Join Heads Up Founder, Dave Korsunsky, as he talks to Dr. Cheng Ruan about remote patient monitoring, chronic care management, and how practitioners can re-engage the payer system.

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Dr. Cheng Ruan

Dr. Cheng Ruan, MD, is the founder of the Texas Center for Lifestyle Medicine. The medical center focuses on using lifestyle modifications to prevent, reverse, and improve chronic diseases. Dr. Ruan’s primary focus is to bring evidence-based lifestyle and personalized medicine to the medical community.

Dr. Cheng Ruan is board certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine and the National Board of Physicians and Surgeons. He is a Physician Member of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine and The Institute for Functional Medicine

Dr. Cheng Ruan also hosts his own podcast, Dr. Ruan MD.

Remote Patient Monitoring

Remote patient monitoring (RPM) is the practice of using technology to monitor patients outside of a medical setting. Patients can continue with their daily lives while wearables such as Apple Watches, Fitbits, or Oura Rings report select vital signs to their medical professional.

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“Who’s that one person that you want to serve? And you might think, ‘I want to serve everyone. I want to serve people who need help.’ But who’s that one demographic that you want to serve and focus on what that demographic needs.”

– Dr. Cheng Ruan

In this podcast you’ll learn:

2:04 Dr. Cheng Ruan’s background and focus on proving that integrative health can be practiced with an insurance model to serve the general public.

2:57 Having a false mindset when starting the Texas Center for Lifestyle Medicine. Why Dr. Cheng Ruan uses emerging technology to reduce the burden of administrative tasks

5:48 How Dr. Cheng Ruan’s family of Eastern and Western medicine practitioners influenced him to bring Eastern medicine to the United States.

7:34 Western medical schools don’t train doctors to help patients get off of their medications.

8:08 The rise of functional, plant-based, and lifestyle medicine around 2017.

9:17 Dr. Cheng Ruan’s entrepreneurial ventures taught him that your audience will give you the answer if you are willing to listen.

12:31 Why health professionals shouldn’t be shy when it comes to talking about money. Generating money helps professionals serve their patients better.

14:12 Dr. Cheng Ruan on the importance of delivering value to patients and making your deliverables clear, particularly when it comes to remote monitoring.

15:53 Dr. Cheng Ruan’s issue with some doctors who use remote patient monitoring and why patients need to understand what practitioners are looking for.

16:53 Remote patient monitoring reimbursement code updates and how practitioners can get reimbursed.

18:02 How remote patient monitoring is the business of delivering safety and why the technology you use needs to be efficient.

22:10 A few types of remote monitoring devices.

23:09 The purpose of remote monitoring codes and why integrating all of your data into one place is so important. Practitioners can use continuous monitoring data from their patients to better understand the underlying issues (ex. Studying sleep patterns in relation to mold toxicity).

28:02 Why remote patient monitoring is better than concierge practices. RPM or chronic care management are better because they are predictive recurrent subscriptive revenue. RPM facilities have patients automatically assigned to them through insurance companies.

30:37 Why Dr. Cheng Ruan optimizes processes in his office and the hurdles that he faced while building his practice. Issues typically arose when the technology failed.

32:33 How COVID-19 forced elderly patients to learn how to use technology.

34:15 How some practitioners struggled to adopt technology during COVID, but most of Dr. Cheng Ruan’s patients did not. His most common way of communicating with patients used to be phone calls, but is now text message. And he can make money by answering texts.

36:27 How Dr. Cheng Ruan’s practice became so successful because they were early adopters of technology. They used text messaging, phone calls, 5-minute check-ins and more.

38:29 How Dr. Cheng Ruan’s digital platform allows him to show Medicare that his practice provides value.

39:27 Dr. Cheng Ruan predicts technology adoption rates may be even higher in 2022. The 2021 coding changes were the biggest since 1993. 

40:20 Dave talks about a webinar that focused on reengaging the payer system. The recent changes in payment for extra time and reduction in documentation has made it easier for practitioners to work remotely.

41:33 Dr. Cheng Ruan’s advice for practices that are thinking about reengaging the payer system:

Who is your avatar? Who is the one person you want to serve? Hyperfocus on that one demographic.

What value do you want to bring to the world or that person? Create the actual business plan based on what you’re able to do. Build the structure on paper first before you execute.

45:30 Dr. Cheng Ruan learned to focus on one type of patient during his time as a consultant. Practices should do the same and then bring in other patients as they grow.

46:16 Dave and Dr. Cheng Ruan reflect on lessons learned through entrepreneurship. Keep building, continue learning from your mistakes, and pick yourself up when you get knocked down.


Dr. Cheng Ruan’s Social Media: Facebook | YouTube | Twitter | Pinterest | Website

Texas Center for Lifestyle Medicine

Dr. Ruan MD podcast

Withings Blood Pressure Monitor

2021 Medicare Remote Patient Monitoring Codes 

American Medical Association CPT Codes