Saturday, June 27, 2020

Published 11:13 PM by with 0 comment

The TrueTeleHealth Expert Picks for the week ending June 28th

In this segment, we bring you articles, news, and updates carefully chosen by our in-house medical experts.

This week Vinnie picked some fantastic pieces which deal with the future of TeleHealth in America and abroad.

In their weekly round up National Law Review covers how Lawmakers are Pushing to Make Some Telehealth Changes Permanent.
https://www.natlawreview.com/article/mcdermottplus-check-june-18-2020

Florence Health talks about how Covid-19 has pushed TeleHealth into mainstream medicine, citing the example of New York University’s Langone Health which saw a 683% increase in telehealth visits
https://www.florence-health.com/professions/rn-view-professional/covid-19-pushes-telehealth-into-mainstream-medicine/


Clint Philips writes about Why telemedicine needs more than just video chat to be successful - https://medcitynews.com/2020/06/why-telemedicine-needs-more-than-just-video-chat-to-be-successful/?rf=1

In the Citizen Tribune, Christine from Strate Insurance Group writes how during COVID-19, telehealth has become one of the safest and most available sources of medical and mental health care. She urges citizens that If they have not tried their provider’s telehealth option, this is a great time to do it.
https://www.citizentribune.com/insiders/telehealth-on-the-rise/article_3e755130-b1aa-11ea-83d5-873ee934ad98.html


For the last six weeks, physician assistant students at the University of New England have received a crash course in telehealth due to the COVID-19 outbreak. https://www.wmtw.com/article/une-physician-assistant-students-continue-learning-through-telemedicine/32909416#


The Missouri Division of Developmental Disabilities has signed a deal to offer telemedicine services at no cost to about 15,000 Medicaid Waiver users.
https://www.missourinet.com/2020/06/22/missouri-partnership-provides-telemedicine-at-no-cost-to-some-medicaid-users/


A survey by HCP Live shows Practitioners Leaning Toward Telemedicine Future
https://www.mdmag.com/medical-news/survey-practitioners-telemedicine-future


On to some concerns, Bloomberg writes about how Telehealth Consent Requirements Raise Litigation, Payment Issues
https://news.bloomberglaw.com/health-law-and-business/telehealth-consent-requirements-raise-litigation-payment-issues


From around the world:

In Korea, Hospitals and clinics seem divided over telemedicine in the post Covid-19 era
http://www.koreabiomed.com/news/articleView.html?idxno=8535


In India, the Government has issued the Telemedicine Practice Guidelines for enabling the Registered Medical Practitioners to provide healthcare services using the various telecommunication and digital communication technologies https://yourstory.com/2020/06/healthcare-telemedicine-practice-guidelines-covid-19-india

In sync with this, the Indian insurance regulator has directed all insurers to include TeleMedicine as part of the claim settlement of policies.
https://www.financialexpress.com/money/insurance/health-insurance-health-policies-to-cover-telemedicine-costs/1991438/



Please leave us comments via the comment box below about what telehealth questions you have and we will be glad to answer.

You can also contact TrueTeleHealth via our website https://www.truetelehealth.com/
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Published 9:08 AM by with 0 comment

Using Telehealth to optimize health worker staffing needs

The demand for healthcare services is rising. As baby boomers age and the number of Americans living with at least one chronic condition grows, this trend is expected to increase. And thus the demand for health workers is expected to keep increasing, where in fact there is clearly a shortage.
 
Here are some ways TeleHealth can help Hospitals and clinics address this skewed supply-demand problem.


Health Workers embracing TeleHealthClinics Can Use Telemedicine to Improve Staff Efficiency
By bringing about efficiency in how a care process and patient monitoring can be carried out, Telehealth can reduce the time nurses and there medical staff members have to physically spend with each patient. Using screening tools and remote patient monitoring, the medical staff members can be more effective at what they do best.


Digital Health can reduce the need for Healthcare Services

Telehealth can help facilities reduce the number of patients that require in-person healthcare services. Patients recovering from surgery and those with severe chronic conditions can be remotely monitored at all hours of the day.

