The study of 15 of the state’s hospitals using the platform to treat some 500,000 patients saw a 25 percent reduction in a hospital’s staffing costs, while the hospitals saw a 20 percent increase in admissions – patients who would have been transferred to UMMC for ultimately non-serious issues, depriving the local hospital of revenues and taxing UMMC’s resources.
As the population grows and ages, and medical advances are made which prolong life, demands increase on the healthcare system. Healthcare providers are also being asked to do more, with no increase in funding, or are encouraged to move to new models of funding and care such as patient-centered or outcomes based, rather than fee-for-service. Some specific health professions already have a shortage (i.e. Speech-language pathologists). When rural settings, lack of transport, lack of mobility (i.e. In the elderly or disabled), decreased funding or lack of staffing restrict access to care, telehealth can bridge the gap.
Point-to-point connections link small remote health centers to one, large, central health facility via high speed internet. This type of telemedicine connection lets smaller or understaffed clinics outsource medical care to specialists at other locations within the same health system. Point-to-point connections are especially common for telepsychiatry, teleradiology, and urgent care services.
A telemedicine vendor should have no reservations in signing a Business Associate Agreement. Those that do sign one are confident in their ability to securely store patient information. VSee is currently the only company that offers a HIPAA Messenger App for organizations to try for free. They are confident that their telemedicine solutions can protect pertinent patient information.
Doctor On Demand’s mission is to improve the world’s health through compassionate care and innovation. We believe that health is personal, and means so much more than treating illness. We’re proud of the care we've provided over the years and the relationships we’ve developed with our patients, as evidenced by the 5-star reviews we continually receive. People use our service to gain access to some of the best physicians and licensed therapists in the country, all whenever and wherever is most convenient. It’s as simple as opening the Doctor On Demand app on a smartphone or computer.
But as the National Policy Telehealth Resource Center notes, “Compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is more complex than simply using products that claim to be ‘HIPAA-compliant.” Not only does the telemedicine platform need to be compliant, all providers, patients, and staff using the tool need to ensure they are in compliance with HIPAA. A telemedicine software vendor, for instance, not only needs to build a secure product, but also ensure their company is operating in accordance with HIPAA.
Reimbursement for telemedicine services is often not as straightforward for traditional medical services. State telemedicine policy landscape is continuously shifting, affecting rules around reimbursement through state Medicaid programs and through private payers. Medicare does now reimburses for real-time telemedicine services, but places restrictions on the eligible healthcare providers, the location of the patient, the medical procedures that can be done, etc. The good news is, there is a shift towards more widespread reimbursement for telemedicine through all third-party payers, with less restrictions.
With the interrelated fields of mobile health, digital health, health IT, telemedicine all constantly changing with new developments, it’s sometimes difficult to pin down a definition for these terms. In much of the healthcare industry, the terms “telehealth” and “telemedicine” are often used interchangeably. In fact, even the ATA considers them to be interchangeable terms. This isn’t surprising since the telehealth and telemedicine definitions encompass very similar services, including: medical education, e-health patient monitoring, patient consultation via video conferencing, health wireless applications, transmission of image medical reports, and many more.
Medicaid will cover telemedicine services depending on the legislation passed in that state. Since Medicaid programs are state-run, they follow state-specific telemedicine regulations. In 46 states, Medicaid offers some kind of physician reimbursement for telemedicine services delivered over live video. 26 state Medicaid programs will also pay an additional facility or transmission fee to cover the cost of hosting a telemedicine visit, or transmitting patient medical data in a secure way. The specific restrictions and regulations around telemedicine vary widely by state. To find out more about you’re your state Medicaid program will cover, visit the Center for Connected Health Policy’s recent report.
In the NICU/ICU, telemedicine can be used in a variety of ways. One approach is by using HD webcams to see the baby from different angles. High-risk infants can be seen by a specialist at another hospital by simply sharing the video within seconds. This decreases the need for infants to be transferred to another hospital, which is costly and time consuming.
It has been around for decades, but in recent years private insurers, employers, and government programs have expanded their coverage. By 2016 at least half of U.S. healthcare institutions and hospitals were using some form of telehealth. And last September the Senate passed a bill that will expand Medicare coverage for telehealth services, if it’s signed into law.