Remote Therapeutic Monitoring (RTM): Meeting the Needs of Musculoskeletal Patients
The annual cost of all conditions to the healthcare system is staggering, specifically the costs associated with MSK conditions. On average, musculoskeletal conditions cost the healthcare system ~$600 billion dollars per year. That’s more than twice what heart disease costs the healthcare system.
Research shows that early and adherent physical therapy can not only decrease these costs, but also improve patient outcomes. Prescribing home exercise programs is a gold standard for almost all physical therapy clinics, however, only about 30% of patients are actually successful with completing their home exercise programs.
Additionally, as much as 80% of information told to patients in the clinic is immediately forgotten, including the importance of, and the nuances related to a patient’s individualized home exercise program. Remote Therapeutic Monitoring (RTM) is intended to be a solution to bridge the gap between those in-clinic visits, providing the much needed tools to improve a patient’s compliance to, and understanding of, their plan of care.
How can RTM benefit MSK providers?
We have seen how useful digital technology can be for both patients and providers. From the evolution of EMRs for providers to the use of step trackers for patients, the healthcare industry continues to offer providers and their patients with more opportunities to stay informed with relevant data.
Introduced in January 2022, RTM is an evolution of incorporating digital technology into care, delivering a seamless opportunity for both providers and patients to engage with treatment plans, and physical therapy home exercise programs by providing remote tools, virtual support, and communication between in-clinic appointments. In fact, research shows that communication outside of clinic visits may positively impact exercise adherence, and the amount of exercise performed, through enhanced social support and feedback.
Continuous communication between the patient and the care team gives the provider valuable information needed to appropriately modify the plan of care. By combining both subjective and objective measures, RTM generates a clear picture of the patient’s status and response to treatment. Changes made to the plan, in response to data gleaned from RTM, can improve patient adherence to home exercise programs and positively alter outcomes.
CMS Rules & Regulations for RTM
According to the rules published by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), RTM refers to the collection and monitoring of ‘non-physiological data’ via an approved ‘medical device’.
What is Non-Physiological Data?
Non-physiological data includes musculoskeletal system status, therapy adherence, and therapy response (think pain scores, exercise compliance data, and outcome measures).
Dissimilar to Remote Physiological Monitoring (where patient data must be automatically transmitted to the provider via a connected medical device), with RTM, the data can include self-reported information through the device by the patient.
Approved Devices for Remote Therapeutic Monitoring
The medical device for Remote Therapeutic Monitoring must meet the published definition, as defined by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) :
- An instrument, apparatus, implement, machine, contrivance, implant, in vitro reagent, or other similar or related article, including a component part, or accessory which is intended for use in the diagnosis of disease or other conditions, or in the cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease
Limber Health is registered with the FDA & meets the requirements of a 'medical device' for Remote Therapeutic Monitoring.
The Bottom Line: It is important to remember that Remote Therapeutic Monitoring is intended to supplement in-clinic care, NOT replace in-clinic visits. It is by no means synonymous with telemedicine. RTM improves the provider’s visibility to their patient’s health status beyond the clinic walls, providing support between the patient’s in-person visits.
Looking to learn more about implementing RTM into your practice? We invite you to Reserve a demo of Limber Health's digital MSK platform. Limber's white glove, turnkey RTM service allows you to incorporate RTM into your practice without disrupting clinical workflows or adding additional burden on to providers.