Doctors can use digital health apps, instant messaging, and video consults to remotely check up on their patients. With 24/7 access to their patients, providers can use this technology to improve health outcomes and prevent possible emergencies down the line.

Instead of having doctors and nurses walk from ward to room, clinics/hospitals can use remote patient monitoring tools to keep an eye on the patients while they recover in the comfort of their own homes. Doctors can monitor the patient’s vitals, send them important reminders, and can actually help them be more connected to the care process.


Effective Patient Education

Nurses typically spend about 10% of their time educating patients about their diagnoses and treatment recommendations. With digital health tools, nurses can quickly educate their patients efficiently and effectively.
As the healthcare industry continues to adapt to these changes, more facilities will adopt Telehealth services to reduce the need for additional staff members. And as the TeleHealth products get better with time, the efficiencies they bring will also increase. 

Contact TrueTeleHealth to discuss how TeleHealth can help your practice improve staff efficiencies.

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Published 6:27 AM by with 0 comment

Improving the Doctor-Patient Relationship with TeleHealth

Doctors are used to seeing and treating their patients in person. Over the years, a number of doctors we met were worried that TeleHealth may not be effective as the actual process of the meeting could not be replaced by virtual meeting technology.

Covid-19 has led to the mass adoption of TeleHealth due to its ability to allow care provision without in-person meetings. And as many doctors now using TeleHealth are finding out, telehealth can actually improve the doctor-patient relationship.

What one needs to understand is that Telehealth doesn’t fully replace in-person care, but it supplements the doctor-patient relationship in a number of ways, which makes the overall impact of virtual care as useful as in-person care.

Doctors can use TeleHealth to address a wide range of health issues, including everyday aches and pains, rashes, the flu, and common cold, standard follow-up appointments, and even those recovering from surgery.

With HD video and high fidelity audio, doctors can easily see and communicate with their patients in real-time, as long as both parties have reliable access to the internet. Doctors are able to see and hear patients with the same accuracy as an in-person visit, allowing for diagnoses to be precise.

Reducing the distance between doctors and patients
By minimizing the distance between doctors and their patients, TeleHealth indirectly enhances the doctor-patient relationship by a huge margin.

About 74% of patients are comfortable with communicating with their doctors using technology instead of seeing them in person.  When they have access to doctors via TeleHealth, patients don’t have to worry about commuting to and from their doctor’s office. Patients will be more willing to contact their doctor if it means they don’t have to take time off work or drive to and from the doctor’s office. They will also be more likely to keep their appointment.

Since they can quickly log onto their smartphone or computer to access the information they need. Doctors also don’t have to worry as much about patients missing appointments, showing up late, or canceling at the last minute.

Increasing the frequency of communication enhances the relationship
With Telehealth, it's possible for doctors and patients to communicate more frequently when needed. 

They can send reminders and updates to their patients in real-time, so they remember to take their medication, schedule an appointment, or log on for a quick consultation. This helps both parties stay in sync throughout the consultation and treatment process.

For e.g. Doctors can get feedback on the response of a patient to a course of medication and the patients can ask for advice more easily. The fact that this can be billed, allows doctors to not feel shortchanged as they once would have felt. 

With TeleHealth Software, it's easier for doctors to ask patients to fill up one or more self-assessment or screening questionnaires prior to a virtual consult, and as frequently as they need it to be part of the care process. The software may not allow entry to the virtual consult for the patient unless it finds the screening forms filled up. This helps protects the doctor's time as well as helps patients self-screen regularly.


Remote Patient Monitoring can lead to peace of mind for both the Doctor and the Patient
With remote patient monitoring, doctors can track the health of critically ill patients, including those recovering from surgery, those with chronic conditions, and elderly patients. These patients will have more peace of mind knowing that their doctor is regularly watching over their health.

TeleHealth helps make patients more responsible 

Telehealth helps patients take ownership of the healthcare they receive. Virtual consultations give patients the freedom to schedule appointments and consultations on their own schedule. They can also now connect with doctors outside their locality or even city easily, Now that they have more freedom in terms of choosing a doctor, they get more involved in their care process which leads to less stress for the doctors.

About 53% of patients said that telemedicine somewhat or significantly increases their involvement in treatment decisions.

