Category Archives: Blog

13Jul/20

Telehealth augments in-office visits

What is your strategy to retain and attract patients while in-office visits continue to be a risk for your patients?

The recent spike of COVID-19 hospitalizations in Texas and other states is a sign that in-office visits will struggle to come back to pre-pandemic volumes anytime soon.

Wearing masks, distancing, and incorporating less risky activities in our lifestyles is the new normal as we embrace the unknown. (Download chart of activities and their risk level)

Time is of the essence to get serious about Telehealth!

Telehealth Strategy

All practices need to implement a sound strategy to keep the business afloat. Telehealth is one clear avenue to fight back the devastation Covid-19 is causing in Healthcare, especially private practices, and it looks like it could linger for quite some time.  Here are a few pointers to consider:

  • Look at current systems EHR, PM, Website, etc. to see if they will support your practice now and moving forward. If any of these areas are inefficient and impacting your revenue, it is time to evaluate now!
  • Outsourcing billing is a great option to remove administrative burdens from your staff and re-purpose them to areas more important to your practice.
  • No matter what Telehealth platform you choose, be sure it will support your practice moving forward.
  • Hire experts to help you assess your needs and bring your practice to the next level!

Resources

The Texas Medical Association just published a chart that ranks activities n their risk level for COVID-19.

Download chart (English)

Download chart (Spanish)


Congress has extended the PPP until August 8. If you or a colleague did not qualify for the PPP program (CARES Act) under the original requirements, maybe you can now.   

Contact your bank or feel free to reach out to the CARESAct team at Frost Bank ( a Texas Bank) https://www.frostbank.com/COVID-19/CARESAct

or contact Kristen Zinser Smith directly:

Kristen Zinser Smith

Vice President | Commercial Banking

Frost – Banking, Investments, Insurance

Office: (713) 388-1300 | Cell: (832) 454-7038

[email protected]| www.frostbank.com

14Jun/20

Reopening Texas Healthcare Continues

Some exciting news. Former CMS leaders write letter to congressional leaders about role of Payment and Regulatory Flexibility in COVID-19. See what the letter has to say about Telehealth and reimbursement and the possible impact on independent providers.

 Download Letter here

_______________________________________________________________

Dr FARZAD MOSTASHARI , former national coordinator for health information technology at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said in a recent interview about Primary Care:

“I really hope telehealth and I believe telehealth will be here to stay because it’s actually a superior form of primary care delivery for certain things”

Dr Farzad Mostashari

Listen to full interview here

______________________________________________________________

Healthcare in Texas is beginning to see an increase in appointments and surgeries while enforcing safety guidelines, temperature checks, physical distance, wearing masks etc. There is also an uptick in hospitalizations for COVID-19 patients; however, the Governor’s plan continues at a steady pace with possible removal of additional restrictions.

Stay tuned for more updates on Telehealth and Reopening Texas Healthcare

25May/20

Guidelines for Reopening your Practice

As Texas reopened its economy and enters the second phase, many private practices have remained open while others are reopening from scratch. Either way, all practices now face a new normal and a game plan that meets the needs of their patients.

Providers see ”safety” as the number one concern and they also see the need to execute a sound plan. The effects of COVID are reflected on the changes of policies and procedures practices are experiencing now. For instance, changing phone scripts, new triage protocols, new telehealth workflow, new patient education material, financial management, managing influx of patient volume, in-office visits, billing, marketing strategies are just a few items in the guidelines and the resource links listed below.  

Reopening Plan Guidelines

Manage influx of patient volume

For the next 2-3 months your schedule will be the best asset in your practice.

  • Phone efficiency and phone etiquette – Review current policies and adjust accordingly. Use phone tree for efficiency. 
  • Online appointments – Key feature moving forward, so patients can book their own appointments. Leverage your website so patients can request appointments online and fill out intake forms. Promote use of patient portal.
  • Cancellations and no-shows – When volumes are high this does not hurt financially, but now with limited in-office visits it is critical to reschedule cancellations and no-shows right away.
  • Reminders – Reduce cancellations and no-shows by staying on top of appointment reminders and be sure to use your patient’s preferred method of communication. Include in the reminders steps to stay safe, like filling out intake forms online to minimize exposure while in the waiting room, take measures to protect themselves as well as others and the staff when coming in

New Critical Processes

Reopening in phases is better than all at once.

