Our industry is constantly changing from how practices get through their daily routines, to recording, storing and sending information to reaching a wider patient base. Change can be scary, but it is necessary to advance, stay relevant and adapt in order to survive in such a competitive market. With the new social distancing regulations, it has forced everyone to re-evaluate how to adapt their businesses, remotely.
Telehealth allows the use of technologies to deliver access to healthcare outside the traditional care facilitiesii. Telehealth has been around since before the1980’siii, however it has grown and adapted with the technologies of the time. It allows medical practitioners to serve their patients and their communities by bringing together experts from around the world, optimizing collection and transmission of patient data and helps provide a more comprehensive treatment plan.
Reasons to set up Telehealth for your practice
Telehealth allows you to:
- Provide noncritical care to your patients.
- Deliver care to a wider patient base who are in rural or underserved areas, veteran care, critical care, the elderly, and during a natural disaster or state of emergency.
- Create a communication channel to effectively and efficiently monitor patient progress without coming into the practice.
- Effectively collecting and transmitting patient information.
- Consult with fellow peers and experts around the globe.
Telehealth vs Telemedicine
“Telehealth: The delivery of health care, health education, and health information services via remote technologies.”v Telehealth is delivered via methods of live video conferences, mobile health apps, remote patient monitoring (RPM) and other technologies.
Telemedicine: the remote diagnosis or treatment of patients via the use of telecommunications technology.
Telehealth technology – Services & Applications
There are many different platforms and apps available for use ranging from mobile health, video, audio and digital technologies, including digital photography, RPM and store and forward technologies. It is important to understand the different technologies and identify what your practice and patients’ needs are in order to select the best options to implement.
Mobile health or mhealth is the use of technology via smartphone or tablets. As so many of us are reliant on our mobile devices, it is imperative to be able to leverage this technology to promote and increase access to healthcare, especially during the current climate. This is also a great new channel to grow and streamline your business. There are a few ways you can transition parts of your business to mhealth. Start with the basics by having patients fill out all forms and applications digitally, schedule appointments with automatic reminders, and add communication via video and text messaging.
Many clinics are taking advantage of video conferencing to stay in touch with patients, overcoming the distancing factor due to self-isolation, as well as being able to reach patients who are unable to travel due to other factors.
Remote patient monitoring (RPM) are devices that help monitor, collect, transmit and help evaluate a patient’s health data. They can be a specific device the patient has to wear such as a FitBit, Apple watch or it can be through a smartphone app that can collect blood pressure, blood glucose levels, cardiac stats, oxygen levels and respiratory rates that is transmitted directly to your office. They can allow for early detection of complications, notifying the patient to seek help even if they don’t have an appointment.
Store and Forward is the term to record, store and send the patients’ healthcare data information using technology via HIPAA-secure appsvi to the healthcare team(s) and specialist(s). This includes online refractions, cataract screenings, MRI’s, CAT scans, Xrays, photos, video and text data to evaluate the patient and assist in their treatment.
Choosing the right solution for your practice:
What you will need:
- High speed internet
- Well-lit room with hi resolution camera and video camera
- Reliable software that is user friendly and is a HIPAA-compliant third-party platform to facilitate telemedicinevii
- Proper employee training
There are many software and app options on the market. When choosing a software, look for what your practice needs specifically. It is important to remember when selecting software, to find one where the data is encrypted, so when you are sending patients sensitive information, it is secure. Do so by ensuring the software follows HIPAA regulations. Below are few suggestions along with highlights of what they can do. Click on the links provided for more details on each software, reviews, a preview of what it looks like and to get more information on pricing and a demonstration.
Digital Optometrics – Optical Software
- Provide a comprehensive eye exam from remote location
- Electronic health recorder (EHR)
- Must have an optical practice location
TRIARQ – Complete Software (cloud based)
- Medical practice management solution
- Electronic health recorder (EHR)
- Patient management
- Health community integration
- Patient portals
- Direct messaging
- Patient reminders
- Secure messaging
- Schedule appointments
- Request online prescriptions
- Receive payments online
SIMPLE INTERACT SOFTWARE – Patient interaction software (cloud based)
- Comprehensive suite of HIPPA compliant services (online reputation, patient intake forms, marketing of services, patient engagement, automated reminders, etc.)
- Automated survey process to collect patient feedback, track patient’s satisfaction metrics and acquire positive online reviews
- Assist with Local Search Engine Optimization to help improve local
CHIRO FUSION – Electronic Health Recorder (cloud based)
- Schedule and manage patient appointments (booked, confirmed, reschedule or cancel via email or text messages)
- Appointment reminders for both patients and doctors
- Creates reports
- Bills patients for services
- Ability to track daily bookings, no shows and cancellations
- Create SOAP compliant notes
- Submit claims to insurance companies
- Process payments electronically
- Medical documents and records are backed up automatically
- Self service portal allows patients to check in using a tablet (submit history, access prescriptions, pay bills, etc)
DEPUTY SOFTWARE – Human Resource Management System (cloud based)
- Employee management
- Scheduling functions
- Schedule staff
- Incorporates payroll platforms
- Includes a mobile app
DR CHRONO: EHR
- Mobile compatible HER platform
- Manage patient intake, charting, billing and revenue cycle management
- Customized medical forms
- Scheduling tools
- Patient eligibility checks
- Patient portal
ZOC DOC: Platform for patients to find doctors in their network
- Search my location
- Search by insurance carrier & plan
- Search by medical professional
- Live chat
- Video visit to help with immediate medical issues, routine needs, prescriptions, referrals, etc.
- Reviews by patients
- Mobile app available
Telehealth Resource Center
Technology is an integral part of our everyday lives. Telehealth is no exception with its many facets that can help grow your business to the next level. Consider introducing (or expanding) telehealth within your practice to create efficiency, reduce costs and expenses and expanding your reach to a wider patient base while providing a flexible alternative to eyecare access for your patients.