Understanding the impacts of telehealth may help your practice prepare for new advances and policies. The prospect of connected health processes could mean necessary change, but with proper guidance, it's change that offers positive benefits, not just costs. Each practice may need to go about implementation their own way, especially given the differing laws in each state.
Here are just some of the ways that advances in telemedicine will impact how your practice operates:
- Better access to prison inmates: One of the chief advantages of telehealth is the link it gives to isolated patients. Earlier this year, a Pew Charitable Trusts report stated that prison telehealth is especially prevalent in Texas, where the University of Texas Medical Branch hosts an average of 127,000 remote sessions.
- Less time between appointments: Some proponents of telemedicine say that it reduces the amount of time needed for patients to physically reach a location.
- Possible Medicaid reimbursement: Reimbursement rates vary across the country, and in some cases the specific language of the law can dictate what will and won't apply. One spokesman for a Massachusetts-based medical organization told Stat News that a proposed law could possibly render patient phone calls a billable service.
- Remote prescription: The National Law Review reported on the House Enrolled Act 1263 in Indiana, which grants some providers the ability to prescribe medicine remotely. As the source notes, this could pose special benefits for reaching out to rural patients with poor physical access to healthcare facilities.
- Strict patient documentation: However, the same article also notes the extensive steps needed to guarantee a "proper physician-patient relationship" before the telemedicine program begins. This includes, among other things, a patient medical history and record as well as "informed consent" from them.
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