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  • Writer's pictureMuhammad Sair Khan

Maximize Provider Revenue with Telehealth

Thanks to today’s fast Internet speeds and easily accessible video technology, telehealth services have rapidly expanded, becoming a legitimate alternative to a traditional office visit. Physicians in almost every specialty can take advantage of this more efficient, low-cost care to improve revenue and patient outcomes.

Big hospital systems are taking notice and creating the infrastructure and billing processes necessary for telemedicine. In 2017, Kaiser Permanente performed 52 percent of its patient interactions via telehealth, instead of with in-person interactions. By using this innovative technology, your practice could take advantage of this trend—and maximize your revenue.

How Telemedicine Benefits Your Patients— And Your Bottom Line

Telemedicine was first used to help check in on patients in rural areas, providing additional assessments by specialists who weren’t available nearby. Neurologists could quickly identify strokes while radiologists with special expertise could review film. During this time, telemedicine was most easily used by doctors within the same practice or medical group.

However, the wide use of smartphones and high-speed Internet has changed the game. Telemedicine is in demand from patients across the country who have busy schedules or want a lower cost way to assess minor illnesses and injuries.

Access to More Patients

Your practice can benefit from this growing demand. According to the Pew Research Center, 77 percent of Americans have and use a smartphone while 88 percent of Americans have access to the Internet from their home. Each of these people is a possible telemedicine patient, thanks to apps and programs like Skype, FaceTime and more. Your patients won’t need to live nearby to benefit from your care.

Overcoming Barriers to Care

Telehealth gives patients who might not otherwise have access healthcare an opportunity to be treated. Patients who cannot drive themselves or who have poor access to transportation can likely still find an Internet connection for a telehealth appointment.

Many working patients also have little time to make it to the doctor. Telehealth provides more flexible scheduling for both patients and physicians.

Telehealth can also save patients money. They’ll have fewer lost work hours, spend less time getting to their appointment, and even save on transportation costs like gas or public transportation. With time and money saved, patients may be more likely to attend follow-up appointments and adhere to physician recommendations.

Lower Chance of Relapse

For patients facing addiction or other challenging health concerns, frequent check-ins are vital to preventing relapse. Telehealth keeps lines of communication open so you can continue to be reimbursed for treatment and keep patients engaged in their recovery. No matter your patient’s schedule, it gives you a chance to check in and help them overcome challenges.

A More Value-Based Care Model

Value-based care models are changing the way physicians are reimbursed—helping you receive money not for only for providing services, but for achieving quality outcomes. Telehealth gives you a more time efficient way to follow up with patients, provide preventive care, and increase your revenue. With improved outcomes, you could also see an improved bottom line through new reimbursement models.

How Telehealth Could Change in 2019

Fortunately, as technology changes, so do telehealth reimbursements and regulations. Now, more than half the states require payment for telehealth; thanks to big changes in 2019 -- and that number is likely to grow.

The 2019 Centers for Medicare & Medicare Services’ Physician Fee Schedule and Quality Payment Program expands on reimbursement for telehealth services including:

  • Remote check-in or follow-up services

  • Evaluation of patient video or images

  • Prolonged preventive care services

This fee schedule takes effect January 1, 2019,

Learn how your practice can increase its revenue using telehealth. Schedule a complimentary 15-minute consultation by calling 805-579-3537 or contacting us online.

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