  • Prioritize based on the services you offer to meet the most critical needs of the patients.
  • Have on hand new relevant patient education for this transition.
  • Ensure new COVID billing codes are updated.
  • Have a plan in place in case a staff member must work from home.
  • Consider outsourcing your billing so you and your staff can focus on safety for patients and staff.
  • Implement new policies for high risk patients. Offer Telehealth and Revise schedule for when to see these patients.
  • Review schedule to ensure patients practice social distance in the waiting rooms.

Effective Marketing Strategies

This is a new territory for all, however transparency and clear communication with your patients is key to come out on top

  • Publish reopening dates – Post them in your website, even if the practice has remained open all this time. if COVID has forced new hours be sure the new hours are reflected everywhere.
  • Patient’s preferred method – Phone, email, or text. This is essential and demonstrates your practice cares.
  • Responsiveness – Empower someone to stay on top of new protocols to respond back to patient’s questions. Lack of response is the quickest way to lose a patient.    
  • Personalize your marketing messages – Share your heart, be vulnerable and let them know you’ve been impacted as well. Reach out to patients you see more often, as well as those you have not seen in a long time, however, customize the messages accordingly and lift the patients up.
  • Educate thru marketing – The purpose for wearing a mask, social distance, if fever or symptoms not to come in etc.
  • Online reputation management –Your practice needs positive reviews now and post-COVID as online reviews gain acceptance as the standard research to select a doctor. Leverage patient visits to get to know the patient better and always ask them to visit your website and post a review.

How Telehealth fits into your practice

If your practice does offer Telehealth today, it must.

  • Encounter without exposure –Telehealth is simple to implement, and it blends in with your current flow. You may need to setup quiet spaces in the office or buy minimum equipment. Even if you only have a smart phone, you can get started, so there is no real reason for not implementing telehealth visits for your patients and it reduces exposure to liability. Great for marketing by letting patients know that if they have concerns of exposure, they can still see the doctor from the comfort of their home.
  • Integrated Telehealth brings many benefits to both your patient and your offices. For example, getting co-pays upfront, filling out intake forms and determine if the patient needs to come in or not. Telehealth also increases the number of visits per day per provider and grows the patient base.  
  • Reimbursements are the same as in-office visits

The above is a condensed version of an E-Book published by Advanced MD. Contact me if interested in receiving a free copy of the full version.


More on Telehealth from the CDC guidance

Healthcare facilities will likely need to adjust the way they triage, assess, and care for patients by using methods that do not rely on face-to-face care.

Promoting the increased use of telehealth

  • Healthcare facilities can increase the use of telephone management and other remote methods of triaging, assessing, and caring for all patients to decrease the volume of persons seeking care in facilities.
  • If a formal telehealth system is not available, healthcare providers can still communicate with patients by telephone instead of in person visits which will reduce the number of those who seek face-to-face care.
  • Health plans, healthcare systems, and insurers/payors should communicate with beneficiaries to promote the availability of covered telehealth, telemedicine, or nurse advice line services.

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/ambulatory-care-settings.html

The future of Telehealth according to article from Becker’s Hospital Review

The Wall Street Journal reported in “The Doctor Will Zoom You Now” that CMS telehealth visits went from 100,000 per week to 300,000 per week as of March 28, and the agency expects that to increase.

“I think the genie’s out of the bottle on this one,” Seema Verma, the CMS administrator, said. “I think it’s fair to say that the advent of telehealth has been just completely accelerated, that it’s taken this crisis to push us to a new frontier, but there’s absolutely no going back.”

 https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/telehealth/the-genie-s-out-of-the-bottle-on-this-one-seema-verma-hints-at-the-future-of-telehealth-for-cms-beneficiaries.html

CDC Activities and Initiatives Supporting the COVID-19 Response and the President’s Plan for Opening America Up Again May 2020


Additional Resources and Downloads

CDC Guidelines publish on Wednesday May/20

The “ CDC Activities and Initiatives Supporting the COVID-19 Response and the President’s Plan for Opening America Up Again” recently published by the CDC (May/2020) is a great resource to help guide you in setting up your “new normal” policies and procedures for your practice.

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/php/CDC-Activities-Initiatives-for-COVID-19-Response.pdf

MGMA Medical Practice Reopening Checklist

Additionally, the MGMA (Medical Group Management Association)https://www.mgma.com/ has issued a comprehensive Reopening Checklist.  

https://www.mgma.com/MGMA/media/files/pdf/MGMA-Practice-Reopening-Checklist.pdf?ext=.pdf

03May/20

Top 15 Specialties Embracing Telehealth During COVID-19

As the country begins the re-opening phase state by state, scheduling appointments and surgeries previously put on hold will gradually resume, following CDC guidelines and new triage protocols to determine in-person visits vs telehealth visits.  

