RPM and telehealth: Using virtual care to curb America’s $200B heart disease problem

Podcast - June 30, 2020

Patient Engagement

Population Health

Patient Care Technology


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease costs the country more than $200 billion each year. New solutions to curb this total have emerged in recent years, and remote patient monitoring (RPM) and telehealth are chief among them. 

In this episode of the MGMA Insights podcast, we’re joined by Avni Thakore, MD, FACC, chieAvni-Thakore.jpgf medical officer, CHS Physician Partners Medical Group, who has experienced noticeable success since implementing a virtual care delivery model for high-risk congestive heart failure patients. Thakore will be a featured speaker at MGMA’s Medical Practice Excellence Conference in October, presenting a session on “RPM and Telehealth: Strategies to Transform Practices to Virtual Care.” 

“This is part of our future,” she said. “In terms of being able to engage with our most vulnerable patients in their home and in a manner where we have continuity of care with them, without them having to physically access us in person in the office, I think that’s a shift that’s happened and is going to stay with us.” 

To hear more from Thakore and a host of other healthcare experts, register for the Medical Practice Excellence Conference at MGMA.com/MPEC. You can also click here to read her joint MGMA insight article on “Development and implementation of a remote patient monitoring program for high-risk CHF patients.”

Here are other highlights from Thakore’s podcast interview:
  • (9:15) “What we wanted to do is see if we can extend that type of continuity of care somewhat indefinitely and tie the patient to the primary care physician and to that practice for their care. That was the thought process and the genesis of the monitoring program. We found it to be helpful, because I think the heart failure patients that typically get re-hospitalized are brittle patients, and they need care indefinitely, not just for a short period of time after their hospitalization.”
  • (16:47) “We are being sensitive to the fact that we don’t want the patients to have to come in for something like this if it’s not necessary, so we’re sort of trying to run the program through a virtual methodology. Sometimes we can FaceTime the patients, and that creates some face-to-face contact as they’re working through it. They can even potentially flip the camera on their phone and show us the equipment if they’re having a problem with it.”
  • (19:59) “Sometimes we see patients in the office, and we think they’re either too frail or perhaps too elderly or there’s too many other things going on in the home. They’re caring for others, or the environment, perhaps, would not foster them being able to be on a program like this. But we were pleasantly surprised at the ability of some of our patients to really maintain engagement. That was a nice finding.” 
  • (25:21) “In-home is challenging right now during COVID or post-COVID, so I’m not very aggressively pursuing it. But I do think it certainly helps in getting the patients onboarded and comfortable with the equipment and learning to be part of a program like this.” 
  • (26:06) “I would encourage everyone who’s out there to look at programs like this for their patients. In terms of key things to think about from a success standpoint, identifying the right patients, identifying the right practices, and making sure you have a clinical champion for this program and each practice is going to take responsibility for it … very, very important.”

Additional resources:


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MGMA Insights is presented by Decklan McGee, Rob Ketcham and Daniel Williams.

Thanks to CareCredit for sponsoring this episode. 
  • Click here to learn how CareCredit is providing patients with payment flexibility and helping providers deliver a better patient financial experience.
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