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Telehealth

3 Key Optimizations for the Future of Your Telehealth Program

The expansion of telehealth is changing the way we deliver healthcare in a big way! Providers who can adapt quickly and effectively will win the loyalty of patients, secure their position in the market and thrive into the future.

Telemedicine use has soared to 29% in the US as of May 2020, up from 8% in December 2019, according to a United HealthCare Group report. The Covid-19 pandemic, of course, facilitated this rapid adoption with stay at home orders and a relaxing of regulatory rules, including security and privacy requirements.

The response from both patients and providers suggests telehealth isn’t going anywhere. We’re already seeing CMS respond favorably with proposed continued coverage for services. Pundits now forecast that telehealth will account for up to 50% of all healthcare encounters in the post-COVID era. Provider organizations shouldn’t wait to ensure that they will be able to fully participate.

Here are 3 key optimizations for the future of your telehealth program…

1. Optimize Financially

CMS is proposing significant reduction in the physician fee schedule for surgeons, anesthesiologists and select other services. In addition, though CMS has maintained equal payments for in person and virtual visits, we anticipate that payments for virtual visits may be reduced over time.

To optimize financially, consider

  1. Strategically defining the size and scope of your telehealth services with intentional, manageable, and supported growth plans
  2. Aligning provider incentives by incorporating telehealth goals into your provider compensation plans
  3. Identifying opportunities for reduced overhead expense in the long term to prepare for potential reduced telehealth revenue.

2. Optimize Operations

Our staffing models will likely be impacted in the long term. We also need to provide clear direction on who, when and for how long physicians should engage in virtual health versus in person care. After all, we still to provide services onsite.

To optimize operations, consider…

  1. Defining physician schedules onsite and virtually
  2. Optimizing and/or flexing staffing levels to support onsite and virtual visits
  3. Refining scheduling, documentation, and follow up process flows
  4. Integrating data to optimize tracking and reporting

3. Optimize technology solutions for long term sustainability

CMS relaxed regulations around security and privacy, making it easier to adopt telehealth services using services like Zoom and FaceTime. We expect these regulations to tighten back up soon resulting in a likely shift in service providers.

To optimize technical solutions, consider solutions that…

  1. Comply with HIPAA requirements
  2. Place the patient at the center with easy to access and easy to use tools.
  3. Incorporate innovative tools that reduce dependency on staff, helping you save time and money
  4. Can grow with you beyond video visits to real-time remote monitoring, documenting, tracking and reporting
  5. Integrate with your existing scheduling and EMR systems

Intersect Healthcare Systems offers remote patient care solutions with transformational care-delivery capabilities. To learn more about how Intersect can help you design and implement a thriving telehealth program, please email us at info@intersecthealth.net.

By Dalia Haroune

Dalia Haroune is President at Intersect Healthcare Systems and is passionate about improving prevention, early intervention and access to high quality care through physician strategy, alignment, and telehealth services. For over 20 years, she’s helped health care organizations achieve their financial, strategic and quality goals. Dalia earned a Master in Health Administration from Washington University and a Bachelor of Science in Cell Biology from the University of Illinois.