ZOOM has clearly become the tool for business continuity and TELEHEALTH is for continuity of patient care”

While no one can predict exactly how much telehealth will be used once the pandemic is over, experts and physicians on the front lines agree that this experience will result in telehealth being more widely used than it was before the pandemic.

Sandy Marks, AMA’s senior assistant director of federal affairs says:

“There are going to be changes in the practice of medicine going forward based on all this use of telehealth. We are quite certain of that. We are definitely going to be pushing for some of these new policy flexibilities to remain in place.”

Areas of healthcare embracing Telehealth

Some disciplines of healthcare never imagined using Telehealth until now thanks to CMS placing much needed policy flexibilities so providers of all specialties could continue to provide patient care. Areas where Telehealth was already in place may not be listed below. FQHC and RHC are getting a boost on Telehealth from the CARES Funding program.  

  • ER Visits
  • Initial Nursing Facilities visits
  • Home Health, Home visits
  • Inpatient Neonatal and Pediatric Critical Care
  • Group Psychotherapy
  • Psychological and Neuropsychological Testing
  • Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy and other therapy services.
  • End-stage Renal Disease Services
  • Remote patient monitoring
  • FQHC – Federally Funded Community Health Centers
  • RHC – Rural Remote Health Centers

Specialties embracing Telehealth and gaining momentum

The momentum Telehealth had been gaining in recent years was propelled by COVID-19 forcing physician practices of all specialties to quickly figure out how they can best use the technology to provide patients with care while practicing physical distancing.

A “Re-set” happens when things need to start again. It is like a refresh, very much like the familiar “reboot the computer”.  Things get so jumbled up that it is better to just shut it down and start again. Are we experiencing a re-set-in healthcare?

In July of 2019 Doximity did a study of the top 15 specialties most and least engaged with Telemedicine job postings. Less than a year later COVID-19 makes a drastic adjustment to this study. The great majority of the least engaged have joined the ranks of the most engaged.

Where does your specialty fit in using Telehealth? 

MOST ENGAGED with Telehealth LEAST ENGAGED with Telehealth
1.Radiology
2. Psychiatry
3. Internal Medicine
4. Neurology
5. Family Medicine
6. Dermatology
7. Pediatrics
8. Emergency Medicine
9. Geriatrics
10. Allergy & Immunology
11. Endocrinology
12. Infectious Disease
13. Urology
14. Pediatric Pulmonology
15. Occupational Medicine
1. Anesthesiology
2. General Surgery
3. Orthopedic Surgery
4. Obstetrics & Gynecology
5. Oncology
6. Physical Medicine/Rehab
7. Gastroenterology
8. Otolaryngology (ENT)
9. Cardiology
10. Plastic Surgery
11. Nephrology
12. Neurosurgery
13. Pulmonology
14. Pediatric Cardiology
15. Pathology
See Doximity’s complete study here https://s3.amazonaws.com/s3.doximity.com/press/2019TelemedicineAndLocumTenensOpportunitiesStudy.pdf

“We are watching how Telehealth continues to reshape patient care as the country moves forward past COVID-19 and beyond.”

25Apr/20

Telehealth Services the New Horizon

Revenue from Telemedicine Services. The ongoing transformation in the Healthcare Industry right now is breathtaking. Despite the turmoil, as the economy re-opens, the anticipated benefits of new Telemedicine Services for providers and clinicians of all specialties is remarkable.    

The New Revenue Streams revolve around the following Telemedicine Visit Types already approved by CMS and followed by major commercial and private payers.  

The Public Health Emergency (PHE) declaration has generated a series of changes by CMS to the Telehealth Services to add even more flexibility to Telehealth Services so providers and clinicians can use to treat symptomatic and asymptomatic patients.

Of course, coding is key for reimbursements and to get those new revenue streams going. See chart below for more info on Billing Codes.

The following defines each Visit Type along with the new provisions under under the Public Health Emergency.  

Telehealth Visit Types

Telehealth Visit: a visit that uses telecommunication technology between a provider and a patient. This visit requires real time interactive video and audio electronic communication between provider and patient.  

Virtual Check-in: a Brief (5-10 minutes) check in with your practitioner via telephone or other telecommunication device to decide whether an office visit or other service is needed. Initiated by patient for established or new patients.

