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3 Ways Health Care Providers Can Sustain a Telehealth Practice

The COVID-19 pandemic created an increased demand for telehealth services as it quickly became critical for health care providers to deliver care remotely, safely, and conveniently.

To help sustain and improve patient care through telehealth, providers have to stay on top of the changing landscape. Telehealth.HHS.gov is a resource that contains the latest information providers need, all in one place. Here are three ways practices can improve their telehealth operations and maintain effective and efficient levels of service for patients.

1. Plan long-term telehealth workflow

The process for setting up and managing patient visits may need to shift to accommodate a growing number of telehealth appointments. Begin with a few key considerations to save time and frustration.

Before telehealth visits

  • Train your health care team on how to deliver telehealth services.
  • Identify your practices’ availability for telehealth appointments.
  • Determine how patients schedule telehealth appointments.
  • Establish how your health care team will access patient information for each visit.
  • Consider the support you’ll need to provide to patients with limited English proficiency, those living with disabilities such as hearing loss or visual impairment, and caregivers or other persons who need to assist a patient during the telehealth visit.

During telehealth visits

  • Verify the patient’s equipment is working and discuss what to do in case of connectivity disruption.
  • Confirm the patient’s identity and location.
  • Create a patient crisis plan in case of emergencies.
  • Ask if the patient has the privacy they need.
  • Keep the visit as much like an in-person visit as possible using friendly body language and eye contact.

After the visit, make sure to document the visit as a telehealth appointment and provide patients instructions for follow up.

2. Stay on top of changing telehealth reimbursement and billing

Reimbursements for telehealth continue to evolve. During the pandemic, the federal government, state Medicaid programs, and private insurers expanded coverage for virtual health care services, including:

3. Engage patients in telehealth

The transition to telehealth is an adjustment for patients, as well as for health care providers. Preparing patients for remote medical care will help ensure a successful and meaningful visit.

For additional information, best practice guides, telehealth workflow planning, billing and policy changes, and patient preparedness, turn to Telehealth.HHS.gov.

Last updated: July 14, 2021

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