The majority of health systems are rapidly adapting to the demands of the current situation, and are in the process of integrating their EHR system with a telehealth platform. The coronavirus pandemic is proving to be the largest driver of telehealth across the nation.
It has made providers and patients across the nation turn to telehealth as an efficient platform to facilitate medical encounters with greater safety, considering the deadly effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Patients too seem to realise that remote visits are the only way they can combat COVID-19 successfully, they have learned to accept it.
Many health systems, while actively considering the feasibility of implementing telehealth technology, have some apprehensions on whether telehealth will make delivery of care more seamless or more arduous. Integrating an EMR with a telehealth platform contributes to an increased efficiency of delivering quality care. After the integration, an interconnectivity between the two applications facilitates a bidirectional workflow. It makes the task of the physician much easier, having to interact on a single platform, instead of separately entering patient data on two different platforms.
It leverages the provider to expeditiously make clinical decisions, speeding up the diagnosis, and eliminating any prescription errors, leading to better patient outcomes. The integration seamlessly fills any gap between telehealth and patient data. Besides minimising the duplication of patient records and processes during a virtual visit of a patient, the biometric data that is gathered and recorded on the telehealth platform automatically reflects in the EMR, consolidating patient data onto a single platform. This results in a better workflow, facilitating physicians to interact with more patients during the day, this converts to greater revenue for the health system.
Looking at the prospects from a reporting and analytics perspective, EMR and Telehealth integration benefits the reporting and billing reconciliations associated with commercial payers, as well as Medicare and Medicaid. During a telehealth encounter, integrated systems expedite the billing process.
After the recent CMS changes for virtual check-ins, remote patient monitoring, and internet consultations, concise reporting plays a key role in preventing claim denials. Considering the regulatory changes recently announced for telehealth reimbursement, filing accurate telemedicine claims will ensure that payments are reimbursed expeditiously, the very first time the claims are filed.
The severity of the coronavirus pandemic has made it imperative for health systems to deploy an efficient telemedicine billing and coding team, one which is absolutely familiar and current in their knowledge about new billing and coding regulations associated with telemedicine.
The telemedicine billing team at BillingParadise has been actively monitoring CMS and CDC updates on telemedicine specific billing codes. The complexities of billing for telemedicine is no different than other medical specialties, except that the guidelines for billing telemedicine is at an evolving stage, and under review by regulatory authorities on a daily basis. Currently they vary from payer to payer, whether it is Medicare, Medicaid or private payers.
Other than the familiarity of telemedicine specific codes, our dedicated billing staff have a thorough knowledge of working on integrated telemedicine platforms. We are currently offering our telemedicine billing services to a few health systems that have integrated the HIPAA-compliant 'healow' with their EMR systems, and are offering virtual care to COVID-19 patients.
Strict compliance rules and regulations are the greatest hurdles to a successful healthcare marketing or patient marketing plan. Never-the-less, effective communication breaks the regulatory barriers in educating consumers
Prior to an in-person or virtual visit, patients are using the internet to research their symptoms and conditions. In fact, a recent survey determined that 72% of internet users in the U.S. search online resources for health related information.
Armed with a pre-determined symptom or solution, they walk into the clinic or search for telemedicine providers, confident that the physician will address their needs. These are pointers to the way patients are making their choices now, unlike the olden days where health systems did not have to market themselves in engaging new patients.
In the current scenario, the patient holds the key, making it imperative for the health system to evolve a marketing strategy to engage with the patient directly, leveraging the patient to either know about the health system on their own, or have a patient marketing team engage with them.
BillingParadise has a professional patient marketing team that can effectively engage patients looking out for telemedicine needs. On behalf of the health system, our marketing team can set up customised marketing plans to suit every health systems telemedicine specialty or multi-specialties.
The relevance of telemedicine is now being realised with COVID-19 taking a heavy toll of human lives. In the course of setting up protocols for telemedicine training, it is vital to understand which patient is appropriate for virtual care.
As more and more health systems strive to make telemedicines available, there is a growing need for telemedicine training, since practical training in virtual care has not been effectively included in the educational curriculum of medical schools.
There is growing pressure on health systems to provide quality virtual care that can meet patient expectations on outcomes, as well as meet the patient satisfaction metrics.
Unlike traditional office visits, virtual visits require different methods of gathering data, one that facilitates a physician to effectively weigh the data in the course of concluding a diagnosis
The virtual care training program will include breaking down elements of an in-person visit, basically to understand if the same data can be gathered in a virtual visit, and the alternative options available in case the data cannot be gathered.
Patient safety is of vital importance, as new technology evolves, extreme care has to be exercised. Existing clinical practice guidelines need to be thoroughly reviewed and applied in the context of telemedicine
Telemedicine training will help clinicians determine which patients, symptoms, and conditions are appropriate for virtual care, and which patient has to be evaluated in-person. The physician will have a deeper understanding of the risk elements associated with telemedicine, and their appropriateness of when it can be recommended.
While many patients may never have explored telemedicine before, and may not understand the appropriateness of the virtual process. Providers will have to explain to them in detail that their self reporting is the only source of information that will be used for assessment and recommendation.
The telemedicine training will help physicians explain patients the difference between virtual visits and in-person visits through simple illustrations. These examples will help patients understand the limitations of telemedicine, and in accordance adjust their expectations appropriately.