Cost efficiency and reimbursement of remote monitoring: a US perspective.
Europace. 2013 Jun;15 Suppl 1:i54-i58. doi: 10.1093/europace/eut109. Slotwiner D, Wilkoff B. Cardiac Electrophysiology Laboratory, Department of Cardiology, Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine, 270-05 76th Avenue, New Hyde Park, NY 11040, USA.
Demographic and technological changes are driving increased utilization of cardiac implantable electronic devices (CIEDs) remote monitoring. In the USA, fee-for-service model of healthcare delivery, services rendered are valued based upon time, intensity, and technical or practice expense costs. As a consequence of this perspective, and to contain spending, Medicare has grouped physician services into families. Spending within each family of services must, by law, remain budget neutral. Cardiac implantable electronic devices monitoring services, remote and in-person, are grouped into one family. As the volume of services within this family increases, the individual encounters are destined to be discounted into ever decreasing portions. However, if the value of remote monitoring is demonstrated to extend beyond the previous boundaries of in-person interrogations, a rational request can be made to reconsider the relative value of remote monitoring. Outcome data supporting the value-added benefits of remote monitoring are rapidly accumulating, including (i) patient convenience, with reduced use of office services, (ii) equal safety compared with in-person evaluation, (iii) shorter detection time to actionable events (arrhythmias, cardiovascular disease progression, and device malfunction), (iv) reduced length of stay for hospitalizations, (v) reduced inappropriate shocks, (vi) increased battery longevity, and (vii) a relative reduction in the risk of death. Fully automatic wireless technology, only recently widely implemented, will add considerable clinical efficiencies and further increase the value of remote monitoring. The U.S. challenge will be to appropriately define the relative value of CIEDs remote monitoring now that outcome data have demonstrated its value extends beyond in-person interrogation.