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Telehealth

3 Key Considerations 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.

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

1. How do we minimize the financial impact?

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 reduce the financial impact, make strategic decisions about

  1. the size and scope of telehealth services,
  2. how to appropriately compensate providers who will inevitably experience a reduction in compensation,
  3. reducing overhead expense in the long term as reduced telehealth revenue is anticipated.

2. How can we 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 need someone onsite.

To optimize operations, clearly define

  1. Physician schedules onsite and virtually
  2. Optimized staffing levels to support the operation on site and virtually
  3. Scheduling, documentation, and follow up process flows
  4. The technical integration of data

3. Which technology solutions do we need for long term sustainability?

CMS relaxed regulations around security and privacy, making it easier to adopt telehealth services using services like Zoom and FaceTime, which are not HIPAA compliant. We expect these regulations to tighten back up soon resulting in a likely shift in service providers.

Considerations in choosing telehealth solutions…

  1. Are the tools HIPAA compliant?
  2. Will your telehealth program be limited to virtual visits, or should it include remote monitoring?
  3. How much variation from in-person provider processes will the tools create?
  4. How important is it for the telehealth solution to integrate with existing scheduling and EMR systems?
  5. Should you invest in a cloud-based application or install the software directly on your 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.