What is Telemedicine in Healthcare?
In the broad sense, telemedicine refers to a practice of ensuring patient care in circumstances where the provider and patient are not physically present with each other. The boon of modern technology now enables patients to consult doctors and gain telemedicine benefits by using appropriate video conferencing tools. Telemedicine services make healthcare more accessible and cost-effective thereby increasing patient engagement.
Since making its debut in the late 1950s, advances in telemedicine services contributed to seniors having the choice to age in place. In addition, the patients that reside in rural areas previously had difficulties accessing a physician, however, they can now leverage telemedicine benefits and reach doctors virtually. Patients and physicians can share information virtually and in real-time through their computer screens. Furthermore, it is also possible to see and capture readings from medical devices at a faraway location. Using telemedicine services, patients can consult a doctor for diagnosis and treatment without having to wait for an appointment. Patients can now easily consult a doctor/physician at the comfort of their home.
The demand from a new generation of the tech-savvy population has pushed for the rapid adoption of telemedicine services and further fueled by telemedicine benefits including convenience, cost saving, and intelligent features it brings.
Facing trouble leveraging the right healthcare solutions for your business? Quantzig’s healthcare industry experts can help, get in touch with us to know more.
How Does Telemedicine Work?
While leveraging telemedicine benefits can be a simple process for some providers, for some it could be a complex one. For a solo practitioner and clinic, only a basic HIPAA compliant video conference software to start delivering telemedicine benefits and consultation is required. For telemedicine services providers a more complete virtual clinic solution needs to consider their existing workflow and incorporate the telemedicine services software solution into their practice. It is essential that these software have a waiting room, EHR and payment function. For large medical group or hospitals, they usually require custom telemedicine services to fit into their existing workflow to lessen the disruption of adopting telemedicine as its harder to train a large number of physicians to change their behavior. Moreover, it’s advisable for telemedicine providers to do due diligence on the regulations for telemedicine services, and reimbursement policy for their country or state. Organizations will have to change operationally and have knowledge of the regulations, legalities, and technological aspects of implementing telemedicine services. Many organizations consider partnering with telemedicine providers to make the transition and implementation easier.
Traditionally, telemedicine services use an online account or a toll-free phone number. Patients can request a visit by submitting some basic information on their condition, and then the physician either accepts or declines the visit or schedules it for the future.
A 4-Step Guide to Leveraging Telemedicine Services
Understand the Basics
Before setting up telemedicine services, an organization’s administration and providers should know how laws differ when using telemedicine services. It is also advisable to consult with an expert to determine what equipment they need and have a basic understanding of why they want to offer this in the first place.
Deciding on Telemedicine Solutions
After laying out the basics, an organization should decide what type of telemedicine services to offer. The organization should undertake measures to respond to their current pain points, such as overcrowded waiting rooms or difficulty reaching patients in rural areas.
Organizations should ensure they have compatible webcams, speakers, microphones, and more importantly a reliable internet connection. Telemedicine technologies should be identified within the practice to help others get acclimated and resolve tech issues.
Understand Regulations and Reimbursements
Policies and regulations in the telemedicine services can often prove to be confusing for providers, vendors, and payers. Organizations that are considering implementing telemedicine services should be familiar with the laws in their state. For instance, some states require informed consent from patients, while others do not. Also, some payers may not pay the same rate for telemedicine services as in the case of in-person services. Organizations should clearly identify how providers will be paid, as some companies seek grant funding.
Inadequate telemedicine parity laws, Medicare reimbursement, and lack of EHR integration are among the top challenges faced by telemedicine services providers. Request a free proposal to learn how you can combat these challenges with Quantzig’ s solutions for the healthcare industry.
What are the Benefits of Telemedicine Services?
Known as a technological advancement that is changing the entire healthcare infrastructure, telemedicine technologies are here to stay. Today, patients, providers, and payers alike are able to enjoy telemedicine benefits. Read on to discover how telemedicine services are enhancing the healthcare system across the continuum.
Telemedicine Benefits for Providers
Since the inception of telemedicine services, its apparent benefits are to allow providers and physicians to expand their reach beyond their premises to any far corner of the world where connectivity permits. This allows providers to maximize their reach especially for those located in a less dense area. This also improves the efficiency of healthcare where one specialty can be deployed to where it’s in high demand no matter how far it is.
Provide More Consultations
Providers can maximize their work time by slotting in telemedicine calls in between by using a telemedicine services software which has waiting room functionalities, so they can take in call whenever they want.
Quick Second Opinions
In some cases, time is running against a patient, and doctors need to get an opinion from another specialist, using telemedicine services software, doctors/physicians can quickly establish a secured video call to get the second opinion, thereby providing better care and saving the patients’ time.
