26 Jul Telehealth – It’s Not Just for Pandemics
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, telehealth has been one of the most influential tools providers use to serve their patients. As public health restrictions blanketed the United States, telehealth claims soared, going from just 527 claims nationwide in February 2020 to a remarkable 12.5 million claims just two months later. Since then, telehealth claims have stayed consistent, representing 6% to 7% of all claims filed each month.
This ongoing volume of claims shows that many providers have been able to seamlessly integrate telehealth into their standard roster of services. This amenity helps ensure routine visits are more convenient and care reaches even the most vulnerable members of our community.
So, what have we learned about telehealth over the last two years? Taking a deeper dive into this can help us learn how we can take this knowledge and use it to make our practices even more resilient in the future.
What is Telehealth?
Before we discuss the lessons we’ve learned from telehealth, it’s important to understand what telehealth really is. Many people use the terms telehealth and telemedicine interchangeably, but really, telehealth refers to any medical service that connects patients and delivers a spectrum of care through technology.
Some examples of common telehealth services include:
- A real-time audio or video call between a provider and a patient
- An asynchronous text or messaging communication
- The use of remote patient monitoring tools like Bluetooth-enabled scales and other wearable devices that send providers data
What did we Learn from Telehealth’s Adoption?
Telehealth was a lifeline for providers in the early days of the COVID pandemic, and has continued to be a supportive tool that practices have utilized to better serve patients, even as COVID restrictions have started to relax. In the early days of 2020, the declaration of a public health emergency removed key barriers including cross-state licensing and eliminated many reimbursement issues that prevented providers from charging for telehealth visits in the same way as in-office visits.
These changes helped to popularize telehealth and allowed providers to use this tool to keep track of patients’ medication and ongoing symptoms, and even perform routine well-visits.
The loosening of these regulations has shown us just how popular telehealth can be when it is used alongside traditional care models.
Great Options for Telehealth Utilization
Telehealth adoption allows healthcare professionals to increase patient engagement and satisfaction by reducing exposure to potentially infectious disease, decreasing the burden of travel for those who have limitations, extending access to clinicians beyond normal clinic hours, and allowing patients to stay connected to their healthcare provider — even when they can’t be in the physical office. It has also extended care to rural areas where patients may otherwise not have access to specialty providers and services.
How Office Practicum and RemedyConnect Support Telehealth Integration
As we continue to move into a world less affected by COVID-19, providers are embracing telehealth’s continued role in our practices. However, there is a risk that this technology can become overwhelming, especially if your EHR and telehealth platform do not work well together.
At Office Practicum, we’re proud to offer the RemedyConnect Telehealth solution, which provides a seamless experience for practices looking to maintain or increase their telehealth services. With RemedyConnect, providers can work on documentation in the program while conducting an appointment. Their notes are then transferred to the EHR in an effortless and fool-proof workflow.
This ease of use helps practices stay competitive in today’s crowded health market and allows patients to overcome the digital divide that may keep them from fully utilizing these services to support their ongoing health. To hear more about telehealth and how it can best be used by your practice, listen to the full “Telehealth and Pediatric Success” podcast.