TeleHealth is a Path Forward in the Days of COVID-19

Posted in Business Practices, Marketing | April 14,2020

Keeping Doctors and Patients Connected

As the world grapples with the mitigation efforts (hello, social distancing) required to navigate a world health pandemic, healthcare practices of every type are getting up to speed. They’re rolling out telehealth services, online chat, virtual appointments and all kinds of remote services.

Recent weeks have kept us busy helping many of our clients do just that. Consulting with and training teams on how the technology works, followed by drafting email campaigns, landing pages and social media pushes to get the word out to their patients.

Truthfully, telemedicine is not the new kid in school, it’s just, quite suddenly, the popular one.

Telemedicine is an extremely useful tool. And even more so in this season as a way for doctors to provide needed care without risking potential exposure in a clinic setting. It’s good for providers and it’s good for patients. Win-win.

Expanded Guidelines Make Telehealth a Streamlined Transition 

If telehealth is new to your practice and you’re concerned about complicated billing processes, tricky reimbursement issues and even technology challenges, don’t be! The transition is not as difficult as it might appear to be.

Worried about how to bill for and code telemedicine visits? Don’t be.

Medicare now allows physicians to bill for professional services nationwide in all settings, including a patient’s home via FaceTime, Zoom, Google Hangouts or other teleconferencing technology, as well as waived HIPAA requirement violations.

Additionally, the American Medical Association has published a document outlining how providers should be using CPT codes to document telehealth treatments during the Coronavirus emergency.

The document outlines 11 different scenarios for treating patients and the appropriate CPT codes to qualify for Medicare reimbursement. All take into account the emergency actions announced earlier this month by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to remove barriers to the use of connected health platforms.

Worried about your patients (or your providers) being tech-savvy enough to “do” a telehealth visit? Don’t be. 

Doctors and patients only need a computer or smartphone with a camera and a headset with a microphone to engage in basic telemedicine appointments with an app such as Zoom, Doxy.me, Skype, Google Hangouts, and even FaceTime.

Top Tips for Doctors

Keep in mind that this appointment style will be new for some patients. Ensure that your patients feel empowered and secure by making it easy for them to participate in telehealth.

  1. Call patients ahead of time to explain how to join the appointment. Let them know that at a scheduled time, they will click on the link you’ve previously emailed them to connect to the video call via their computer or phone.
  2. Reduce technical difficulties and ensure the first few minutes of the appointment are not wasted by sending them instructions with tips.

Top Tips for Patients

  1. Test your internet, microphone and speakers in advance.
  2. Frame the camera correctly and make sure to set up in an area where the lighting is sufficient.
  3. Choose a quiet location without background noise.
  4. Turn off other apps and notifications that could interrupt your telehealth visit.
  5. Set up early and give yourself a few extra minutes to log in before your scheduled appointment time.

Worried about how to inform your patient base about this new option? Don’t be.

At MPR, this is our sweet spot. Let us help you craft a campaign that informs your patients about which telehealth services you offer and educates them about how and when to use the service. Done well, this communication bundle just may be the best investment your practice makes during this season.

The Future is Now

In these uncertain times, all of us are being forced to adapt to new ways of living and doing life. This certainly includes medical providers who must embrace new ways of communicating with and treating patients.

While telehealth was once a service limited to rural areas or special cases, almost overnight, it’s become an essential tool in the healthcare industry, which must adapt and carry on alongside this world health pandemic.

Need help positioning your practice in this new normal? We can help. From easy-to-digest messaging to your patients, your vendors or even your own internal team to a complete telehealth rollout, we’ve got you.

Learn more about how we’re offering 30% off bundled and a la carte services right now.