E-Visit: a communication between a patient and their provider through an online patient portal


Changes to Visits policies after PHE declaration

  • Clinicians can now provide more services to beneficiaries via telehealth so that clinicians can take care of their patients while mitigating the risk of the spread of the virus. Under the public health emergency, all beneficiaries across the country can receive Medicare telehealth and other communications technology-based services wherever they are located. Clinicians can provide these services to new or established patients. In addition, providers can waive Medicare copayments for these telehealth services for beneficiaries in Original Medicare.
  • Clinicians can also provide virtual check-in services (HCPCS codes G2010, G2012) to both new and established patients. Virtual check-in services were previously limited to established patients.
  • Licensed clinical social workers, clinical psychologists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, and speech language pathologists can provide e-visits. (HCPCS codes G2061-G2063).
  • A broad range of clinicians, including physicians, can now provide certain services by telephone to their patients (CPT codes 98966 -98968; 99441-99443)

Additional Temporary CMS Telehealth Services


Resources

Temporary changes for the duration of the Public Health Emergency. https://www.cms.gov/files/document/covid-19-physicians-and-practitioners.pdf

Complete list of all Medicare’s telehealth services and their corresponding billing codes. https://www.cms.gov/Medicare/Medicare-General-Information/Telehealth/Telehealth-Codes


Key Takeaways

  • Waiver is temporary through duration of COVID-19 PHE
  • Expanded access for beneficiaries to telehealth services
  • Stay tuned to changes
  • Verify commercial and private payers’ coverage and policy.
  • Verify AMA telehealth codes are supported by Medicare’s
  • Be planning patient care approaches for post COVID-19 PHE.  
18Apr/20

CARES Act Expands Telehealth

Funding relief for private practices. The financial aid available in the $2 Trillion CARES Act could very well be the lifeline for many independent practices in need of financial assistance due to COVID-19.

Telehealth gets a boost. The CARES Act expands Telehealth Services. Time to put Telemedicine Services in high gear.

Funding for providers thru HHS

These grants are for providers affected financially by COVID-19, including Medicare/Medicaid enrolled practices, hospitals, public entities, and nonprofit entities. The grants are meant to cover unreimbursed health-care-related expenses or lost revenues. $100 billion for grants thru the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

  • Expenses include increased staffing and training, personal protective equipment, and lost revenue.
  • The application process is still being developed by HHS and will be released shortly.
  • Funding will be based on economic and financial harm to physicians.

Calculate economic harm and apply for funding

Use this link to download tool from the AAFP

See sample results

The CARES Act and Telehealth

Telehealth is at the highest levels of visibility for “Patient Care” across the nation and around the world. Patients are experiencing its capabilities and flexibility, and providers are recognizing the benefits to patient care.

Once back to “normal” will patients and providers revert to the previous normal?

With so much visibility and substantial funding from the government Telehealth is rapidly expanding to all corners of the country, both metro and rural. In record time, healthcare providers (facilities, independents, etc.) are moving forward integrating Telemedicine services for their patient base.

The stakes are high and the demands for better and cost-effective healthcare may be moving the needle towards a more “patient/provider centric” healthcare reform.

Avoid staying on the sidelines, patients are expecting Telehealth services.

Components of the CARES Act for Telehealth

  • Preparation for telehealth services and broadband service -$25M for rural utilities
  • New program aimed to improve telehealth broadband connectivity for connected health services -$200M for FCC.
  • Telehealth Resource Center for the Health and Resource Service Administration (HRSA) – $29M/YR through 2025.
  • Temporary lifting Telehealth restrictions on Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC) & Rural Health Clinics (RHC).
  • Temporary lifting of face-to-face visit requirements for home dialysis patients and allow use of Telehealth.
  • Reestablish eligibility of Telehealth for Hospice Care.
  • Indian Health Services – $1.032B to the Department for Health and Human Services
  • Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund – $27B

Although some relief is on the horizon as states begin to re-open their economies at a gradual and safe pace, all indications point that “back to normal” may be way down the road.

Set your practice apart with Telemedicine Services Today.

12Apr/20

2020 – Telehealth Getting Started Part 2

Small steps for small practices …. on Telehealth Getting Started PART 1 we listed a set of considerations and key resources to implement Telehealth. Part II will delve a bit deeper into some of those items and steps to get started quickly.

