What is the future of telehealth? Is it here to stay?


If you’re wondering this as you bring more of your practice online, you aren’t alone! 

To answer these questions, let’s first dive into the three types of telehealth:

The first is video conferencing. This uses audio and video to conduct telehealth sessions. Patients and health practitioners can hear and see one another over an electronic device.

Next is telemedicine. This type of telehealth is often used for diagnostic treatment within the medical field through transmission of diagnostic materials such as EKGs, bloodwork, x-rays, etc.

Finally, there is remote monitoring. Remote monitoring telehealth uses devices many people are familiar with such as watches, heart rate monitors, and tracking devices to provide information remotely.

Since the 1990’s, telehealth has been tightly regulated by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) per the Medicare Telehealth Policy Social Security Act, Section 1834(m).* This act imposes a lot of restrictions on healthcare providers using telehealth such as limiting geographical areas where patients can be seen, who can provide these services, reimbursement, security and privacy, and more.

When news of COVID19 came to the United States, CMS made the decision to temporarily relax a lot of the telehealth regulations during the emergency, which has allowed health practitioners use many commonplace solutions to connect with their patients. Although this decision has hastened the adoption of telehealth for health practitioners and patients, it also has unfortunately put sensitive medical information and private discussions at risk.

If a video/audio platform isn’t using an encrypted, HIPAA-compliant, secure connection, patients' health information and everything that goes on during a session is not protected. People or companies are able collect data, enter chatrooms, and use technology to “listen” in during telehealth appointments.

This the major reason it’s imperative for healthcare providers whom intend to use telehealth for their practices after this crisis is over to onboard with a company currently using HIPAA-compliant and secure technology.

It’s still unclear if CMS may continue to relax some of the regulations around telehealth. Telemedicine will most likely continue to be performed within a hospital or office setting - while video conferencing and remote monitoring within a broader portion of the healthcare community will be here to stay.

If you’re looking to keep your business online post-pandemic, it's highly recommended you find a secure, encrypted, HIPAA compliant solution like VTConnect NOW so you can be up and running without any future interruptions. This way, your patients and your practice will be secure and protected regardless of what changes CMS makes to the telehealth regulations.

To support our community during the COVID-19 Pandemic, we are offering new customers of any size your first month FREE. To learn more, click HERE. Now is the time to join a safe, trustworthy and sustainable telehealth solution!

VTConnect is your simple, secure, and sustainable Telehealth solution for the COVID-19 crisis and beyond. Our platform allows you to connect with clients anywhere, anytime, on any device!

Source:

*https://www.ssa.gov/OP_Home/ssact/title18/1834.htm