The Covid-19 pandemic has forced healthcare providers to create new routes for providing remote healthcare (care at distance) and it is main driver for the rise of remote healthcare. In particular, this pandemic has created a dramatic push to find innovative ways to remotely and effectively monitor patient health status.
Remote healthcare includes telemedicine (telehealth) as a leading vehicle to deliver virtual care however, it’s not the only vehicle for diagnosing and treating patients remotely. Telemedicine is accompanied with number of additional features to enhance remote healthcare for example- Remote patient monitoring (RPM).
Let’s understand various vehicles of remote healthcare in detail.
Telemedicine is the use of electronic communications and information technologies to provide clinical services when participants are at different locations and closely associated with telemedicine is the term Telehealth.
Generally telehealth encompasses broader technology applications to distance education, consumer outreach, and other applications.
Telemedicine includes Videoconferencing, e-health including patient portals, transmission of still image remote monitoring of vital signs, nursing call centers and continuing medical education.
When it comes to reimbursement for Telemedicine Medicare has a specific list of CPT codes that are covered under telemedicine services.
Remote Patient Monitoring
Remote patient monitoring is an important application of telehealth and it is a method of healthcare delivery with the help of advancement in information technology to gather patient data outside of traditional healthcare settings.
Let’s see how RPM will help you amid covid-19.
- RPM will Eliminates the need for non-essential in-person visits, thus decreasing the chances of patient and provider exposure to COVID-19.
- Reduces overall healthcare costs for patients and physicians, with an overwhelming amount of evidence detailing improved disease management through RPM.
- Helps healthcare organizations scale their valuable clinical staff, which is especially essential during public health crises when providers’ resources are stretched thin.
- Serves as a critical early warning system for COVID-19 detection in individuals, especially for asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic individuals.
When we talk about reimbursement for RPM, CMS has mentioned in its final rule,
- To qualify for reimbursement under CPT codes 99457 and 99458, CMS mandated at least 20 minutes of interactive communication time between provider and patient over a calendar month, However the 20 minutes of RPM care should not include interactive communication.
- The agency clarified that “interactive communication” can include both in-person and connected health channels.
Now, you will have clear understanding of Telehealth and RPM in detail hence let look at some remote health services used for a variety of purposes:
Remote healthcare services
- Specialist referral services typically involve a specialist assisting a general practitioner in rendering a diagnosis. Here patient may “seeing” a specialist over a live, remote consult or the transmission of diagnostic images and/or video along with patient data to a specialist for viewing later.
- Direct patient care such as sharing audio, video and medical data between a patient and a health professional for use in rendering a diagnosis, treatment plan, prescription or advice. Here patients may located at a remote clinic, a physician’s office or home.
- Medical education and mentoring, which range from the provision of continuing medical education credits for health professionals and special medical education seminars for targeted groups to interactive expert advice provided to another professional performing medical procedure.
As technology is advancing and various entrepreneurs as well as companies are investing in remote healthcare, it is sure that remote healthcare will definitely rise. If you are a physicians and started using these services lately or seasoned Practioners but struggling with telehealth billing and coding, you can rely us. We are one of the best medical billing and coding company across the US with HIPAA compliant experts.
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