During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency, the federal government is encouraging health care professionals to adopt and use telehealth to see patients in appropriate situations.
With more and more people looking to telehealth options instead of seeking care in person, demand for telehealth practitioners has surged. You can help address the need by:
- Integrating telehealth into your current practice. New policy changes offer HIPAA flexibility on technology options during COVID-19 Public Health Emergency.
- Joining an established telehealth platform. Many telehealth companies are looking for additional doctors and other health professionals to help meet the rise in demand.
What resources can help me integrate telehealth into my practice?
There are several guides to help you start providing telehealth services — or to help you fine-tune if you’ve already started. For example:
- SWTRC webinar: Revving Up Your Telemedicine Practice In The Time Of COVID
- AMA Telehealth Implementation Playbook
- MATRC comprehensive overview on telehealth implementation
- NRTRC Quick Guide to Telehealth Services
- Telemental Health Toolkit
The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) funds regional resource centers to support organizations that provide — or would like to provide — telehealth. These resource centers are an excellent resource for assistance, education, and information about telehealth. Find your regional telehealth resource center or contact them with any telehealth-related question.
What technology do I need to provide telehealth during COVID-19?
If you have a phone or a device with the internet, you already have everything you need to provide telehealth.
During the COVID-19 emergency, health care providers may use any non-public facing application to communicate with patients without risking any federal penalties — even if the application isn’t in compliance with HIPAA rules. More details available in FAQ #10 on Telehealth and HIPAA during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency. Health care providers that seek additional privacy protections should provide such services through technology vendors that are HIPAA compliant and will enter into HIPAA business associate agreements (BAAs) in connection with the provision of their video communication products. Read more on policy changes.
How do I find the right telehealth vendor for my practice?
You have a number of options for telehealth delivery. The first step is to identify any technology that you already have access to. For example, your patient portal may have some types of telehealth functionality built in.
Once you’ve identified what you already have, here are some questions to assist in researching additional options:
- How does the vendor protect personal health information?
- Is a contract required?
- Does it require any special equipment?
- Is there a waiting room feature?
- Can staff or patients schedule visits through the platform?
- Can patients provide consent to receive telehealth on the platform itself?
- Will your patients need to download an application to have a telehealth visit?
For guidance on selecting a vendor:
Resources on telehealth vendors and providers
Telemedicine Service Provider Directory - This directory is a resource for hospital decision makers and healthcare administrators who want to expand or improve services to their patients, employees or clients. The directory lists companies providing medical specialty services (such as radiology, rheumatology, neurology, psychiatry) and ancillary services (such as patient education and language interpretation) through telemedicine to healthcare providers such as hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, private practices and urgent care centers. This is a national level directory created by Arizona Telemedicine Program and Southwest Telehealth Resource Center funded by HRSA.
Digital health directory - This directory lets you see a curated list of Telemedicine services available to patients and providers — set your filter to ‘Clinician’ when you explore this directory. This directory is a voluntary effort by Consumer Technology Association (CTA) and American Telemedicine Association (ATA).
Disclaimer: This list does not constitute an endorsement, certification, or recommendation of specific technology, software, applications, or products.