“With AI-enabled RPM, we are streamlining our clinical workflow, improving our overhead and, most important, improving patient outcomes.”
—Eric Navarette, Practice Manager, Sweetwater Medical Associates
Sweetwater Medical Associates is a single-clinic family practice and internal medicine facility in Sugar Land, Texas. The group is also a member of the Houston Methodist Coordinated Care (HMCC), an Accountable Care Organization (ACO). Sweetwater Medical Associates has five providers, as well as a staff team including eight medical assistants (MAs).
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, Sweetwater has faced continuous challenges with staffing and a lack of resources. Their lean but mighty team was consistently strapped for time which made monitoring their at-risk patients with chronic conditions more challenging.
“We serve lots of patients with chronic conditions, including hundreds with hypertension and obesity, and it’s crucial to get patient readings to better understand their condition,” said Eric Navarette, practice manager at Sweetwater Medical Associates.
“Before we had remote patient monitoring with an AI-enabled virtual assistant, a patient would come to the office for a visit, where their blood pressure and/or weight was taken and recorded, or maybe they regularly tracked these metrics with a self-process – typically non-digital with pen and paper – at home, which then was shared at the visit or via telehealth,” he continued.
“We knew there was a better way to manage these patients with RPM technology, so we set out to analyze the solutions available to us,” Navarette explained. “The continuous flow of patient data can proactively alert providers of a complication, so they can quickly intervene and reduce the risk of a worsening event or escalation of care, such as a visit to the ER or a hospital stay.”
“We reviewed three solutions and chose 100Plus because it was so comprehensive and included the AI-enabled virtual assistant, which nobody else had,” Navarette noted. “They also offered significant support to analyze our patient population to determine who was best suited for the RPM program and to onboard them.”
“100Plus handled all of the patient outreach, eligibility, consent, and onboarding of patients,” he added. “The appropriate connected devices were sent to enrolled patients, such as pulse oximeters to measure blood oxygen levels along with the blood pressure cuff, scale and glucometer. A significant portion of the onboarding and patient communications was also done using the AI virtual assistant.”
Sweetwater launched the RPM program in October 2021 with 100 patients and now has expanded the program to 240 patients.
“The readings are taken by patients in their homes and automatically recorded within the provider portal, which can be viewed by providers, and the data can be shared with caregivers or family members, if the patient desires,” Navarette noted.
Sweetwater staff were thrilled with the RPM technology and saw impressive results in the first six months. Patients enrolled in the program achieved the following:
- An average systolic blood pressure reduction of 5.80 mmHg for patients with hypertension
- A mean weight loss of 3.45 pounds for patients with obesity
“We also are seeing enhanced clinical workflow efficiencies, especially fewer incoming calls to our MAs from patients. The RPM platform and our new clinical workflow have actually increased patient engagement, too.” Eric Navarette, Sweetwater Medical Associates.