Summary
Telehealth is changing the way both doctors and patients approach their relationship with each other. Virtual care can increase access to healthcare services, improve communication, and reduce the rate of missed or canceled appointments.  

Contact TrueTeleHealth to learn how TrueTelehealth's solution can bring Doctors and Patients Closer Together

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Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Published 10:34 PM by with 0 comment

The TrueTeleHealth Expert Picks for the week ending June 21st


In this segment, we bring you articles, news, and updates carefully chosen by our in-house medical experts.

Across the nation, in Arkansas, The Northwest Arkansas Regional Crisis Stabilization Unit is now offering free support group for our frontline healthcare workers dealing with COVID-19, through telehealth https://www.nwahomepage.com/news/new-telehealth-support-group-for-healthcare-workers/

The threat from COVID-19 has forced physicians, like many other businesses, to find new ways to operate. Check out this On-demand Webinar by Dermatology Times  on "Telehealth: A tool for the moment or the new normal?" which caters to 

  • Current guidance on the use of teledermatology.
  • Methods for delivering teledermatology and how to set up an ideal workflow.
  • How reimbursements are working.
  • How to comply with teledermatology regulations.
Digital and communication technologies have revolutionized the delivery of healthcare services. 
Seema Verma, the administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said that expanded access to telemedicine should continue after the coronavirus pandemic recedes and that officials are examining ways to act without waiting for legislation from Congress.

Telehealth is set to change the future of healthcare and remove many of the obstacles and challenges that the industry and patients currently face. This excellent infographic about TeleHealth created by Maryville University is the perfect way to end this week's Expert picks.



Please leave us comments via the comment box below about what telehealth questions you have and we will be glad to answer.

You can also contact TrueTeleHealth via our website https://www.truetelehealth.com/



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Monday, June 15, 2020

Published 8:26 PM by with 0 comment

7 Specialties where the care process is enhanced using TeleHealth

Tens of thousands of physicians are providing TeleHealth -services to their patients during the COVID imposed lockdown. Many health providers using TeleHealth have begun to see merit in offering virtual care and remote consultations even after the effects of the pandemic are over.

Telehealth is here to stay. Healthcare is shifting to adopt the virtual care model along with the traditional ones. Obvious benefits to practices, physicians, and patients include ease of use, convenience, lower cost of delivery. Besides these, there are benefits in the care life cycle that are specific to different specialties which enhance efficiency not just in terms of quantity but in the quality of care. Let's look at some of these

Dermatology
Modern HD video has made it possible to diagnose and treat a variety of skin conditions from a distance. Video consults can be used for routine skin assessments like mole checks and more urgent triage needs. 

Endocrinology
Endocrinologists use remote consults to manage patients with chronic conditions like diabetes. A video visit is a great way to handle adjustments to various hormone and hypertension treatments.

Cardiology
People who suffer from cardiovascular disease or congenital heart defects generally need ongoing care and precise treatment plans. Regular video consults allow regular guidance from the cardiologist and help patients adhere to follow-up instructions.

Gastroenterology
Video consults are perfect for medication management, dietary counseling, and reviewing diagnostic test results.

Nephrology
Telemedicine is the ideal tool for helping patients to slow the progression of kidney disease and minimize the need for dialysis or kidney transplants. Nephrologists also use telehealth to provide at-home care plans for patients recovering from kidney-related surgery.

Psychiatry and Mental health
Telepsychiatry, the delivery of psychiatric diagnosis and treatment, has been growing as a care medium over the years. The online approach is perfect for the delivery of a number of mental health and psychiatry services because it reduces barriers to care including distance, privacy concerns, and cost besides letting patients get access to their doctor from within the surrounding which they may find most comfortable.

Pulmonology
People who experience asthma, bronchitis, COPD, and patients requiring mechanical ventilation are great candidates for telehealth. Video consults make it easier for them to stay engaged in the management of their condition.

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Sunday, June 14, 2020

Published 6:32 PM by with 0 comment

Common Questions About Virtual Care and Remote Consultations





As virtual consultations started going mainstream, though they were being adopted more out of necessity due to the covid pandemic, many health providers using TeleHealth have begun to see merit in offering virtual care and remote consultations even after the effects of the pandemic are over.


