COVID-19 has thrown a lot at the healthcare system and nowhere has that been more obvious than in clinics’ efforts to implement telehealth and telemedicine services. Many were considering it or were using these technologies in some way prior to the pandemic, but the swift change from in-person visit capabilities to online care sped up the implementation out of necessity.
Whether you implemented it quickly and you’re struggling with telehealth and telemedicine now, or you haven’t started yet because you’re not sure how to overcome some of these common challenges, here are some strategies to move in the right direction.
One of the primary concerns for many clinics and providers is the security of patient information and care over an internet connection. This is also a very important concern for payers, including Medicare and Medicaid. Prior to the pandemic, CMS had strict requirements for using platforms that comply with HIPAA privacy rules and protect patient information. They have relaxed some of those rules during COVID-19 to remove technology barriers for clinics to see patients, but once the immediate crisis is over, the rules are likely to revert back to requiring a more secure platform.
The easiest way to overcome this is with a technology partner who can provide the full suite of telehealth and telemedicine tools on a secure cloud-based platform. You simply sign up and start using the platform, and the third party software provider ensures HIPAA compliance and complete security.
Another common concern is the ability to integrate telehealth and telemedicine software with your existing EHR and practice management system. Adding another software program, with another login and password, that doesn’t seamlessly transfer information between your systems is not realistic.
AdvancedMD offers a telemedicine platform that automatically integrates with virtually any EHR and practice management system that you’re already using, or we offer our own practice management and EHR that you can implement if it’s time to switch.
Video quality and the ability to meet with patients over an internet connection are also a concern, especially if you work with a patient population that is less likely to have access to the latest technology or high-speed internet, such as elderly patients, people who live in rural areas, or low-income families. You can start by ensuring the platform you use is easily accessible on any computer through the cloud, without requiring special software downloads. In addition, making it available on mobile devices can significantly increase capacity with populations that don’t own computers but do have a smartphone.
In part two of this blog post, we’ll cover three more common telehealth and telemedicine challenges that you may encounter. To see a demo of our telemedicine platform and talk to our team about how you can resolve some of your concerns and get started with these tools immediately, call today for a demo.