Telehealth is gaining popularity daily. COVID-19 pandemic endorsed the importance of virtual care. Telehealth has received acceptance and more confidence from patients not only for counseling but for other medical services too. If you are not offering telehealth services then you might be missing greater opportunities. Offering telehealth services requires little preparation. Preparing your practice for telehealth services will include informing your patients, educating them, preparing your practice’s infrastructure, and understanding telehealth billing requirements. Once your patients know telehealth is available and what they need to have a successful experience, you’ll be ready for virtual visits that feel just like when your patients come into the office.
Preparing Your Practice for Telehealth Services
Space: Even though you can conduct telehealth visits from almost anywhere, consider having dedicated space for telehealth sessions. At your practice, consider your office or a dedicated exam room for visits. If at home, your home office or another area can work. You need a private and quiet space, so your patients know their privacy is maintained. Make sure that you are getting good internet coverage in the dedicated space.
Correct browser: Many telehealth apps/software have a specific browser it works best on i.e., Chrome, Firefox, etc. Your office computer is probably already set up. If you will be using a different computer, make sure you have the correct browser. You can find this information in the software’s technical support section.
High-quality webcam and audio: Your patients need to see you clearly. Most computers come with good built-in webcams. If your computer is not up to par, you can find and set up a high-quality webcam. You need to hear your patients and they need to hear you. Most computers and devices come with good speakers and a microphone.
Light arrangements: If you’ll be in a room with a window, face the window to let the natural light illuminate you. If your desktop computer is next to the wall and you can’t move it easily, close the curtains or blinds and turn on the overhead lights or a lamp.
Tips During Telehealth Visit
- No matter where you conduct the appointment, dress professionally. By appearing like you usually would, you’ll help patients feel the visit is a professional interaction.
- You never know when you’ll encounter a technical glitch. Be sure to have the support team phone number handy. Immediately call the patient to confirm the technical issue.
- Charge your device before the visit so you don’t lose power in the middle of your conversation.
- Close unnecessary programs on your computer or device. Set up notifications on your telehealth app and keep them on prior to and during the visit.
- Be sure your webcam is ready. If on a device, test it by initiating a video call with someone. If on a computer, find your webcam program in the control panel and test it. Make sure you can see them eye to eye, and the lighting is good.
- Test your speakers and mic before the visit begins. You can test your audio by opening a voice recording program and saying a few words and your speakers by opening your favorite music app.
- Read the patient’s complaint and history to familiarize yourself before the visit. Have their chart handy, either by having the EHR pulled up or a paper chart for reference.
- You have a good flow to your in-office visits. Though you won’t be able to do a physical exam, conduct the visit like a face-to-face encounter. Take a thorough history, ask good questions, and document the way you normally would.
- Look into the camera so your patient feels like you’re engaging with them. Let them know when you take notes or look something up so they don’t think you’re not paying attention. You must communicate what you’re doing because they can’t see you the same way during telehealth visits.
- Explain to patients what they need to do next, whether it’s picking up a prescription or scheduling another appointment. You can have them repeat the instructions back to you, so you’re sure they understand. Take this opportunity to ask for feedback about the telehealth visit. You can use what they say to improve future visits.
Let Your Patients Know
When you are starting to offer telehealth services, let your patients know on priority. There are several ways to spread the word quickly. Following are a few tips:
- Change your voicemail message. Update your email signature that says that you’re now offering telehealth visits and how to schedule one.
- Update website banner with schedule button. Use a bright color to attract attention. Consider adding a popup in case visitors don’t notice the banner.
- Update your social media profiles to let patients know about the telehealth option. Pin the post so patients see the information first when they visit your social media pages.
- Use your patient’s database to send an email. Message patients outlining the process of scheduling a telehealth visit and its benefits.
- Once you’ve gotten the word out and patients are scheduling telehealth visits, you can help them prepare for the virtual visit.
Understand Telehealth Billing Requirements
During the COVID-19 pandemic, CMS released new sets of guidelines for telehealth billing. Even though CMS encouraged more and more use of telehealth, it doesn’t mean your every telehealth visit will get paid. Before starting to offer telehealth services, understand your payers, study their telehealth reimbursement policies. Understand what is considered a telehealth visit, which procedures are covered, correct modifiers and procedure codes, and documentation requirements. Every payer has a unique set of guidelines and reimbursement policies for telehealth services, so you also have to train your billing staff on telehealth billing and coding.
Using Telehealth Billing Care for Patients During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Most of the telehealth services are paid at the same rate as in-person visits, you have to use accurate CPT codes and modifiers, it must be supported with documentation. If you are not getting the correct reimbursement for your telehealth services, then you have to think about taking assistance from the medical billing company. MedicalBillersandCoders (MBC) such a medical billing company that will ensure all your telehealth services will get paid. Our expert billers and coders know billing guidelines and reimbursement policies for Medicare, Medicaid, and commercial payers. To know more about our telehealth billing and coding services, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org/ 888-357-3226