Prior to March 2020, telemedicine and telehealth were certainly part of healthcare, but for most clinics, they were a very small part. The majority of care was happening face to face, and things like medication refills, patient-provider communication, and lab results reporting were happening through phone calls.
In 2019 the Telehealth Index: 2019 Physician Survey revealed that 22% of physicians were using some form of telehealth—a dramatic increase over the 5% that were using it in 2015, but still fewer than one in four physicians. Today, more than 90% of physicians have used telemedicine or telehealth after COVID-19 shut down many clinics’ ability to provide in-person care. This rapid adoption of technology in healthcare is truly unprecedented.
Benefits and Drawbacks of Rapid Adoption
The benefit of that rapid adoption is an increase in access to care for your patients, and the ability to continue providing care and bringing in revenue to keep your clinic in business. However, there could be a downside as well. In the haste to find a solution to offer telemedicine and telehealth services, clinics may have started using a platform that doesn’t meet your long-term telemedicine needs and is not secure. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) relaxed some of their rules around platform security in the wake of the global pandemic, but are likely to reinstate those as healthcare returns to a semblance of normalcy.
Strategies to Improve Telemedicine and Telehealth Moving Forward
The first step to improve your practice’s technology offerings for virtual care and practice management is to evaluate your current software platform. If you started using something that is not a secure and HIPAA-compliant video platform (such as Google Meet or FaceTime) just to have something available, now is the time to move to a more secure software.
During the evaluation process look for a telemedicine vendor that provides:
- Comprehensive solutions to integrate with your practice management software, electronic health records, and medical billing software
- Secure solutions to protect against the increasing risk of cybersecurity and hackers targeting healthcare organizations amidst the pandemic
- Cloud-based software that allows you and your staff to access patient information from any device and anywhere securely
- Full HIPAA compliances and the highest level of data encryption
- Modular and buildable solutions that allow you to add to your software as your clinic grows and your needs change
Learn more about how AdvancedMD can provide these features and help you move from a patchwork system to meet your immediate need for telemedicine during COVID-19 to a permanent, secure, and industry-leading solution for expanding the technology that will help your clinic thrive in the future.