Now that Telehealth appointments are becoming more common, is your practice considering transitioning to this new method of healthcare visits? What do you need to do to implement telehealth into your practice? Where do you even start?
Like with anything else in healthcare, research first! There are many decisions to make before implementing.
Consider some of the following:
What type of telehealth will your practice implement?
Choose a type of telehealth you wish to offer and research how it could be covered by insurance payors. Here are some common forms of telehealth:
- Synchronous: Any two-way form of communication. For example, audio/video chat.
- Asynchronous: One-way form of communication where the patient sends their medical history, photos, any reports, etc. to the physician or specialist.
Which type will your patients be able to access easiest? As well, the way different types of telehealth are covered is based on patients’ insurance, research first before deciding to implement.
What are the costs and what is your practices’ budget?
Different forms of telehealth require different equipment and different implementations. Do you need to install new software for video-chat appointments, and would your office need new equipment? Do you need to hire new staff? Do you need to train existing staff on how to set up telehealth appointments or how to bill for telehealth? What are the costs and how does your operating budget cover these? These are some important considerations before implementation.
What Laws and Regulations Exist?
Privacy and security are extremely important if appointments are electronic. How does HIPAA govern telehealth visits? We take a brief look at HIPAA and telehealth in this previous blog post.
But it is important to do research on HIPAA regulations and learn the details about how you should implement telehealth while keeping patients’ medical information secure and private.
Do the benefits of telehealth outweigh the costs of implementing telehealth?
If resources allow, do your patients want telehealth visits. Is this something that patients prefer? According to this McKinsey & Company report, telehealth initially peaked in April 2020 and has since then stabilized at levels of 38 times higher than before the pandemic. There are still barriers to this such as technology, accessibility, and security.
Ask your patients if they prefer telehealth, research pros and cons of telehealth and consider how they relate to your practice and your patients.
How will you offer telehealth?
If everything supports your practice starting telehealth services, how will you implement it? Will you start with only a few services and a few time slots for telehealth? Or will you slowly transition to only telehealth appointments? If there’s multiple physicians at your practice, who will offer telehealth and what times will they offer it? How will you alert your patients about the new implementations? Additionally, how will patients book appointments? Will it be online or do they need to call into the practice to book an appointment?
Telehealth has its potentials, but it is important you and your practice research it thoroughly before implementing. Make sure it lines up with your practices’ goals and budget.
If your practice is thinking about telehealth implementations but need access to funding to do so, contact us today to learn more about our financing, billing options and how we could potentially help your practice achieve its goals.