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Telehealth: Better Serve your Patients, Get Reimbursed

Monday, February 5, 2018 - 12:15
Telehealth Benefits

Telehealth has gained momentum in the healthcare industry recently, providing patients with broader access and allowing for more efficient use of limited clinician resources. Over the past two years, significant progress has been made to ensure healthcare organizations, including hospitals and physician organizations, are justly compensated for the time dedicated to telehealth interactions.

In the summer of 2017, the American Medical Association (AMA) released a set of guidelines around telemedicine. The AMA acknowledged that “telemedicine has the potential to transform healthcare delivery and address many coordination challenges facing the U.S. healthcare system.” But it is clear the AMA is concerned that misuse of telemedicine and mobile health apps could jeopardize patient safety and lessen standards for quality of care. As such, the AMA created guidance and resources around physician licensure, insurance coverage of telemedicine, and practice issues such as the establishment of a patient-physician relationship.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services also has shown some support for telehealth services with the condition of payment that clinicians must use an interactive audio and video telecommunications system that permits real-time communication between providers, at the distant site, and the beneficiary, at the origination site. Among the practitioners covered: physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, nurse-midwives, clinical nurse specialists, certified registered nurse anesthetists, clinical psychologists and clinical social workers, and registered dietitians or nutritional professionals.

Most states – 34 as of August 2017 – have enacted laws that require insurance plans to cover telehealth services. However, there are disparities in the details of these laws, such as whether clinicians must see patients in-person prior to beginning a telemedicine relationship.

Now that telemedicine has gained momentum, it's time for providers to seize the opportunity to enhance patient service and ensure maximum reimbursement.

Cloud UC Enables Patient-Centered Healthcare

West has a unified communications platform complete with rich media solutions that enable providers to connect with patients in a meaningful way and to accurately and promptly bill for those interactions.

Our solutions are fully compliant with HIPAA patient privacy regulations and can be customized to meet organizational security requirements as well.

With telemedicine, imagine how much farther providers will be able to stretch their limited clinical resources while receiving optimal revenue for innovative care. For example, physicians who are traveling on business can securely consult with patients via video conference from a remote location while still being able to log, record and bill for those sessions.

Specialists can reach out to patients who wouldn’t be able to access them geographically and assist with critical diagnoses and suggest treatment plans using tools like screen sharing, messaging, conferencing and more. With these tools the specialist has immediate access to the patient’s history, imaging, labs, doctor’s notes, and more, enabling a more productive consultation.

All of this is possible with West’s solutions. West has decades of experience in the healthcare space and our offerings support the drive toward patient-centric and self-service solutions that deliver high-quality care.

Improve Patient Engagement and Quality of Care

Providers can use West’s UC offerings, including contact center and notification services platforms, to improve patient engagement – thereby improving quality of care and outcomes. For instance, physician groups treating patients with high blood pressure can use West to automate daily outbound calls or text messages to collect patients’ blood pressure readings. That information is cross-referenced with what is considered normal for that patient. If the reading is out of bounds, West’s system connects the patient with a live agent for further assistance such as scheduling an in-person appointment with the doctor. Using this automated system for routine and somewhat self-service maintenance, providers save full-time employee resources that are better directed to more critical tasks at the top of their licensure.

Some features include:

Using West’s platform, healthcare professionals can expand their practice’s patient panel without adding more staff.

Most call centers today do not address population health or even patient-centered care. West’s services do both – all with an eye to payer reimbursements. Too often, providers who embrace the cutting edge of patient access and value-based care trade off proper reimbursement for their time and services.

West’s patient-centered solutions help you get ahead of the curve with telemedicine as well as modernize patient access centers, improve operational efficiency, reduce costs, increase revenue and improve retention rates.

A version of this article originally appeared on NoJitter.com


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