Sunday, June 14, 2020

Published 6:32 PM by with 1 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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