Telemedicine services eliminate the need for a physical clinic to practice medicine. Telemedicine benefits include allowing doctors to run a virtual clinic from their home office. Patients can do scheduling, or on-demand visits and providers can manage their patients with the software, where it also stores their patients’ visit and medical history, health records, billing solution and many more. For the healthcare system, using telemedicine services software means they will have to digitize some of their workflows. This proves to be highly beneficial in reducing a lot of paperwork, lost medical records, and enjoy many more telemedicine benefits. Consequently, translating to cost saving in monetary and human resource terms.
More Intelligent Solutions
With telemedicine providers incorporating EMR (electronic medical record), billing solution, AI diagnosis, telemedicine services software is advancing at a much faster rate than current traditional brick and mortar facilities. Using telemedicine services means the doctor can tap into these new technologies with a lesser cost of change. They can basically add modules to their telemedicine services software to make it more powerful to support their practice.
Investing in smart and tailored healthcare solutions may seem expensive and premature. But with the right guidance and industry know-how, it can lead to significant cost savings. With over 15 years of industry experience, Quantzig’ s healthcare industry experts can help healthcare providers leverage the right solutions to suit their business. Contact us to know more.
Telemedicine Benefits for Patients
Patients often lose a lot of time when they make the long commute to the doctor’s office. In some cases, leaving the house to access care might end up doing more harm to a patient’s health–like during inclement weather such as heavy rain or snow. With telemedicine services, patients can be diagnosed from their homes and in some states, they can even have their prescriptions sent immediately to a local pharmacy. This method is not only a time saver but also a way of getting medical attention whenever needed and is extremely helpful for patients especially in rural areas.
Another key telemedicine benefits include the fact that patients don’t see the cost of leaving work that comes with traditional visits, and physicians don’t lose money on cancellations or no-shows. There are also cases wherein cash-only telemedicine services are less expensive than an urgent care clinic for patients.
Improved Healthcare Quality
Quantzig’ s recent research shows that that quality of healthcare has risen whenever telemedicine is deployed with reducing readmission rate. Providers are also able to provide frequent follow up with their patients when compared to traditional visit. Patients can access their providers whenever they feel something’s wrong. All these efforts can reduce false urgent care visit and sometimes save a life before things go out of hand.
Telemedicine Benefits for Payers
Although this is more difficult to prove, payers are benefiting from telemedicine too. Payers can realize cost-saving in the case of patients with substance abuse disorders who are treated using various telemedicine strategies. Furthermore, the cost per treatment proves to be cheaper overall and offers cost savings across the board. As technology continues to become more advanced, the cost savings will become more visible.
What are the Applications of Telemedicine Services?
Thanks to telemedicine, physicians have the wonderful opportunity to connect with clients irrespective of their geographical location. Patients who could earlier not consult a physician due to access to care issues can now do so seamlessly. Many may wonder what telemedicine’s most valuable applications are. Quantzig lists out some of the popular ways that telemedicine is used today.
Chronic Disease Management
High-tech medical devices enable physicians to monitor their patients’ health across various locations. With the help of touchscreen technology, providers can access heart rate, blood pressure, glucose levels and more by transmitting data from one device to another. Leading telemedicine services providers assist healthcare organizations to treat patients with chronic diseases. Majority of healthcare spending in the United States is dedicated to treating heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. Telemedicine solutions can keep physicians abreast from hospital to home. In addition, there is increased involvement of the patient, their family members, and other healthcare professionals in the patient care process.
With the help of telemedicine services, a physician can intervene in real-time, which, in turn, leads to better health outcomes. Request for more information for detailed insights on its business benefits.
The healthcare industry recognizes the fact that medication management is a big deal, especially among seniors. Older adults are more likely to forget to adhere to their medication routine, which is where telemedicine benefits come in. Healthcare professionals can use telemedicine technology to monitor if their patients are following the medication routine prescribed. This eventually results in fewer hospital readmissions and enhances medication compliance.
Sharing Medical Information
Store and forward is one of the types of telemedicine services that allow providers to share information over a distance. This has been a game changer. Today, it is possible for primary care physicians to connect with specialists who are in a different location. Healthcare information like blood analysis, diagnostic images, and more can be shared for accurate patient assessment in real time.
Emergency Room Diversion
The emergency room is one of the most expensive, overcrowded, and stressful environments in a healthcare setup. Leveraging telemedicine services eliminates the problem of overcrowded emergency rooms by having patients see a remote physician using video chat first. The remote physician can then determine if the patient should seek care in an emergency department, which in turn increases ED efficiency.