Introduction to Some of the Most Common Telehealth Challenges Facing Providers
Telehealth is the delivery of healthcare services through digital communication technologies such as video conferencing, remote monitoring, and mobile health applications. It has revolutionized healthcare by giving patients access to medical care from the comfort of their homes. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated its adoption by healthcare providers and patients alike.
However, telehealth comes with its own set of challenges. Providers must navigate patient privacy, software implementation, credentialing, reimbursement, and patient scheduling issues. In this article, we will explore the biggest telehealth issues facing providers and offer strategies to overcome them.
Why Telehealth is Growing in Popularity
Telehealth has been around for decades, but it has gained significant momentum in recent years. The rise of mobile technologies and the need for convenient, cost-effective healthcare services have contributed to its popularity.
Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced providers to adopt telehealth to deliver care while minimizing the risk of infection. Telehealth has several benefits for both patients and providers. Patients can access medical care from anywhere, anytime, without leaving their homes.
Providers can reach a broader patient population, reduce no-shows, and increase revenue. However, these benefits come with their own set of challenges.
Overview of the Biggest Telehealth Challenges Facing Providers
Telehealth providers face several challenges that must be addressed to ensure the success of their practice. The following are the five biggest challenges facing telehealth providers:
Challenge #1: Telehealth Patient Privacy, Security, and Compliance
Patient privacy and security are critical in healthcare. Telehealth providers must ensure that their communication technologies adhere to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) regulations. Additionally, providers must ensure that their patient's personal health information (PHI) is protected from unauthorized access, use, or disclosure.
Telehealth providers must implement appropriate safeguards to protect patient privacy and security. This includes using secure video conferencing platforms, encrypting patient data, and training staff on privacy and security policies.
While they may be cost-effective and easy to use, general video conferencing platforms like ZOOM and Google Meet may impose security risks on your practice.
Challenge #2: Telehealth Software Implementation and Integration
Telehealth software is the backbone of a successful telehealth practice. Providers must choose a software platform that meets their specific needs, integrates with their existing software, and is user-friendly for both providers and patients.
Telehealth software must be implemented correctly to ensure that it functions as intended. Providers must test the software thoroughly to identify and resolve any issues before launching it. It is also recommended to check for the software's minimum technical requirements for laptops and hardware to run efficiently.
Additionally, providers must ensure that the software integrates with their existing electronic health record (EHR) system to ensure seamless data exchange.
Running pre-go-live simulations with offsite employees is a great way to ensure all sides of the solution are being evaluated by practice staff. Implementations, where only practice employee software views are evaluated, leave patients as guinea pigs for new implementations.computer hardware
Challenge #3: Telehealth Credentialing and Verification
Telehealth providers must be credentialed and verified by insurance providers before they can receive reimbursement for telehealth services. Credentialing and verification can be time-consuming, requiring providers to submit extensive practice and provider documentation and undergo background checks. Telehealth providers must start the credentialing process early to avoid delays in receiving reimbursement.
Providers must also ensure that they meet each insurance provider's credentialing requirements, specifically for telehealth services.
If you or no one in your practice has experience with credentialing, there are many affordable professional options and software solutions depending on your region and practice needs.
Challenge #4: Telehealth Reimbursement and Payment from Insurance Providers
Telehealth reimbursement and payment from insurance providers can be a complex process. Insurance providers have their own policies and requirements for telehealth reimbursement, which can vary from state to state.
Telehealth providers must understand the reimbursement policies of each insurance provider they work with and ensure that they submit all necessary documentation for reimbursement. Providers must also ensure they bill for telehealth services correctly to avoid payment delays or denials.
Challenge #5: Telehealth Patient Scheduling and Education
Telehealth providers must educate their patients on accessing and using telehealth services. Additionally, providers must ensure that the scheduling process is seamless and convenient for patients so that they know when their appointment is and can make changes conveniently.
Conclusion: How building an efficient telehealth practice can help you improve patient outcomes and scale your business
The benefits of telehealth are numerous, including reduced wait times, increased patient engagement, lower healthcare costs, and improved access to care for underserved populations. Incorporating telehealth into your practice can streamline your operations, increase patient satisfaction, and ultimately grow your business.
It’s important to take a proactive approach to mitigating risks and building an efficient telehealth practice.
If you need help navigating the complexities of identifying or implementing the best telehealth solutions for your practice, contact DBR Associates today!