Video tools and tips to add telehealth
Adopting telemedicine in your practice? Explore options for online consultations and remote patient monitoring.
Ways to quickly add telehealth during the COVID 19 crisis
If you are trying to quickly transition your office to incorporate telehealth in order to meet the needs of your patients during the COVID-19 outbreak, here are a few tools to get you started.
During the pandemic, patient visits can be conducted over the telephone. However there are many easy ways to add video to the telehealth encounter which will provide you more information to make an assessment and also earn higher reimbursement rate. Consult the Telehealth Guide for guidance on HIPAA and reimbursement for these visits, and learn your state guidelines as well.
Free services for video consultations
The following free services can be used to begin video sessions with patients. This is a simple list of platforms offering their services to physicians during the pandemic and should not be considered a list of endorsed products.
- Bluestream Health
Bluestream Health gives AOA members free access to HIPAA-compliant video sessions with patients during the COVID-19 crisis. Go to Bluestream, enter your email address and full name to create a platform that allows you to send a secure invite to your patient via text or email. The patient clicks on the link to begin the video session.
Doxy.me offers three account types. The free basic account provides HIPAA-compliant video sessions, a virtual waiting room, and a chat feature. Free trial access to the paid services is available for the first 30 days.
- Facetime, Zoom, Skype
CMS has temporarily waived enforcement of HIPAA for telehealth, so a provider or patient with these platforms may use them in the short term. Watch the webinar with Michael Brown, DO, for tips on how to set preferences when using your phone or tablet.
Remote monitoring of COVID-19 patients
Ceras Health is a remote patient monitoring platform. Patients enter their vitals three times a day into the Ceras app monitored by a Ceras RN. The patient and provider are alerted if follow up is needed. There is no implementation fee for AOA physicians, however there is a monthly monitoring fee. Consult with Ceras on your individual state reimbursement.
A few tips to keep in mind:
- Set up a workflow with your staff outlining which patients will be referred for telehealth, how they will be scheduled, and the path that patient will follow
- Your patients may need some guidance on how to use their phones, computers, or tablets – especially on the first visit
- Watch the webinar with Michael Brown, DO, for tips on the patient encounter.
- For a full review of HIPAA Best Practices during telemedicine view the webinar “Navigating HIPAA and Telemedicine During COVID 19”
- While HIPAA guidelines have been relaxed during the pandemic, you still need to ensure the patient’s health information has been protected. Some examples:
- Do not send information over a public wifi network
- Do not send personal information using text or email without encryption
- Be sure no one on your end of the call can see or hear the patient visit. Do not use speakerphone if there are others nearby.
If you decide to add a permanent telemedicine platform to your practice, here are some resources to help you select one: