Risks vs Rewards for Physicians Providing Telehealth to Patients
Telehealth is a rapidly growing field in healthcare that allows doctors to provide care to patients remotely, through the use of technology such as video conferencing, phone calls, and secure messaging. By providing patients with a telehealth option, doctors can offer a convenient and efficient way for patients to receive care, without the need for them to travel to the office.
There are several reasons why doctors should consider offering telehealth services to their patients:
Increased Access to Care: Telehealth allows patients to receive care from the comfort of their own homes, which can be especially beneficial for those who live in remote areas or have mobility issues. This can increase access to care for patients who may not have been able to receive care otherwise.
Increased Revenue: Telehealth can open up new revenue streams for doctors. As more and more patients prefer to receive care remotely, doctors who offer telehealth services may be able to attract new patients and increase their patient base.
Increased Efficiency: Telehealth can save time for both patients and doctors, as patients do not need to travel to the office and doctors can schedule more appointments in a shorter amount of time. This can increase the productivity of the practice.
Increased Patient Satisfaction: Telehealth can be a more convenient option for patients, as they can receive care without having to take time off work or travel to an office. This can increase patient satisfaction and lead to better patient outcomes.
In addition to these benefits, the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the need for telehealth as many patients are hesitant to visit in-person medical facilities for fear of exposure to the virus. With the increasing adoption of telehealth, many insurance companies now cover telehealth visits, making it a more accessible option for patients.
Benefits Outweigh Risks for Providing Telehealth
Providing telehealth services as a doctor can also come with risks. Although since doctors already deal with HIPAA compliance, there isn’t much more risk is they choose a well known solution like from the Telehealth Provider list.
Technical Challenges: Telehealth requires a reliable internet connection, and a technical setup that is compatible with the electronic health record. These technical challenges can make it difficult for some patients and doctors to access telehealth services.
Legal and Regulatory Risks: Telehealth services are regulated by state and federal laws, and these laws can vary by state. Failure to comply with these laws can result in penalties and fines.
Privacy and Security Risks: Telehealth services involve the transmission of sensitive patient information, and there is a risk that this information may be compromised. Ensuring the security of telehealth services is essential to protect patient privacy.
Risks can be easily mitigated if a physican uses a Telehealth solution that can do all of the heavy lifting for securing electronic medical records and PHI. Choose a provider from the Telehealth Provider list and find the right solution to cover a practice.
In terms of reimbursement, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has expanded coverage for telehealth services during the COVID-19 public health emergency. This includes allowing Medicare beneficiaries to receive a wider range of services through telehealth and expanding the use of telehealth in rural areas. Many private health insurance companies also cover telehealth services, but the specifics of coverage can vary by plan and by state. It’s important for physicians to check with individual payers to confirm coverage and reimbursement policies.
Providing telehealth services to patients can lead to an increase in revenue and satisfaction. As long as physicans can ensure they are in compliance with all laws and regulations and cover the HIPAA compliance requirements, telehealth can be a great opportunity for physicians and their patients.