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RPM Alphabet Soup: Understanding the Acronyms of Remote Patient Monitoring

 

The first step of any communication is to have the same understanding of any words being used. In the medical field, there are hundreds of acronyms, and RPM (remote patient monitoring) has its own set of abbreviations and acronyms. Here is a quick guide to the most common acronyms.

 

RPM: (Remote Patient Monitoring) - This refers to the use of technological tools and systems to track patient health data from outside the traditional healthcare settings. It encompasses devices like blood pressure monitors, wearable health trackers, and other tech tools that send patient statistics to healthcare providers in real-time. 

 

RTM: (Remote Therapeutic Monitoring) - This is a more specialized form of remote patient monitoring that specifically focuses on the therapeutic aspects of patient care. It involves the collection and transmission of health-related data from the patient to the healthcare provider. This information helps healthcare professionals monitor and adjust therapeutic interventions as needed, ensuring the most effective and appropriate treatment for the patient's condition.

 

CMS: (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services) - An integral part of the United States Department of Health & Human Services (HHS), the CMS oversees several federal healthcare programs. These include the widely recognized Medicare and Medicaid services, programs designed to ensure healthcare coverage for senior citizens and low-income individuals, respectively. 

 

CPT: (Current Procedural Terminology) - Developed and maintained by the American Medical Association (AMA)1, the CPT© code set describes a wide array of medical, surgical, and diagnostic services provided by healthcare professionals. These alphanumeric codes are utilized nationwide by physicians, hospitals, and other healthcare providers for billing purposes. The codes are copyrighted by the AMA. They allow for a standardized method of documenting and communicating medical services rendered.

 

CCM: (Chronic Care Management) - This is a service tailored for Medicare beneficiaries who have two or more significant chronic health conditions. CCM aims to enhance the patient's quality of life by offering a structured care plan that addresses their unique health needs. 

 

MIPS: (Merit-based Incentive Payment System) - Part of the broader Quality Payment Program (QPP)2 , MIPS was established to improve the quality of care while simultaneously reducing costs. Under MIPS, healthcare providers are incentivized based on the value and quality of care they deliver, rather than the quantity. This system aims to encourage healthcare providers to focus on care quality, efficient resource use, clinical practice improvements, and effective use of health information.

 

EHR: (Electronic Health Record) - An Electronic Health Record is a digital version of a patient's traditional paper-based medical record. EHRs encompass a comprehensive view of a patient's health history, including demographics, medical history, medication and allergies, immunization status, laboratory test results, radiology images, vital signs, personal statistics like age and weight, and billing information. Unlike Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) that contain data from a single medical institution, EHRs are designed to be more encompassing and can be shared across different healthcare providers, such as specialists, pharmacies, laboratories, emergency facilities, and school and workplace clinics, ensuring continuity of care. EHRs can help improve the efficiency, quality, and safety of patient care by enhancing decision support, reducing the likelihood of errors, and facilitating research and quality improvement activities.

 

EMR: (Electronic Medical Record) -  An Electronic Medical Record is a digital representation of a patient's traditional paper medical record that would be found in a specific doctor's office or healthcare facility. It contains all the standard medical and clinical data collected in one provider's office. For instance, it might have notes from the doctor, types of medications prescribed, past medical history, immunizations, and test results from labs. Unlike Electronic Health Records (EHRs), which are designed to be shared across different healthcare providers and institutions, EMRs are often limited to a specific provider's office. 

 

HIPAA: (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) - Enacted in 1996 in the U.S., HIPAA establishes guidelines and standards for the protection of certain health information. For RPM systems, this means that any communication, storage, or transmission of patient data must adhere to stringent HIPAA privacy and security rules, ensuring patient data remains confidential and protected from breaches or unauthorized access.

 

HIT: (Health Information Technology) - Health Information Technology pertains to a broad spectrum of technologies employed in healthcare. These can range from complex hospital management systems to simple patient health-tracking apps. In relation to RPM, HIT provides the foundational infrastructure that enables seamless data collection, transmission, analysis, and feedback. 

