Telehealth has now moved from the peripheries into the health-care system’s mainstream. Telehealth means providing services to the medical, health and education sectors. It offers clinical assistance, using telecommunications and information technology, to patients from remote areas.
Telehealth has become a link between manufacturers (providers) and patients. Although many people may like to continue receiving conventional in-person treatment, they do not know that telehealth and teleconsultation provide opportunities to increase the choice of patients and broaden services.
When it comes to caring for veterans, providers can deliver patient care, using telehealth, across state lines and outside the facility of Veterans Affairs. For example, Video-to-home programs are used to assist people with mental health problems, obsessive-compulsive disorder and addiction.
The new news is that telehealth is now being used to support survivors of sexual abuse, who hesitate to visit a medical facility. Trends in telehealth have influenced the health-care industry’s future. There are new and updated laws on safety which are more effective. All patient medical information is stored in the cloud and is thus readily available to them.
Telehealth is designed to improve connectivity in rural environments. For example, clinicians may inquire about precise measures of blood pressure, and inform patients of their care. There is also an increase in patient access because of:
- Providing education and guidance
- Contribute to the growth of broadband services in rural areas
- Amend regulatory restrictions that are limiting reimbursement
Telehealth program is bringing care beyond regular settings. From rising sub-segment has grown into a core component of care delivery. The telehealth programs provide interactive voice response, a web app, and virtual care. Telehealth, for example, provides access to care at school, where the children are the majority of the time; creates healthier students through virtual care.
The telehealth market space is also expanding with innovative technologies and emerging telehealth precision models, concierge facilities, regenerative medicine, and medical spas. Nevertheless, telehealth offers multiple facilities and several patients access telemedicine services without realizing that they are being used; this is a sign of progress.
Given the aforementioned advantages, virtual visits and remote monitoring; resistance to change, concerns about technology adoption and reimbursement are present. It is important to resolve certain rising misconceptions.
Barriers and Challenges in Telehealth:
Implementation can also be challenging because many patients want access to their continuing treatments and medications, which improves patient access. Yet, on the other hand, the elderly with physical handicaps and those with lower incomes use less of the Internet.
Both patients and providers have to be assured that the technology is safe and reliable. Some patients refuse to accept the decisions taken by unknown providers/specialists by telemedicine rather than those taken face to face.
When most health care services migrate into a regional network, the procedures laws are creating obstacles and license has become an even greater obstacle. Many states allow consultation in person before any telemedicine programs are launched. As providers are licensed in the country in which they live, it becomes a challenge to have a visit to telehealth with the patient who has travelled out of state.
Then comes Reimbursement, which is cited as one of the major barriers in telemedicine. This limitation is because, when it comes to telehealth, certain providers might misuse the healthcare system or push up costs. Reimbursement has now become the main concern, as we continue to offer care as a fee-for-operation operation.
For example, two minutes of telehealth consultation is substituted every 20 minutes of the visit. In this way the practice gets a spot for higher reimbursement as patients are given urgent treatment and the pressure on the providers is reduced. Many disagree, that through reducing healthcare delivery prices, reimbursement levels are significantly increased through the introduction of a smart telehealth strategy.
Like reimbursement; workflow and fear of change is a constant challenge too. The providers often have to construct a telehealth-specific protocol to treat some conditions. To enforce this further, the providers must schedule different timings to include telehealth visits. This adds to their already established workload.
Many technologies are showing potential health care market. For the longest period, technology has been the focus of telemedicine for a long time because the huge amount of data is not easily maintained. For instance, continuous temperature monitoring and blood pressure monitoring. Smart Telehealth needs to be well integrated with core systems like EHR.
The system eliminates discomfort for both patients and providers when successfully implemented, and is well integrated into the workflow of the providers. For instance, the tool has to connect to relevant patient information from the EHR system and support the provider by promoting chart ready notes.
Broadband access is another obstacle. To improve access to quality care, there is a need to provide accessible broadband to enable telehealth and sharing of health information. Connection to broadband remains underserved, in rural areas in particular. There are significant public health problems that affect rural communities and their economic growth due to lack of access to healthcare services.
When it comes to revenue cycle management, telehealth is also trying to overcome the challenges regarding documentation and coding issues and reimbursement issues.
It is important to take time to understand, to carefully enforce, the new codes and reimbursement guidelines.
When telehealth increases, so do the penalties also raises. Therefore, it is necessary to obtain confidence and take a rational approach by training and educating personnel, which in turn would help ensure that there are no adverse effects on your practice. Flawlessly, the company will continue to exploit the telehealth benefits.
While these challenges are overcome by implementing successful telehealth program, it requires a flexible approach, recognizing regulations and culture of practice, thus becoming an excepted mode of care delivery.