Telehealth use in the health and human services industry is expanding – policies governing who can deliver these services (and to whom) are changing, and many organizations (maybe your competition) are adding new telehealth service lines. I’m regularly asked in my work with provider organizations – how do we start? Here are the top four considerations for any organization looking at a telehealth service line:
Do you have an electronic health record (EHR)? – The health care field is in the midst of rapid digitization, and organizational medical records are expected to keep up. In the realm of telehealth, video sessions can be attached to the case note in the same way that a diary entry is placed in a paper record. Paper records are no longer a viable practice option. As we move to “remote” services, the only way to keep track of records for an organization is via electronic systems.
Can you provide collaborative care via electronic exchange? – Many organizations are considering (and should consider) collaborative relationships with primary care facilities. Primary care providers sometimes need immediate access to behavioral health specialists, and telehealth is an option for this immediate access – but only for provider organizations that already have the capability and service lines to deliver remote services.
What is the market intelligence for your state? – Executive teams will need to find out who is already providing such services in your state, what payers are requiring (terms, limits, CPT codes, etc), licensure boards or regulatory agencies requirements, and any other compliance information that will enable you to set up a successful program.
What is the best telehealth strategy? – There are many options for delivering telehealth services…smartphones, remote monitoring, live consultations, text message alerts, between session online assessments, wireless devices…the list goes on. Decide what your telehealth strategy will be, identify a place to start, and develop a plan of action.
Ultimately, the cornerstone for any successful telehealth program is a robust EHR – and for more on the elements of successful EHR adoption, join me on Monday, February 25 at 3:00 p.m. EST when I team up with Dr. Marlene Maheu of the TeleMental Health Institute, Inc. for the free webinar, “Why Consider EHRs Now? An Electronic Health Record (EHR) Primer.” To register, see http://telehealth.org/webinars.
For another free resource, see: Will Telehealth Replace Face-To-Face Service Delivery? all members