Telemedicine was not a top priority a few weeks ago, but it is here to stay and not just because of COVID-19. Patient experience and positive results from Telehealth are setting high expectations from the patient perspective that require leading healthcare authorities to take a second look at the temporary regulation changes and make them permanent to keep promoting Telehealth.

It is in the patient’s best interest for all private practices to offer Telehealth services now. Here is a guideline for next steps to get started.

Like in any other situation, “Keep CCC” – Keep Cool Calm and Collected and set positive expectations. This is not as bad as it looks.

Guidelines to get started with Telehealth

The following is only a guide as every practice has a different set of requirements and objectives that dictate how their project plan would look to implement Telehealth.  

  1. Technology is the backbone of telehealth and the experience your patients will take away with these new types of services. To implement requires due diligence; it is not a one size fits all, and keeping quality in mind makes virtual encounters the best patient experience.
  2. Identify the Telehealth services for your practice. For example, Medicare has four approved types: Telehealth visits, Virtual Check-ins, e-Visits and Telephone visits. Know what is required for documenting these services, for coding and billing and what commercial payers require.
  3. Patient notification. Identify the ways to communicate with your patients to promote the new services. Know what is required by the patient and be sure your staff is comfortable with the technology. Use test patients and practice, practice, practice.  
  4. Training is the lifeblood of successful implementations. Clinicians, staff and patients need to be trained. Practice is the best trainer, and daily practice among staff and clinicians builds confidence.
  5. Billing. Obviously, a key action item which requires careful planning and coordination to ensure new policies and procedures are enforced throughout the entire Revenue Cycle, so claims get paid. Omitting new specific modifiers and/or ignoring waivers rules will cause rejects and denials. Seek assistance when in doubt.
  6. HIPAA and Security. These two go hand in hand and although the telehealth floodgates have been opened, policies for safeguarding PHI must continue; after all it is about securing your patient’s data. The discretion to allow the use of non-compliant services (such as FaceTime, Skype, or Facebook Messenger) is leaving many questions. To help address the concerns, OCR released a new set of FAQs covering telehealth and HIPAA, at least for the duration of the pandemic.

HIPAA compliance does not mean having a manual on the shelf and virus protection software on the computers. It is accomplished when Infrastructure Security meets HIPAA requirements while clinicians and staff follow and enforce HIPAA and security policies thru procedures and practice management.  

Stay tuned for tips on selecting a Telehealth Vendor

05Apr/20

2020 – Telehealth Getting Started

Change is never easy to implement and telehealth
is no exception.

“Quick and dirty” or “Fast and Furious” …
choose your poison.

We’ve all heard decision makers use these
aggressive terms to describe their expectations for implementing new technology,
new systems or new procedures. In the real world, aggressive and often
unrealistic deadlines are recipes for disaster.

COVID-19 has no mercy; it has declared
war on humankind and to defeat this enemy we must take quick action to save
lives.

So how can a small practice take the bull by the horn and implement Telehealth?

Need help getting started with Telehealth and how to get paid for those new services?

Key links, guides, resources and more in this blog.

Share with other physicians

We’re all in this boat together and learning
as we go is the new norm. Dismantling government regulations was imperative in
order to kick Telehealth in high gear as the saving grace tool for all our
communities in this pandemonium.  

Seems like every day we learn more and
more about the behavior of Coronavirus and healthcare professionals adjust
accordingly especially using Telehealth.

There are several solutions out there
offering free basic versions. Although it may do the “basic” functions, remember
payers pass your claims thru rigorous checks before they approve payment.  

“Free software is never free”!!!

  If the Free “basic version” does not cut the
mustard, you may have to upgrade after all and that adds frustration to you and
your practice and possibilities of denied claims.

Today, most EHRs offer a telehealth
module, either already included as part of your subscription or you must pay
extra in order to activate it.

If your practice is still on paper or
simply not using the EHR to its full extent, then a standalone may meet your
needs, or you may consider a short-term to a long-term approach.  

Providers need to take care of patients and use Telehealth as the tool for patient safety.  Take action now and follow the carpenter’s rule “measure twice and cut once”. Hiring outside expertise can help your practice do it right from the get-go.

The following are some of the key points
to consider during your implementation of Telehealth services and some links to
help you along the way.

