Getting started: Is direct-to-consumer telehealth right for your practice?
Direct-to-consumer, on-demand telemedicine has a lot to offer, but it’s not right for everyone. Incorporating it into your practice takes planning. It requires new ways of delivering care, but also introduces new technology, staff, and processes, as well as a new business model. Above all, you’ll want to ensure your patients have access to reliable internet services.
Integrating new direct-to-consumer services
Decide what kinds of services you’ll provide through direct-to-consumer telehealth. Define your current service gaps and the problems you want to solve. Some of the most common on-demand services include preventative care, filling prescriptions, follow-up care, monitoring chronic illness, and mental health.
Understand the community you serve. Determine what services your patients need. Make a plan to ensure your telehealth services are easily accessible by a diverse range of patients with different needs.
Determine your budget for new technology and customer support. Decide if you should use existing telehealth software or hire someone to create a customized platform. Determine if you have the financial resources to invest in ongoing maintenance and tech support — for example, hiring project coordinators to help get patients set up with telehealth technology, as well as IT specialists.
Exploring telehealth technology options
Disclaimer: This information does not constitute an endorsement, certification, or recommendation of specific technology, software, applications, or products.
Tip: Because direct-to-patient care is sometimes provided by a third-party company that specializes in telehealth, it is important that treatment information is shared with the patient’s primary care physician. When possible, review files with the patient’s primary-care provider before and after telehealth visits.
Understanding telehealth laws and policies
Many policies have changed to allow for broader telehealth reimbursement during the COVID-19 public health emergency, but these policies may change again, and coverage may end for certain direct-to-consumer telehealth services.