Coronavirus telemedicine: a man walking toward opened doorway of opportunity

Building a Coronavirus Telemedicine Program? Read This First!

It’s no surprise that the current COVID-19 pandemic, with its need for social distancing, has spurred renewed interest in alternate health care delivery methods, particularly coronavirus telemedicine. Lawmakers, cognizant of the regulatory and reimbursement obstacles that have plagued the telemedicine industry for years, have acted quickly to ease such restrictions to enable patients to receive medical care without leaving their homes. Now, healthcare providers are suddenly finding themselves either learning how to use telemedicine or expanding existing programs to center more heavily on the telemedicine modality. However, providers who value long-term satisfaction and usability would be wise to pause to consider several factors as they design their coronavirus telemedicine initiatives. Some of the most critical factors are highlighted below. Read more

Cheered businessman standing with graph showing growth trend of telemedicine for coronavirus

Emergency Measures Spur Growth of Telemedicine for Coronavirus, but What Comes Afterward?

Amidst the apprehension wrought by the current COVID-19 pandemic, a silver lining has emerged: Primary care providers (PCP) are finding that telemedicine usage within their practices, previously hindered by issues such as inadequate reimbursement, privacy concerns, and costs, has begun soaring as cautious consumers seek alternatives to visiting the doctor’s office in person and, thus, potentially exposing themselves or others to COVID-19. Industry analysts are predicting that as both providers and patients embrace telemedicine for coronavirus as a solution for reducing the risk of transmission of infectious disease, as well as for other ailments, they will become accustomed to telemedicine as a tool and will expect its continuation within medical practices. Read more

Telemedicine for Coronavirus: Drive-Through Testing

Telemedicine for Coronavirus: Next Window, Please

Telemedicine offers an ideal strategy to enable more health care providers to address more patients’ needs while minimizing exposure to infectious diseases such as the currently notorious coronavirus (COVID-19). As shown by the recent expansions for Medicare reimbursement for telemedicine, our Congress and President clearly recognize the potential benefits of utilizing telemedicine for coronavirus screening and other health care concerns. Even the New England Journal of Medicine came out a week ago with a strong statement of support for telemedicine’s benefits. Now, the question is how to deploy the technology quickly and in a way that will drive better outcomes for patients, providers and society as a whole. Read more

With telemedicine adoption, cowboy checks blood pressure at home

Telemedicine Adoption Surpasses Use of Other Digital Technologies

A recent survey by the American Medical Association has revealed that physicians’ use of digital health, particularly telemedicine adoption and remote patient monitoring, has grown since 2016. This rise can be attributed to physicians’ improving attitudes towards digital health, explained the researchers. The Digital Health Research study showed that telemedicine engagement among providers doubled—from 14% of physicians to 28% over the three-year period—and remote patient monitoring (RPM) usage jumped from 13% of physician participation in 2016 to 22% in 2019. Read more

Telemedicine in hospitals as demonstrated by patient, nurse, and physician

Beyond the ER: Expanding Telemedicine in Hospitals

At Cleveland Clinic, recovering stroke and epilepsy patients can use the TV in the room to watch a movie—or see their physicians for a follow-up visit via video conferencing. Last July, the facility opened a neurology step-down unit that had been newly-equipped with telemedicine capabilities. The director of Cleveland Clinic’s cerebrovascular center, Muhammad Shazam Hussain, MD, was interviewed recently about introducing telemedicine in hospitals, outside of emergency rooms. Read more

generic telemedicine app on tablet for telemedicine adoption rates

How to Raise Your Telemedicine Adoption Rates

Many people believe that older Americans don’t like new technology, don’t know how to use it, and don’t want it. On the other end of the spectrum, they perceive millennials—the youngest adults—as being born with video game controllers in their hands and embracing any form of technology, almost favoring superficial virtual interactions over deep, interpersonal relationships. Are these myths or facts? Out of these statements, survey results support just two claims: In general, older adults often want to but don’t know how (or are unable) to use the latest technology, and millennials do not value the continuity of care and long-term relationship provided by a primary care physician (PCP) as much as previous generations do. As any organization strives to increase telemedicine adoption rates, it may behoove marketing to emphasize different benefits of telemedicine according to the specific needs and preferences of each generation. Read more

3-direction Street Signs for telemedicine benefits for employees

Navigating Telemedicine Benefits for Employees, Part 2

Last week, after observing that the vast majority of large employers either offer or plan to offer telemedicine benefits for employees, we considered the logistics of how a company might choose to launch such a program. Three methods present viable options: adding telemedicine as a new feature of a group health plan, incorporating telemedicine as part of an Employee Assistance Program (EAP), or creating a stand-alone telemedicine benefit. In all three cases, compliance with legal and regulatory requirements is non-negotiable; who bears the brunt of the responsibility depends on the strategy selected. In last week’s blog post, we explored the pros and cons of appending telemedicine benefits to a group health plan. Today, we’ll consider the other two approaches. Read more

3-direction Street Signs for telemedicine benefits for employees

Navigating Telemedicine Benefits for Employees

According to a survey conducted by the National Business Group on Health, 96 percent of large employers are either making or planning to make telemedicine available to their employees. Considering the time and cost savings for patients, insurance companies, and employers, this sounds like it could be a panacea. However, the logistics of implementing telemedicine benefits for employees are far from simple. An employer, whether insured or self-funded, who wants to provide telemedicine services can do so in one of three ways: integrate telemedicine as part of a group health plan, bundle telemedicine services as part of an Employee Assistance Program (EAP), or offer telemedicine services separately as a stand-alone benefit. Each method carries varying degrees of compliance issues with state and federal laws such as ERISA. Read more

Telemedicine coverage illustrated by private payer administrator paying telemedicine doctor

Telemedicine Coverage Growing Rapidly, Says ATA Survey

The results are in: 80 percent of US states have taken action to improve telemedicine coverage or reimbursement over the last two years, according to the American Telemedicine Association’s latest survey of state laws and policies. However, each state is working alone in implementing these changes, forcing physicians who practice in more than one state to juggle confusing guidelines. Read more

legal issues in medicine depicted by stethoscope and gavel on book

Top Tips to Avoid Legal Issues in Telemedicine

Nearly 70 percent of physicians are willing to use telemedicine, according to a recent survey, but what the survey didn’t measure is what percentage are concerned about legal issues in telemedicine. Considering the broad variance in telemedicine regulations across the nation, the concern is certainly a valid one. Here are some areas in which newly-minted telemedicine physicians should tread carefully to avoid running afoul of the law. Read more