Telehealth And COVID-19: A Critical Time For Telemedicine Solutions

Telehealth And COVID-19: A Critical Time For Telemedicine Solutions

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The healthcare system is facing an epic and unprecedented disaster with the COVID-19 outbreak which threatens to overwhelm our ability to provide critical life-saving care as the number of confirmed cases continue to rise. The emergence of telemedicine and telehealth platforms now offer vital resources to healthcare professionals in helping them manage these challenges in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The primary threat government and public health officials must immediately confront is the potential overcrowding of hospital emergency rooms, urgent care facilities, and clinics. Adopting telehealth solutions now will help mitigate overloading the system by allowing healthcare professionals to assess low-risk individuals with disease exposure concerns and provide remote guidance lessening the need for in-person visits.

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued sweeping new regulatory changes to mitigate the strain on the healthcare system. In its March 30 announcement, CMS further expanded reimbursement for telehealth services to Medicare beneficiaries adding 80 additional services to be covered. This action followed the March 17 CMS announcement which expanded telehealth coverage in response to the pandemic.

With the high risk of transmission of the coronavirus, many patients are refraining from making routine chronic health care visits. However, for the more than 100 million Americans with chronic health conditions, this is not an option. For this population, telemedicine is an essential resource to address their ongoing needs while reducing in-person clinic visits.

“These changes allow seniors to communicate with their doctors without having to travel to a healthcare facility so that they can limit risk of exposure and spread of this virus. Clinicians on the frontlines will now have greater flexibility to safely treat our beneficiaries,” said CMS Administrator Seema Verma.

Chronic care management services can be offered via telemedicine to optimize the care of these patients with chronic conditions, address the reduction of human exposures (among healthcare workers and patients), and ensure that finite medical services on the front lines are reserved for patients who need them most.

With a growing array of cloud-based telehealth platforms, physicians can continue treating patients with adhering to social distancing guidelines. For medical practices and systems that have not yet embraced telemedicine, this is a critical moment to adopt telehealth solutions and begin providing a functional service that could eventually grow the practice. As more people use live video chat platforms like Zoom, Facetime and Skype, patients will be more receptive to telemedicine.

Given that telemedicine is poised to address several unique challenges posed by the COVID-19 outbreak, the CDC, state public health agencies and numerous industry associations have all indicated that telehealth solutions need to be considered a part of healthcare provider coronavirus response systems. For healthcare providers who have not yet adopted telemedicine capabilities, now is the time to consider partnering with third-party healthcare technology service providers who can help implement telehealth solutions today and ensure patients continue to receive quality care as we all adapt to the changing healthcare landscape ahead of us.

Would you like to see a demonstration of PharmD Live’s Chronic Care Management tool? We can easily show you a remote demo of how our board-certified pharmacists and SaaS software can help you better care for your patients and increase your Medicare reimbursement and Quality Incentive Payments.

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