Remote therapeutic monitoring (RTM) has recently emerged as a game-changer in the behavioral health sphere. It leverages technology to monitor and capture patient data outside the traditional clinical setting. Many therapists already incorporate RTM services, such as digital tracking of symptoms, progress, or treatment adherence, as a part of measurement-based care. These services empower therapists to deliver more tailored interventions and treatment plans based on the most current data.
This proactive, data-driven approach has become the standard in behavioral healthcare, and the adoption of RTM has also been on the rise. However, many therapists and practices may not realize that they could earn additional revenue for these services while improving patient care.
As healthcare continues to evolve with the integration of new technology, it’s essential for mental health professionals and practice managers to stay updated. The Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) codes—a standardized set of medical codes used across the industry for billing purposes—have recently been updated to incorporate further uses of RTM. These updates are particularly beneficial for therapists, as they open up avenues for additional reimbursement when RTM is incorporated into behavioral health services.
The first step in the RTM process is getting your patient set up with the system that they’ll be using and ensuring that they know how to use it. Whenever a patient starts using RTM, they need access to the technology or platform that you want them to use. They also require education about what they can expect and what is expected of them.
Ensuring that patients understand the mechanics of the RTM process and the role that it will play in their therapeutic journey is essential. These components fall under initial setup and education. Therapists are reimbursed for the time and effort that it takes to complete this step, further incentivizing them to provide this foundational element in setting up the patient for success.
Consistency and engagement are necessary for effective RTM. Staying connected with patients through the platforms reinforces their commitment to the therapeutic process. 98978 addresses the systematic process of encouraging patient engagement. Whether it involves scheduled recordings or system-generated alerts prompting patients to log their current symptoms or track their ongoing progress, this code ensures that therapists are compensated. Using technology in this manner allows for a more dynamic and real-time understanding of patient experiences.
However, although notifications likely occur every time the patient needs to engage with RTM, this code can only be used on a monthly basis.
Data loses value when left uninterpreted. The final step of the RTM process involves analyzing the collected data, opening the door for strategic interventions. This analysis ensures that insights drawn from patients’ progress and symptoms are timely and accurate, thereby offering therapists a clearer understanding of the patient’s therapeutic journey.
Leveraging this information can lead to more informed decision-making, fostering a deeper connection and trust between therapist and patient. This code reimburses therapists for the first twenty minutes of consultation and review of the data with the patient. However, these conversations often run longer than twenty minutes. It’s not uncommon for therapists and patients to dive deeper into the insights, exploring underlying patterns and potential adjustments to the treatment plan.
While 98980 can be used only monthly, 98981 addresses any need for further discussion about the data, enabling therapists to bill for each additional increment of twenty minutes. This flexibility provides room for reassessing the data and re-establishing strategies to address patients’ needs, ensuring that they receive adaptive and responsive care.
In the rapidly evolving landscape of behavioral healthcare, leveraging technology through RTM enhances the quality of patient care and creates opportunities for therapists and practices to tap into new revenue streams. By integrating RTM, therapists are at the forefront of a paradigm shift in healthcare delivery. With the updated CPT codes, they are no longer limited to the confines of therapy sessions as the only billable services that they can provide.
Therapists can now be compensated for the work done outside of typical sessions. This extended compensation acknowledges that therapy doesn’t just happen in one hour each week. Patients are experiencing symptoms, practicing strategies, and making progress every day. These updates by the American Medical Association emphasize the importance of RTM in behavioral healthcare today. It benefits the patient through tailored and data-driven care, strengthens the therapeutic alliance by fostering continuous engagement, and rewards therapists for their efforts to provide high-quality care.
When platforms like CarePaths make the integration of RTM more seamless, therapists and behavioral health practices can take full advantage of the ability to deliver the best care while generating revenue.
Here at CarePaths, we help therapists work more effectively and improve patient outcomes by empowering them with the data that they need via EHR. To learn more about how we can help you, start your free trial today!
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