We receive questions such as
“How can we make this work as a mainstream option”?
“Is it safe to carry out a remote consult using Skype?”

We've put together a set of common questions and answers here which one should keep in mind when exploring to make TeleHealth a part of their regular clinical services.



Is it legal?
Perhaps one of the biggest concerns with remote communications and virtual care is the fear that it may not be legal for a clinic to provide healthcare solutions this way. However, much like medical camps in remote areas, using services like telehealth, online consultations, and remote health monitoring should be seen as a way of increasing the reach of healthcare.

Virtual online consultations and remote care, as well as telemedicine, are legal and recognized as effective methods to engage with existing patients and to support patients who may otherwise not have access to quality healthcare services.

Is it safe to consult remotely?

With a surge in video calling apps, it is fair to say that patients and health providers are now more connected than they ever were. However, the concern with instant messaging and video calling apps, as well as using social media and email for consultations is the lack of safety and privacy.
 

Information disclosed on these channels are not protected the way medical data and communication is supposed to be. The need to maintain doctor-patient confidentiality may be lost.

Another concern with such platforms is that they do not maintain a record of the communication between health providers and patients. These platforms are not exclusive to health, and unless one is making a note of the interaction via an another app, or in the EMR opened in a separate Tab, or recording the entire consult to make notes later, it is nearly impossible to maintain a record of previous interactions. One cannot save health data inherently as part of the app experience
, or even reference an earlier discussion. Therefore, when choosing to communicate remotely, health providers need to rely on a more reliable platform to engage with their patients for effective healthcare delivery.


Is it right to diagnose patients without seeing them?

Remote consultations are meant to be a way of offering continuous care and health monitoring between clinic visits. With access to their health records and previous medical history, it is possible for health providers to provide support and health solutions to their patients remotely.

Remote care and virtual consultations are not meant to replace face-to-face consultations or clinic visits. On the contrary, it is meant to help clinics and medical practices manage their time better so as to meet more patients each day. This means being able to follow-up remotely with existing patients, thereby freeing up time to meet new patients at the clinic.


Can I get reimbursed for this type of engagement?

Yes, absolutely. This is perhaps one of the key differentiators of remote monitoring and online consultation tools. Platforms like the RxOnDemand and TrueTeleHealth allow clinics to set suitable appointment slots and consultation charges for virtual consultations and health monitoring services.  

Nearly 60 percent of large U.S. employers provide coverage for telehealth, and access is growing exponentially. Over the last several years the Department of Veterans Affairs, TRICARE, Medicaid, and commercial health insurance providers have increasingly made telehealth services available.


Will it be a challenge for health providers and clinic staff to adopt new technology?

Any new technology requires training to understand the nuances of the solution. Training clinic staff and health providers are essential to ensure proper utilization of the tool. It is essential to spend some time to learn how to best make use of all the features and capabilities of your clinic’s tool so as to derive the maximum benefit from it, both for health providers and patients alike.


How will patients adapt to this new behavior?

Studies and Surveys revealed that a large % of patients would follow-up with a doctor online if they had the option.  Being able to remotely communicate and have their health monitored by their doctors is a welcome change for patients. That said, getting patients to use the tool will require a certain amount of effort. Proactive involvement by patients, supported by encouragement and prompt responses from the clinic will see the quick adoption of whichever TeleHealth solution your clinic adopts.

Is it expensive to set up specialized TeleHealth services for clinics?

With the explosion of TeleHealth solutions, there is a good choice of TeleHealth products for clinics 
to choose from in today’s day and age. Contact the TrueTeleHealth experts to know more.


Remote care and virtual consultations were born out of a requirement in healthcare delivery. It represents a need for better doctor-patient engagement, clearer communication, and continuous care.

