Since the inception of the COVID-19 pandemic, telehealth has been a huge topic of discussion. We see surveys and data on telehealth regularly as the industry forges ahead with technology. Some say that the implementation of virtual engagement at this scale was expected in the next ten years. But the change happened in a few short months.
What is Telehealth?
Telehealth is the delivery of health services through telecommunication and digital communication technology. These means can include telephone, live video conferencing, online portals, and so much more.
The American Medical Association (AMA) discovered that tele-visits increased from 14 to 28 percent between 2016 and 2019, but that was just the start.
The COVID-19 pandemic has grounded everyone and encouraged work from home. In order to reduce the spread of the virus, the popularity of virtual appointments surged.
Challenges of Telehealth
Although telehealth eases many burdens of care, including the indirect costs of seeking healthcare, there are some challenges.
- Setting up a Telehealth Clinic
There are minimum requirements for setting up a virtual clinic successfully. Therefore, technology needs to be reliably set up for appointments. This includes computers, devices, internet access, etc. Special considerations for privacy and security of HIPAA ensures patient confidentiality. This is important for both in-person interaction and virtual appointments.
- Billing and Coding
Ensuring reimbursement for virtual visits can be difficult. With COVID-19, some restrictions were lifted to enable greater access. Despite this, there are clear expectations to bill for telehealth or virtual appointments that can be challenging.
- Limiting scope of practice
Innovation has driven telehealth to new bounds. Providers and specialists who had previously said their practice could only be face-to-face have learned to adapt to this virtual environment. More providers are incorporating telemedicine into their practice with positive results.
Become an Expert
Telehealth is growing in popularity and utility. So it is important to be up-to-date on the current functions as it is fully integrates in healthcare workflows.
The National Board of Prior Authorization Specialists offers Telehealth: The Evolution of Provider Care complimentary course. Discover the benefits and challenges, billing requirements, utilization during COVID-19, and much more. Enroll for free now