reimagine remote care management. Visit medsien.com for more information.

Rebecca Steinfeld

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