Besides saving patients' travel times and costs, remote care, and virtual consultations help clinics manage time effectively, allowing for more in-clinic consultations and increased revenues. Overall patient satisfaction and an increase in patient referrals are also a likely possibility. 
Contact us to know more.
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Saturday, June 13, 2020

Published 6:55 AM by with 0 comment

How Remote Patient Monitoring is Transforming Healthcare Delivery

Remote patient monitoring (RPM) is a technology to enable the monitoring of patients outside of conventional clinical settings, such as in the home or in a remote area. It uses different digital technologies to collect medical and other forms of health data from individuals in one location and electronically transmit that information securely to health care providers in a different location for assessment and recommendations.

This type of service allows a provider to continue to track healthcare data for a patient once released to home or a care facility, reducing readmission rates.

Monitoring programs can collect a wide range of health data from the point of care, such as vital signs, weight, blood pressure, blood sugar, blood oxygen levels, heart rate, and electrocardiograms.

We list some ways by which Remote patient monitoring may increase access to care and decrease healthcare delivery costs

Timeliness, which can lead to earlier intervention, For more serious, time-critical medical events, the extra minutes offered by continuous monitoring can valuable

Convenience, which may lead to improved efficiency. Due to near-instant communication capabilities offered by remote care, practices can shift to a more automated system of scheduling, bypassing in-person appointments without reducing doctor-patient facetime

Accuracy, which can boost both efficiency and early intervention, is an important byproduct of healthcare IoT(Internet of Things), the digital technology used for Remote Patient Monitoring. Connecting all devices and alerts into the same sophisticated GPS network provides not just the prospect of early intervention for flagged patient conditions, but also the ability for relief teams to respond faster and with more clarity in emergency situations.

Security realized by sophisticated network protection: Patient monitoring allows for improved digital security via access to a highly secure network for accessing patient health information.

Mobility, which can help improve patient satisfaction. Patients are increasingly demanding access to care via their everyday consumer devices like Activity and Health trackers and other mHealth technology. Granting them this option, then exceeding their expectations with engaging, easy-to-use content and interactivity, means helping ensure greater rates of satisfaction.

Interested in Virtual Care. Read other Virtual Care posts by TrueTeleHealth at http://blog.truetelehealth.com/search/label/virtual%20care



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Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Published 2:59 AM by with 0 comment

The TrueTeleHealth Expert Picks for the week ending June 14th

In this segment, we bring you articles, news, and updates carefully chosen by our in-house medical experts.


More than three-dozen HEDIS measures have been adjusted to reflect new telemedicine services in response to COVID-19 and better align with the realities of virtual care delivery. Read about this at Healthcare IT News -  “As telehealth becomes the new normal, NCQA updates quality measures” - https://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/telehealth-becomes-new-normal-ncqa-updates-quality-measures


From The Robert J. Waters Center for Telehealth and e-Health Law (CTeL)’s TeleHelath Buzz we have this piece on how the New Defense Health Bill Seeks to Add Telehealth Services and Providers


While National Geographic’s piece on Why rural hospitals may not survive COVID-19 may list out a number of shortcomings about Telemedicine, it’s a great introduction to Telehealth.

Vinod, TrueTeleHealth’s COO identified another set of great articles that deal with TeleHealth use during and beyond the Covid-19 pandemic.


How Telemedicine Has Improved My Relationship With My Doctors          

Addiction treatment services see benefits from telehealth, consider implementing remote services more extensively


TeleHealth is the new Normal...

Virtual visits: Spurred on by the pandemic, telemedicine has gone mainstream

The Value Of Telehealth

Maintaining privacy rights and access with telehealth

Please leave us comments via the comment box below about what telehealth questions you have and we will be glad to answer.

You can also contact TrueTeleHealth via our website https://www.truetelehealth.com/
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Monday, June 8, 2020

Published 4:06 AM by with 0 comment

Are Virtual Visits a Good Thing?

