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Telemedicine Appointments Aren't Available for All Social Groups

Socioeconomic Barriers to Telemedicine Appointments Remain

Although the rapid rise of telemedicine has proven invaluable for much of the US population over the last year, this has not held true for everybody. As with traditional health care, social factors are still hindering telemedicine’s reach to some communities. Industry experts are warning that as telemedicine appointments become a permanent part of the “new normal” of health care delivery, proactive measures must be taken to ensure that patients are not continually stymied by social factors in trying to access health care via telemedicine. Read more

Telemedicine Regulations Represented by Stethoscope, Gavel, and Laptop

The Future of Telemedicine Regulations under the Biden Administration

Twelve months ago, few, if any, could have predicted that the public health emergency caused by the COVID-19 pandemic would linger on into a new presidential administration. Dissatisfied by the lackluster pandemic relief bill passed by Congress and signed by President Trump just before Christmas, which failed to extend the pandemic’s eased stance on telemedicine regulations, industry stakeholders are now looking to President-elect Biden and the 117th Congress to sanction more permanent measures in order to preserve the sudden rise in telemedicine usage during the pandemic. Read more

Street sign points to Road to Success during telemedicine revolution

Top 4 Tips for Navigating the Telemedicine Revolution Smoothly

At least one good thing is coming from the COVID-19 pandemic. By necessity, 2020 has seen huge gains in telemedicine utilization as providers and patients seek to reduce the risk of exposure to the virus. This telemedicine revolution is transforming the provider-patient relationship, both positively and negatively, including the unintended consequences of such rapid adoption of telemedicine. Industry specialists are finding that the adoption of Electronic Health Records (EHR), with its unplanned side effects, provides a relevant and useful model for smoothing the transition to telemedicine for both patients and doctors. Read more

Telemedicine for Emergency Rooms Raises Efficiency and Access to Hospital Beds

Telemedicine in Emergency Rooms: An Initial Look

Overcrowding in emergency departments has long been a universal problem that ultimately compromises patient care quality and experience. Venturing into a seldom-studied niche, researchers explored the application of telemedicine in emergency rooms for care delivery; they found that implementing this practice led to reduced patients’ average lengths of stay and wait times while improving physicians’ efficiency and maintaining care quality and patient cost. Read more

EMT examining little girl's leg injury for telemedicine in-home visit

A New Normal? Telemedicine In-Home Visits May Include Primary Care

Integrating telemedicine into emergency medical services is nothing new, but the focus thus far has revolved around acute cases and specialties such as telestroke. However, in a recently released proof of concept, researchers questioned this trend and applied the model of telemedicine in-home visits to primary care services. This preliminary observatory study suggests that using telemedicine to bring primary care services into the patient’s home may be feasible, effective, and satisfactory for homebound seniors with chronic medical conditions. Read more

Woman writing "Fraud Prevention" on a clear board, referring to telemedicine fraud

Telemedicine Fraud Plagues Industry Growth

Last March, during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, Medicare temporarily eased the telemedicine requirements for reimbursement in order to increase access to care and reserve in-office visits for the sickest patients; in this way, Americans have been able to reduce exposure to COVID-19, for both themselves and healthcare workers, while continuing to receive needed care. However, the unprecedented rapid growth of telemedicine has been accompanied by a rise in telemedicine fraud cases and abuses. Whatever the error may be, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has begun holding offenders accountable for their actions. Ultimately, the telemedicine industry and healthcare providers will find themselves under closer scrutiny in the future. Read more

"Paid in Full" rubber stamp, representing zero cost sharing for telemedicine

Pandemic Freebies Are Ending—It’s Time for Cost Sharing for Telemedicine

During the anxiety-fraught early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, most major insurers joined the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) in waiving co-pays and deductibles for telemedicine visits — cost sharing for telemedicine — in order to encourage people to remain at home, thus reducing possible exposure and transmission of COVID. The public, many of whom were new to telemedicine, readily adopted the technology in favor of convenience and safety, reduced costs, and less travel. Now, however, those halcyon days may be gone. Some major private health insurers have stated that as of Oct. 1, they are no longer paying the full costs for virtual visits that are unrelated to COVID; instead, patients are expected to pay a portion of the costs for the virtual visit, as is the norm for in-person visits. Read more

Gavel for Healthcare

Are Lightened Telemedicine Regulations Here to Stay?

As we’ve noted previously, the COVID-19 pandemic has thrust telemedicine into the spotlight with pro tem lifted telemedicine regulation, allowing both patients and providers to embrace low-contact methods for accessing healthcare. Now, several months into the COVID-19 pandemic, industry stakeholders are examining the currently active telemedicine regulations to determine which changes would encourage medical facilities and providers, ranging from small-practice primary care providers to tertiary care hospitals, to permanently add telemedicine to their routine options for health care delivery. Read more

2020 State of Telemedicine Report cover by Doximity

New Report Deciphers Adoption of Telemedicine Trends

Since the beginning of the pandemic-driven rise in the adoption of telemedicine, data regarding the attitudes and uses of telemedicine have largely remained scattered. To bring order to the chaos, Doximity, a network for professional medical providers including physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants, has reviewed recently published studies and conducted their own research. Now ready to present their findings, a comprehensive report was released earlier this month to examine how the rate of telemedicine adoption among healthcare providers and patients has evolved from pre-COVID 19 days. Read more

Possible Telemedicine CPT Codes Shutdown Looms

Telemedicine CPT Codes in Danger

We may still be in the throes of the COVID-19 pandemic, but that isn’t stopping policy makers from planning ahead to determine whether temporary telemedicine CPT codes should be a permanent part of the “new normal” that is expected to reign after the emergency situation dissipates. As mentioned previously, quick changes to legislation, especially those that reimburse telemedicine visits at the same value as in-office visits, made telemedicine a much more convenient and financially viable alternative to the traditional model of in-office visits—for both patients and providers. As we look ahead to 2021, however, debate surrounds the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)’ decision to drop a large majority of the recently-enacted billing codes, which may return the state of telemedicine almost to where it was before the pandemic began. Read more