  • Notifying patients about your new Telehealth services
  • Training for both providers and staff
  • Revise scheduling process
  • Triage procedures
  • Understand CMS and private payer’s telehealth policies
     
  • Billing requirements  
  • Work from home policies for both provider and staff.
  • Infrastructure
    • Camera, quality, sound … the better the technology,
      the better the experience for the patient. Services can be broadened.
    • Internet broadband
    • Wi-Fi
    • Acoustics of the room for hands free conversations
    • Security concerns
  • Clinical and Admin Policies and procedures
  • Disaster Plan

CMS regulatory changes to further promote Telehealth

https://www.cms.gov/newsroom/fact-sheets/additional-backgroundsweeping-regulatory-changes-help-us-healthcare-system-address-covid-19-patient

Coronavirus Waivers
from CMS

https://www.cms.gov/about-cms/emergency-preparedness-response-operations/current-emergencies/coronavirus-waivers

Subsequent blogs will be on Telehealth in order to provide more resources for you and your staff as we navigate this new normal together.

Stay tuned for types of telehealth visits, CPT codes, modifiers and more!
29Mar/20

2020 COVID19 Telehealth is in the spotlight

Telehealth is in the spotlight as the world combats COVID-19.

Providers need to communicate with symptomatic patients to reduce spreading the virus, while others need to provide routine care for patients with chronic diseases or other ailments to protect patients and their communities.  

If Telehealth can support such an urgent need for practicing medicine, could it be the impetus for the transformation of practicing medicine beyond COVID-19?

It is encouraging to see how the government and private insurances are revising policies to allow the use of telehealth in ways not permitted before. It is a mad race for large hospitals to scale up what they already have, while medium and small practices may be starting from zero.

It’s a no-brainer that such dramatic shift is positioning Telehealth as an integral platform going forward for our healthcare system, however, it requires due diligence and planning to implement even for smaller practices.

To ramp up, a practice needs to take immediate actions on notifying patients, training, scheduling, billing, high speed internet broadband, camera quality, and the overall patient experience to name a few of the actionable items.

Nothing like crunch mode to implement a technology never used before and without even the most basic guidelines. As in war time, you implement, learn as you go and modify accordingly.

The benefits of Telehealth are substantial as providers can broaden their services and improve patient experience. From the patient perspective, surveys have shown that roughly 8 out of 10 patients would select providers who offer Telehealth over the ones who don’t.

Stay tuned for useful resources and guidelines on Telehealth

22Mar/20

2020 COVID-19 Triggers Telehealth and Work from Home

COVID-19 is unexpectedly challenging the world in unprecedented ways and Healthcare businesses are reinventing themselves as they redefine new day-to-day operations in order to survive.

Is your practice, clinic or facility ready for the new normal? … Seeing patients online and having your Back-office staff working remotely? … who would’ve thought!

Seeing patients online and having your Back-office staff working remotely?

Telehealth and working from home may sound daunting, but it is something a practice can no longer postpone. If you don’t have the expertise in house, reach out to reliable technical and clinical coding experts to assist you.

Free HIPAA compliant Remote Work Guidelines Policy Template

Confronting this pandemic is not only stretching the entire global healthcare industry, it is reshaping patient care here in the US in ways not conceivable or even imaginable just a couple of weeks ago.

1) Medicine – Find safe temporary therapies and ultimately a vaccine at the speed of light.

2) Patient Care – The entire population across the globe is being told to stay home.

3) Staff – Employees must have the ability to work from home.

The sad reality is that in the Healthcare industry none of the above could ever be achieved without removing many roadblocks currently in place. There is no fast tracking with the FDA. Healthcare businesses are just not setup or equipped to simply turn on the switch and begin seeing patients remotely or have employees work from home. Not entirely their fault, stringent HIPAA regulations have impeded the healthcare industry from adopting emerging technologies.  

So, what just happened?  In the course of a week, the FDA and CMS have revised and/or removed certain policies, paving the way for innovation, so scientists and medical professionals can quickly develop temporary therapies until a vaccine is approved. New approaches to testing for highly contagious virus such as “Drive-thru Testing” and “Self-Testing” are being explored and physicians can now leverage on telemedicine to drastically improve patient care.     

physicians can now leverage on telemedicine to drastically improve patient care.

The effect of “9/11” impacted the US greatly as well as other parts of the world; the effect of COVID-19 is impacting the entire world so it is highly unlikely that the roadblocks removed will ever come back.

Regulations in Healthcare must foster embracing new technologies, improving patient outcomes, reducing costs, and preparing physicians for the next crisis.   

Free Remote Work Guidelines 

As a way to help you get started, click here to request your free HIPAA compliant Remote Work Guidelines Policy Template.

Stay tuned for the next blog as things continue to develop.