The methods available for health care practitioners to reach their patients have grown over the past 20 years. The most common method and one which has become almost mainstream in today's day and time is Telemedicine.
Originally, Telemedicine was developed for patients in rural areas who may not have access to a doctor when they need it. Through the years, the scope of who telemedicine reaches has expanded as more people are looking for convenient, quick healthcare.
So why does remote healthcare work?.
Lower Fees Than physical visits
It’s easier for psychologists, physicians, and other practitioners to serve a larger amount of patients through an online medium. Since they’re able to cater to a larger number of patients, they can and do charge less for each consultation. This makes healthcare affordable.
Saves physical space
No additional space is required for one to offer tele-consults. One can practice it from the comfort of one's home, or existing office space. 
Reduce workload on the clinics
Practitioners are also doing a public service when they participate in telemedicine. By diagnosing illnesses, and other situations, via a telehealth session they’re reducing the number of individuals who end up in the E.R. for non-emergency situations. A physician, or another practitioner, is able to reassure patients that their chest burn isn’t a heart attack. This leaves more empty beds for patients who are actually undergoing a medical emergency.
Telemedicine: It’s Good for Both the Doctor and Patient
Most of the advances offered by telemedicine are good for both physician and patient alike. More patients are able to receive healthcare, and more doctors are busy giving it. 

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Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Published 8:52 PM by with 0 comment

The TrueTeleHealth Expert Picks for the week ending June 7th

In this segment, we bring you articles, news, and updates carefully chosen by TrueTeleHealth's in-house medical experts.

This week we have a great resource curated by Dr. Najjar from ACP Online related to “Telehealth Coding and Billing During COVID-19”  - https://www.acponline.org/practice-resources/covid-19-practice-management-resources/telehealth-coding-and-billing-during-covid-19

This resource provides access to an Online CME program on "Telemedicine: A Practical Guide for Incorporation into your Practice"

Also includes a Checklist for Incorporation of Video Visits (Telemedicine) and a document on Optimizing Telehealth During Recovery from Coronavirus


Vinod, TrueTeleHealth’s COO identified a couple of great articles that deal with TeleHealth use during and beyond the Covid-19 pandemic.

Telehealth could help some rural New Mexicans even after the COVID-19 pandemic


Telehealth visits boom as patients navigate Colorado's coronavirus restrictions


Rebuilding America: Telehealth, embraced by patients and providers during the pandemic, will likely continue


Survey: As expected, patients fearful of in-person visits are turning to telehealth


Rhode Island Lawmakers Look to Make Telehealth Coverage Permanent


The COVID-19 crisis created an urgency for telehealth. Now, many are hoping it sticks around post-pandemic


Also, we have some news about policy and a great factsheet from AHA which answers questions on their stance on TeleHealth

Lawmakers Push to Extend Telehealth Freedoms Past the COVID-19 Emergency  - https://mhealthintelligence.com/news/lawmakers-push-to-extend-telehealth-freedoms-past-the-covid-19-emergency

TeleHealth Questions Answered


Please leave us comments via the comment box below about what telehealth questions you have and we will be glad to answer.

You can also contact TrueTeleHealth via our website https://www.truetelehealth.com/


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Published 4:36 AM by with 0 comment

Using TeleHealth to reduce the spread of Covid-19

Traditionally, remote consultations via Skype or other video conferencing services have been used for low-risk medical needs.  For e.g managing common symptoms like seasonal allergies, minor skin issues, cold, upset stomach, etc.

Given the potential need to screen symptomatic patients for COVID-19, providers will want to work with public health authorities to establish screening protocols to determine the need for COVID-19 testing.


For the duration of the pandemic, providers will also want to look at the common care needs of patients in their local population and prioritize remote visits for low-risk conditions which should be addressed in the short term and do not require an in-facility visit.

Many practices already have the technology solutions in place to conduct remote visits, for they have recognized the benefits of TeleHealth to help reduce the cost of care as well as improve patient access and experience.

For those that do not, a few key points should be considered in deploying a remote visit strategy.

Firstly, it is important to consider how EHR and practice management systems will integrate with the TeleHealth tool, or be used concurrently with the remote consult to facilitate clinical documentation.

While authorities, both state and federal temporarily have reduced regulations requiring adherence to HIPAA, as regards web-based commercial tools such as FaceTime or Skype; in the longer term, these tools do not have the privacy safeguards to be HIPAA compliant and are not integrated with health record and billing systems.

Integrated, HIPAA compliant tools will lessen the challenges practices may face regarding workflow and will align with the movement to value-based care while maintaining patient privacy protections.

Truetelehealth offers a highly capable video visit tool, further details may be found here https://www.truetelehealth.com/.
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