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Telehealth and Telemedicine Consulting Services

“Telemedicine will become the core methodology of healthcare delivery in the future. That is where we are going to get the efficiencies we need to provide affordable care.”

Yulun Wang, Ph.D.

What Is Telehealth?

People often use the terms telehealth and telemedicine interchangeably. The US Department of Health and Human Services explains that telehealth is, “the use of electronic information and telecommunications technologies to support and promote long-distance clinical health care, patient and professional health-related education, and public health and health administration.” (Office for Civil Rights, 2020). Telehealth is what makes it possible for healthcare providers and patients to meet virtually. Although telemedicine isn’t new, the coronavirus global pandemic has focused renewed attention on remote patient care. With COVID-19 impacting so many people around the world, telehealth is top of mind for many patients and providers because the technology enables caregivers to meet with their patients remotely. Using a desktop, laptop, or mobile device, providers can offer accessible, convenient, and safe online consultations for patients outside the traditional clinic setting.

Leveraging Telehealth for Your Patients

 

Growing numbers of patients have come to expect telehealth from their healthcare providers. The American Hospital Association reports that 76% of hospitals currently offer some form of telemedicine (American Hospital Association, 2020). While there are several telehealth technologies available for hospitals, clinics, and independent practitioners, each has varying capabilities. Functionality can contrast widely among solutions. Depending on what is most important to your healthcare facility and your patient population will inform how you choose a telemedicine vendor. When considering a telehealth application, security, cost, technical support, and ease of use are critical factors. However, it’s important that the technology is feature-rich and that it addresses key functions essential to your operations. These include:

 

  • HIPAA Compliance
  • Visit Scheduling
  • Insurance Reimbursement
  • Patient Invoicing
  • EHR/EMR Integration
  • Charting Capabilities
  • Patient Monitoring & Compliance
  • Diagnostic Capabilities
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Reporting/Analytics
  • Options for Mobile, Desktop & Voice

 

It’s essential that the telemedicine technology you select is reliable, that it has a proven record of success, and that your patients embrace it. Also, depending on if you accept private insurance, work with Medicare/Medicaid patients, or are a cash practice, the technology needs to be attuned to the way you run your business.

Medical Specialties Benefiting from Telemedicine

 

Growing numbers of healthcare practitioners are using telemedicine to care for their patients. The technology not only makes care more accessible to patients who cannot visit their doctor in-person, but telemedicine creates new sources of revenue for healthcare facilities and providers. Some specialties that have embraced telemedicine widely include:

 

Cardiology Oncology
Ophthalmology Psychiatry
Dermatology Diet & Nutrition
OBGYN Family Medicine
Orthopedics Pediatrics
Physical Therapy Plastic Surgery
Podiatry Dental

 

Benefits of Telehealth

 

There are a number of reasons to embrace telehealth in your practice or hospital.

 

  • Increase Accessibility. Not only does telemedicine make healthcare more accessible to patients in remote locations, but it also makes seeking care more convenient for patients nearby. Telemedicine can be life-changing for people who are unable to visit a hospital or clinic. Plus, facilities that use telehealth routinely experience a marked decrease in patient no-shows.
  • Improve Patient Satisfaction. Because more patients want to access care from their home, offering telemedicine can be a big differentiator for medical facilities. Plus, remote visits give providers the option to spend more time during virtual encounters. The added facetime where providers engage with their patients can strengthen the patient-provider relationship.
  • Create New Revenue. Since all major private payers are reimbursing for telemedicine visits, doctors can now care for patients remotely at times convenient for them and be compensated for the valuable consultations they provide. Plus, for practitioners seeking to increase their patient volume and grow their practice, telemedicine technology can be a game-changer.
  • Reduce Physician Burnout. Physicians are working longer hours, often at multiple facilities, and the stresses can add up quickly. Driving to and from work on top of all the added administrative tasks can hinder doctor job satisfaction. However, with a telemedicine solution, providers can offer virtual consults and minimize the logistical stressors that detract from patient care.

Athreon’s Telemedicine Consulting Service

 

Contact us to schedule a consultation. We know there are a lot of options available, and choosing the right technology can be overwhelming for healthcare facilities already spread too thin. Our thorough needs assessment and professional telemedicine consultation services will help guide you in making the right choice specific to your requirements. No matter if you need assistance with telehealth vendor comparisons, contracting, technology implementation, patient marketing, or employee training, Athreon has you covered. Contact us at 800.935.0973 to schedule your consultation.

Reimbursement for Telehealth Visits

 

As of the time of this writing, 38 states have Telemedicine Parity Laws. A parity law means that private payers in a state are required to reimburse for telemedicine services no differently than if those services were provided in person. But, even if your healthcare facility is in a state that doesn’t have a parity law yet, you may still be able to offer telemedicine to your patients. This is because major private payers are reimbursing for telehealth visits. All the major commercial payers, including Aetna, Cigna, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Humana, and United Healthcare, are offering some form of coverage for telemedicine. These insurance companies are reimbursing providers for telehealth, even in cases where no state parity laws exist.

Works Cited

 

American Hospital Association. (2020, April 8). Telehealth. Retrieved from aha.org: https://www.aha.org/factsheet/telehealth

 

Office for Civil Rights. (2020, March 27). What is telehealth? Retrieved from hhs.gov: https://www.hhs.gov/hipaa/for-professionals/faq/3015/what-is-telehealth/index.html