Telemedicine Reimbursement Options
The growth of telecommunications technologies over the past several years has created new opportunities for businesses to connect with customers and offer valuable services, often at less expense. Healthcare providers have started to realize the potential inherent to telemedicine.
The medical field has largely embraced electronic medical records implementation, switching from an outdated system of filing hard copies to the increased efficiency, convenience, and cost-effectiveness of utilizing electronic medical records companies and software. Telemedicine, or the use of telecommunications technology to remotely diagnose, treat, and monitor patients, seems to be the next frontier.
With a predicted shortage of medical professionals in the coming years, telemedicine could provide a solution for overworked healthcare professionals and needy patients alike. Aside from the practical, ethical, and security implications that must be sorted out, however, many healthcare professionals have concerns about how to get reimbursement for these largely untested services.
The good news is there are several potential avenues for reimbursement with this form of healthcare service. If you’ve completed your electronic health records implementation and you’re ready to move on to the next thing, here’s what you need to know about telemedicine reimbursement.
Telemedicine is not a new idea and has been in the works for several years at this point. However, it is only just beginning to gain traction in the healthcare industry. As a result, government entities are interested in discovering whether or not such services are a viable alternative to some in-office, clinic, or hospital services.
It is therefore possible that healthcare providers interested in implementing telemedicine programs may be eligible for local, state, or federal funding through grants devoted to testing such services.
Because of the ease of use provided by telemedicine, healthcare providers may elect to contract out to a variety of patient groups, such as schools, prisons, or local employers, for example. These groups will contract with a physician, clinic, or hospital system, after which members may utilize agreed upon services, such as remote consultations and virtual visits.
For the most part, healthcare providers are likely to offer concierge services as a benefit for patients and insurance carrier networks. Carriers are likely to appreciate telemedicine because of the cost-saving potential, while patients will no doubt applaud the convenience it offers.
For healthcare providers that have already taken the leap into virtual record-keeping by implementing electronic health records, telemedicine may be the logical next step in efforts to cut costs, increase convenience, and improve patient access to resources through the use of technology.