Let’s “Talk Telehealth”
November 10, 2017
What does telemedicine mean to you? For many patients, this word means better, faster access to healthcare with more secure options. For a healthcare professional, this word means leveraging technology to reach more patients, anytime or anywhere. Today, this is a buzzword used frequently by healthcare professionals across all sectors of the healthcare industry. Telemedicine is cited as being more than just a passing trend, it is a solution that is seriously impacting the delivery of health care. Telemedicine is fostering a climbing satisfaction rate from patients, thus a declining rate of patient no-shows thereby creating more billable opportunities for providers. Research studies predict that telemedicine will become a 34 billion dollar industry by 2020.
Telemedicine: A history lesson
Reimbursement then and now
In 1999, Medicare began reimbursing for telemedicine visits for patients in underserved populations. In 2009, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act incorporated health IT and telemedicine coverage to stimulate growth throughout the healthcare industry. Since these pivotal moments, the reimbursement policies across the telemedicine landscape began to expand. As of today:
47 states and the District of Columbia provide some sort of telemedicine reimbursement.
39 states have parity legislation in place
7 states are waiting on proposed parity legislation
These 39 states all cover a winning combination of either live video or store and forward technologies, some even cover session conducted via telephone. According to Forbes magazine, over 60% of the nation’s largest employers cover telemedicine sessions. Arguably one of the largest victory in the field of telehealth to date is 48 state Medicaid programs offering some level of telemedicine coverage for behavioral health services.
Telehealth taking off in behavioral health area
Telemedicine is taking off especially in the field of behavioral health. It is estimated that out of the one in four adults diagnosed with a mental illness each year, only half will actually receive treatment. Patients with mental illness often see only the stigma attached to seeing a healthcare provider, causing them to miss out on the much needed care they deserve. With a telemedicine solution, this stigma is eradicated, as sessions can be conducted within the privacy of a patient’s own home. Another barrier preventing access to care is mobility. Telemedicine solutions allow for a patient to never miss an appointment, as care can be received at any location. “Telemental health” services encourage the relationship between the provider and the patient through more private and comfortable solutions, and more flexible scheduling options.
Over 67% of healthcare professionals today are using some form of telemedicine. These innovators not only see the bettering of health outcomes over traditional healthcare models, but are also enjoying the increased revenues it offers to their practices. What are you waiting for? Join the telemedicine movement through taking your practice online by emailing one of customer success representatives by calling 888-958-2885.