 

mHealth: (Mobile Health) - Mobile Health represents a subset of eHealth and involves the use of mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, to support medical and public health practices. RPM often relies on mHealth solutions, leveraging mobile apps to track vitals, provide medication reminders, or facilitate video consultations. mHealth is particularly beneficial in reaching remote or underserved populations, bridging gaps in healthcare access.

 

PCM: (Primary Care Manager) - In the context of healthcare, a PCM refers to a healthcare professional, often a primary care physician (PCP), nurse practitioner (ARNP), or physician's assistant (PA), who serves as the main point of contact for an individual's general healthcare needs. The PCM is responsible for providing and coordinating comprehensive care for the patient. This includes preventive check-ups, routine screenings, treatment of common ailments, and referrals to specialized care when necessary. In some healthcare systems, particularly in managed care models like TRICARE (the health care program for United States military members, retirees, and their families)3, a PCM plays a crucial role in guiding and managing the patient's care journey, ensuring they receive appropriate and timely medical services.

 

PCP: (Primary Care Physician) - A Primary Care Physician, often abbreviated as PCP, refers to a healthcare professional who practices general medicine and acts as the first point of contact for patients seeking non-emergency care. Typically, the PCP is responsible for providing comprehensive patient care, diagnosing and treating a wide range of illnesses, and offering preventive services like routine check-ups, screenings, and vaccinations. 

 

PHI: (Protected Health Information) - PHI encompasses all identifiable health information held or transmitted by a covered entity or its business associate, in any form or media, whether electronic, paper, or oral. In RPM, ensuring the security and confidentiality of PHI is paramount, especially when transmitting patient data across networks or storing it in cloud-based systems. PHI includes information related to a person's past, present, or future physical or mental health condition, the provision of healthcare, and past, present, or future payment for the healthcare services.

 

PHR: (Personal Health Record) - A Personal Health Record is a health record that is initiated and maintained by the individual. It is an electronic application through which patients can access, manage, and share their health information in a private and secure setting. The primary difference between a PHR and other electronic health records like EMRs and EHRs is the ownership. With PHRs, the patient is in control. They can include information from a variety of sources, including different healthcare providers and the patients themselves. PHRs can also contain logs of personal health metrics (like blood pressure or glucose levels if the individual is tracking them), reminders for medications or health check-ups, and even emergency contact information. 

 

PERS: (Personal Emergency Response Systems) - These are systems designed to assist individuals, particularly the elderly or those with specific medical conditions, during emergencies. Typically, a user will have a wearable or handheld device with a button. Pressing this button sends a signal to a central call center, alerting them of a potential emergency. In the context of RPM, PERS devices can integrate with monitoring systems to provide an additional layer of safety, ensuring rapid response during medical emergencies.

 

IoMT: (Internet of Medical Things) - The Internet of Medical Things combines medical devices and applications to create networked connections between devices and healthcare IT systems. This convergence facilitates collecting, analyzing, and exchanging health data, enabling advanced patient monitoring, improved treatment solutions, and enhanced healthcare service efficiency. For instance, smart inhalers can record inhalation timings and notify patients and doctors to ensure prescription adherence. This is a variation of IoT4.

 

BYOD: (Bring Your Own Device) - Within the realm of RPM, "Bring Your Own Device" denotes the practice of patients using their personal devices, such as smartphones, tablets, or wearables, to access medical apps, monitor health parameters, or communicate with healthcare providers. While BYOD offers convenience and personalization, it also introduces data security, compatibility, and standardization challenges.

 

If you find these acronyms a challenge, partner with an RPM Provider. Medek RPM is one of the fastest-growing RPM Providers in the U.S. Our expert team can guide you through the differences in RPM, to help you provide better health outcomes for your patients, and better resources for your practice. Start a conversation with a Medek Representative today!

 

Footnotes:

  1. https://www.ama-assn.org/practice-management/cpt/cpt-developer-program
  2. https://qpp.cms.gov/
  3. https://www.tricare.mil/About
  4. https://www.techtarget.com/iotagenda/definition/Internet-of-Things-IoT

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