According to a new survey, TeleHealth reimbursement is critical for ensuring virtual care innovation and addressing healthcare staffing difficulties at primary care practices.
A survey conducted by the Larry A. Green Center, Primary care practices have started relying on TeleHealth in partnership with the Primary Care Collaborative (PCC) in mid-August. Almost 64% of clinicians said TeleHealth has been integral to maintaining access to care.
However, 41% of survey participants are apprehensive that if pre-pandemic regulations are reestablished, their practice will not implement TeleHealth/telemedicine services. Almost 21% of practitioners stated that they had already reduced telemedicine usage because of curtailed payments.
As the country securely returns to in-person care in the middle of a global pandemic, the related regulations have encouraged TeleHealth by allowing payment equality or higher reimbursement rates for TeleHealth services. The rapid growth of TeleHealth has a significant influence on how public payers reimburse TeleHealth providers. However, many private insurers have scaled back their telemedicine reimbursement rules from the epidemic era.
Changes in how public payers reimburse TeleHealth providers have resulted from the rapid growth of TeleHealth due to reimbursement laws.
However, TeleHealth reimbursement could be crucial in meeting rising patient demand for virtual services and solving the most important concern of primary care during the pandemic: healthcare staffing.
Finding qualified individuals to address staffing issues is a significant task. About 21% of doctors claimed they couldn’t find other clinicians to fill available positions.
The problems could be linked to primary care’s financial health. According to a report published in Health Affairs, primary care clinics took a $15 billion impact at the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. When implemented housing assistance orders, there was a significant drop in in-person visits.
The economic effects of treating patients during COVID-19 are still being felt by primary care practices more than a year after the pandemic began. Nearly a third of those surveyed (32%) said their practice’s revenue had yet to return. These respondents were also more likely to be from small practices that were self-owned.
Only 30% had their practices financially sound and profitable. The survey reported that primary care is durable, but lack of timely action and support for primary care diminishes its ability to meet increasing population health demands.
To sustain patient access and practice capacity for care delivery, government and non-government payers must help to encourage the use of telemedicine.
TeleHealth Solution Must-Have List:
For TeleHealth services, you will need a reliable TeleHealth software. Make sure to include the following features on your list of must-haves.
- Easy patient access
- HIPAA Compliant
- Quick appointment management
- Integrates with your practice management and EHR systems
There are countless TeleHealth providers with a wide range of performance levels. The following features will assist you in providing an advanced TeleHealth experience that allows your practice to generate more revenues.
When TeleHealth first became popular, many early entrepreneurs faced significant cash flow issues. Converting digital visits into billable engagements was challenging at first. Today, reimbursement for digital visits is a must. If the TeleHealth provider you are using doesn’t offer TeleHealth coding that integrates with your practice management system, get rid of it as early as possible.
Easy Patient Access:
The patient engagement portal you are going to provide should be able to exceed expectations. Make sure that the software you provide should have easy patient access and a great user interface. Look for technology that offers the following features while evaluating a potential TeleHealth service’s user experience.
Allows patients to initiate a TeleHealth consultation with a single click or a tap.
Optimized user experience across devices (desktop, mobile, and tablet). Your patients should be able to access you in your digital waiting room through a multitude of channels.
This enables you to quickly and conveniently inform patients that their appointment is about to start or that the provider has arrived in the waiting area. It will also allow you to keep in touch with your provider in-between visits.
Many clinics used simple, free services like Zoom, FaceTime, and Skype to quickly transition to a digital health model amid the pandemic. While these services have their place, don’t let them overshadow the importance of a robust and secure telemedicine solution. If your current one isn’t actively maintaining HIPAA compliance, it’s time to look for a new telemedicine platform. Healthcare IT firms understand the importance of data security and can provide security solutions for both providers and patients. While TeleHealth technology might help you update your practice, you should never put patient safety ahead of innovation.
TeleHealth services require utmost security of data, which requires a truly robust and secure TeleHealth solution. During Covid, many practices moved to free services like zoom and Skype to turn towards a reliable digital model. But, these services are not the replacement for a truly robust and secure TeleHealth solution. If your TeleHealth platform doesn’t actively ensure HIPAA compliance, it’s time to find the one that does. Healthcare IT companies nowadays are putting in their best efforts and resources in ensuring the security of PHI, providing the best TeleHealth software for providers and patients. While TeleHealth technology might help you update your practice, you should never put patient safety ahead of innovation.
Quick Appointment Management:
Look for a telemedicine service that allows you to manage your appointments. You should be able to plan a new TeleHealth visit, manage existing appointments, and update future virtual visits on behalf of your patient swiftly and efficiently.
Your patients should be able to manage their telemedicine appointments with the help of the solution. If your TeleHealth solution does not allow for quickand straightforward appointment scheduling, it’s time to upgrade.
Integrates with your practice management and Electronic Health Record (EHR) system
Even if TeleHealth modernizes your practice and improves the patient experience, it will be in vain if the system you chose causes administrative bottlenecks. That’s why selecting a TeleHealth solution that works with your existing practice management, and Electronic Health Records system is crucial. Complete integration will allow you to reduce work stress, improve workflows, and handle the clinical, administrative, and billable aspects of virtual care more efficiently.
Your TeleHealth service is just one part of your clinic, but if used effectively, it can significantly improve the efficiency of your business. This service should not be prohibitively expensive. TeleHealth services are now included in many EHR providers’ fully integrated solution packages. If telemedicine will be a significant part of your practice’s operations, finding an electronic health record software that offers a comprehensive SAAS solution may be the most cost-effective approach to get started with your digital strategy.
Remember that the ideal solution is to customize to your practice’s capabilities, budget, and digital strategy. Keep your patient’s needs in mind, as well as the safety and security of their data and how TeleHealth will work with your existing system.