According to a June report from the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA), the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted many medical practices that previously did not offer Telehealth services to adopt them. They have done this in order to continue providing care for patients without putting anyone at risk of contracting the virus. The introduction to the report states that “by late March 2020, 97% of healthcare leaders reported expanding telehealth access amid COVID-19.”

In order for this to happen, Congress implemented an accelerated adoption of Telehealth practices; they issued waivers, including allowing beneficiaries to access healthcare from any location, allowing providers to provide care from their homes, granting permission to use phone services (although audio-visual appointments are preferred), and relaxing HIPAA rules to allow use of common technology platforms.

The MGMA report asserts that once adopting Telehealth, medical practices will need to  optimize four critical areas:

  • Marketing and prioritizing care options
  • Pre-visit workflows
  • Technical best practices
  • Documentation and coding/billing

Marketing and Prioritizing Care Options

Effectively communicating the convenience that Telehealth provides for patients will bring more clients to your practice. Though patient volumes dipped 60% in the spring during local stay-at-home orders, this was likely becausepatients were not aware  telehealth was an option. Getting ahead of this barrier through marketing will likely show a favorable ROI.

Pre-Visit Workflows

By ensuring that patient consent for a telehealth appointment has been granted–and that a patient’s device is supported by the vendor’s technical specification–practices can avoid missed appointments. Additional areas to consider are making sure the patient is connected to a reliable WiFi source or in an area with adequate mobile coverage. 

Technical Best Practices

According to an MGMA poll in early June, a significant number of respondents cited “having difficulty understanding the technology and/or facing hurdles related to not having a smartphone.” . Providing as much information to patients before the visit will ensure that appointments occur andt payments canl be collected. 

Documentation and Coding/Billing

Practices without previous Telehealth experience may face challenges around documenting visits and properly coding/billing the appointment. By learning the correct documentation and coding, practices will optimize workflow by avoiding having to re-bill patients, resubmit claims, or retroactively change CPT or HCPCS codes. 

Aspire Healthcare Solutions is your strategic partner in optimizing your revenue cycle management. To learn more about how Aspire can help your practice grow and prosper, call 561-576-6613, or send an email to [email protected]