6 Tips for Creating a Successful Patient Monitoring Program

Many patients want to be more connected with their doctors, otherwise they can feel lost in their care and suffer from serious complications. However, doctors and their care teams often don’t have enough time to meaningful connect. That’s a big problem, but with it can be mitigated. That’s where a proactive patient monitoring program comes into play.

By automating portions of the follow-up care process and allowing patients to contribute independently, care teams can change the course of chronic disease in many patient populations without being bogged down. Following procedures or operations, patient monitoring can even save a trip to the ER or a hospital readmission.

A well-administered patient monitoring solution not only keeps your patients healthier, but also improve patient satisfaction and engagement. However, as most doctors can tell you, it is often hard enough to get patients to take their medications, let alone communicate health metrics back your practice. That being said, we’ve found it to be doable if you follow the proper steps. Below are some tips we have learned in monitoring our post-op heart surgery patients.


1. Midlevel providers and nurses are a key to long term success – Be sure to get buy-in from your nurses and PA’s when instituting the patient monitoring program. They will be spending more time talking with your patients after procedures or operations, and if they are believers, they will make your patients believers as well. In addition, some programs allow midlevels or nurses to receive alerts when your patients start falling off the care map, and those staff members will likely be directing the patient to the next step when things are not going according to plan.

2. “This is as important as taking your medicine every day” – Just by using those key words, we were able to get 90% of our patients regularly using our post-operative monitoring software to voice their vitals and symptoms. If all you do is hand a patient a brochure and let them know that they can login and sign up, they likely won’t participate.

3. Find the family members who can help – Not all your patients will be able-boded or tech savvy enough to figure out how to use a software solution for proactive monitoring, but almost all of those patients have younger children and grandchildren who want to see them stay healthy. In fact, we’ve had such a large volume of family members assisting their patients that it’s hard to gauge exactly how many have been involved!

4. Keep it simple – The more complex you make your interaction with your patient, the less compliant they will be. We limit our patient input to about 5 symptomatic questions and a few vitals per day. The average patient interaction is 2 to 3 minutes at maximum, and that’s important. While we all might love to ask every question on our minds, there are key drivers that cause most patients to go to the ER or Urgent Care. Make sure you ask your patients questions that address .

5. Increased acuity = increased compliance – If we asked healthy patients to monitor their vital signs to make sure they don’t get sick, chances are that not many folks would actually do it. However, when patients have a serious health issue that they are concerned about – like a heart attack, heart surgery, or a new chronic diagnosis – they are more receptive to proactive monitoring.

6. Keep your patients engaged by communicating – Some patient monitoring applications allow some sort of messaging to the patients. Make sure you drop them a nice message every so often to let them know they are doing a good job. Patients love knowing that you are actually looking at the information that they are logging every day. They know you are busy, but at least let them know that you care.


This article was written by Rick Thompson MD, MBA – Medical Director of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Bryan Heart and Co-Founder of Together Clinic.

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