How to set up a telemedicine office
The advancement of technology has redefined the world of healthcare. By coming into the mainstream, telemedicine has played a huge role in providing people with the necessary tools and resources for defense against the novel coronavirus and the limitations it has created between a physician and patient.
Through telemedicine, doctors can monitor the engagement and treatment of patients virtually. This practice also helps doctors in limiting the excessive usage of time, money, and resources.
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Healthcare providers have come up with secure telemedicine platforms. These include HIPAA-compliant platforms like SmartClinix. Such platforms have the tools and resources necessary for conducting confidential consultations. Telemedicine has helped millions of people in their time of need. The pandemic has forced doctors to opt for telemedicine due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Although it may seem like a fairly new concept built to cater to the pandemic, telemedicine has been a part of the digital society for many years. Through telemedicine, practitioners can work from home, travel, and treat patients residing in several states with an appropriate license.
It can be said that visual communication is in its prime at the moment. The pandemic has raised awareness all over the world, and people are slowly but surely shifting to digital and visual communication with the recent advancements in technology. You may have had all your questions about telemedicine answered by now. The next thing you will want to know is how to set up your own telemedicine office. The steps required to set up a telemedicine office are as follows:
Starting your telemedicine practice
Like all other businesses, telemedicine requires a learning curve, rules and regulations, and a financial commitment.
Telemedicine and the law
Doctors can consult their patients using an app, a smartphone, or other forms of digital communication. They can diagnose and treat illnesses with ease through virtual visits. Telemedicine platforms like SmartClinix serve a wide range of patients.
The first step is to familiarize yourself with the telemedicine laws of the state you intend to practice in. The American Telemedicine Association’s website and the state medical board can help you in educating yourself regarding these laws. For instance, some states allow doctors to consult with their patients virtually while sitting in their homes. Other states require the patients to be present in a medical facility to engage virtually with their consultants.
The second step is to know what Medicare will and won’t pay for. Strict reimbursement policies regarding telemedicine were placed by the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) before the pandemic. The CMS broadened its reimbursement parameters in March to cope with the current situation of the USA. Now Medicare pays for the virtual visits between the patients and providers, such as nurses, psychologists, doctors, and licensed clinical social workers. As long as Covid-19 remains a public health emergency, the new guidelines regarding telemedicine will be implemented.
E-prescribing also varies by state. The state medical board can help in guiding you with the telemedicine laws. In light of the pandemic, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has eased its restriction regarding controlled substances.
Telemedicine and technology
Technology partners are crucial in setting up a telemedicine office. Many video communication companies have created platforms like Zoom for the telehealth industries. While Zoom and Skype remain the mainstream form of providing telemedicine, a lot of software has been developed to safeguard privacy. SmartClinix is one such service that has built a HIPAA-compliant platform and ensures that physicians and patients can safely exchange private information.
‘Telehealth’ is used as a broader term for describing digital technologies that promote patient education and health. Telemedicine is considered a part of telehealth and is specific to patient/provider care.
While exploring telehealth vendors, look for a platform that:
- Doesn’t impact network performance and speed.
- Provides tech support for patients.
- Consists of various customization features.
- Includes built-in security features for the privacy of patient’s data.
- Should have the ability to integrate with your EHR.
- Satisfies your needs with minimal changes to existing hardware and software.
- Should comply with state medical board regulations and HIPAA rules.
Starting your virtual clinic must seem like a daunting idea if you are new to the world of electronic-integrated practice. Launching your practice online is similar to starting a new business. You need to be clear and know the rules and regulations revolving around how you want to start practice. Give yourself time to learn and be clear about the number of resources you can comfortably use. The primary hindrance physicians face is the skepticism in patients to shift online.
The introduction of complete telemedicine platforms and the pandemic has made the accessibility and necessity of e-health more evident. Recent studies go far enough to show that the patients familiar with telemedicine were interested in continuing to get healthcare through telemedicine and its undeniable benefits. Surveys show 74% of US citizens had no problems in getting help from doctors online. More than 60% said they had more satisfying results online. The overburdening of primary care doctors has made it evident that the number of patients willing to try telemedicine is significant.
You can start your telemedicine practice with a minimal budget and take it up according to the level of integration you want. Start with simply signing up with your details and making a payment of only $99 with SmartClinix and start practicing online or customize your solutions with special web developers. The process can vary from 2 working days onwards, depending on the complication of your workflow.
The range of telemedicine platforms, the tools, and the services they have to offer are vast due to technological advancements. Finding what is right for you depends on the workflow your practice requires and what your pocket can afford. Providing healthcare on basic video-calling platforms will make it easier for you to gauge what the world of telemedicine holds for you. It is essential to know which platform you wish to practice with and if it is adhering to you and your patients’ comfort level.
Dr. Josh is a physician who's helping spread the knowledge about Telehealth and its advantages. At SmartClinix, he's providing his expertise and knowledge in the form of engaging articles on various health & tech related topics.
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