Remote patient monitoring and podiatry during COVID-19
April 16, 2020
People with neuropathy and those at risk for diabetic foot ulcers are particularly vulnerable during COVID-19. They need high-quality care to avoid complications. But many are scared to see their doctor, and don't know how to keep in touch with their podiatrist from home. In turn, podiatrists are seeing a decline of patients coming in for in-person visits. Remote patient monitoring offers a critical solution to deliver the best care for the patients that need it the most.
Impact of COVID-19 on diabetic foot care
People at risk for foot ulcers are also the most vulnerable when it comes to COVID-19. Many are older, have diabetes, and other co-morbidities that make the Corona-virus particularly dangerous for them. But especially now they need the care to make sure they don't develop foot complications. In order to keep people at home and out of the hospital, it's crucial for their health that they remain connected with their podiatrist.
- Less in-person visits and increased risk of complications. Patients are scared to come into the office and are cancelling appointments unless absolutely necessary. The fear is easily justified, but by not going in for regular in-person visits and seeing their doctors as often, they have an increased risk of developing diabetic foot ulcers. Diabetic foot ulcers can be fatal and have extreme consequences. Using remote patient monitoring, patients can be safely monitored from the comfort of their home without having to come into the office.
- Risk for healthcare providers. Due to exposure and infection rate, the number of staff available to see patients can decrease. As the virus continues to spread, health care providers will be forced to quarantine themselves. As a result, remaining providers will have to work more with less resources.
- Reduced access to care. The cancellations of these appointments are costly to the clinics as revenues are reduced. Medical assistants and nurses may have to be furloughed. Especially smaller and rural clinics are at risk, even though these are crucial for their communities. If clinics start closing, it reduces access to care for our most vulnerable patients. Siren allows clinics to keep their healthcare workers safe, because they can transition into remote patient monitoring instead of being furloughed.
How can Remote Patient Monitoring help your practice during COVID-19?
- Maintain relationships with high risk patients. Stay engaged and treat your patients even if they are unable to come in to the office. This will make your patients feel safe, knowing they are still being monitored and cared for by their physician. You can manage and limit in-person visits to only those which are absolutely necessary, while also creating better care for patients at home.
- Continue to monitor patients and avoid severe diabetic foot complications. Many patients with neuropathy are at high-risk to develop life-threatening wounds. Without close monitoring and regular check-ins, wounds can go unnoticed. RPM provides the means for monitoring patients who are at greatest risk during their period of self-isolation, protecting clinic staff and patients alike.
- Keep your clinic open and retain talented staff. RPM provides a provides a means to supplement some of the lost income from appointment cancellations for routine visits. The reimbursement is carved out specifically for the technology component of remote patient monitoring, so these programs can be more profitable than traditional telehealth services (CPT 99453, 99454, 99457 and 99458). You can keep your office open and retain talented and loyal staff.
Remote temperature monitoring for diabetic foot care during COVID-19
COVID-19 is here and it’s probably going to get worse before it gets better, but we are confident we will get through this difficult time together and that we can still save limbs and lives. With remote temperature monitoring, you can keep patients healthy and at home, and retain your staff to deliver the highest quality of care.
Contact us at [email protected] to discuss how we can help your patients and your practice to get going quickly.
- Journal of the American Podiatric Medical Association: All Feet On Deck—The Role of Podiatry During the COVID-19 Pandemic