By Nick Hernandez
Many practices are hearing about telemedicine and becoming increasingly interested in how such a program could be implemented in their operations. Physicians want to start a program quickly. Practice managers don’t want to learn by trial and error.
The biggest issue I see by far is that practices immediately focus on the technology. This often leads to two problems: they either become overwhelmed by the plethora of options available and end up not pursuing telemedicine, or they choose poorly and the technology quickly becomes unused. Consequently, I tell clients to ignore the technology that is available for starters. There are many more important things to consider in order to have a successful program, and you will then be less likely to overspend or purchase equipment you don’t need or can’t use.
Here are four items practices should carefully weigh before jumping into telemedicine by purchasing technology first.
1. Legal requirements
Because of the way telemedicine adoption is currently happening in the United States, practices must look into a host of legal requirements, especially as the requirements pertain to applicable state law. Although there are some exceptions, physicians usually must be licensed in the state where the treatment or diagnosis is being provided. Many malpractice insurers will now cover telemedicine, but that conversation must be had with your particular carrier so they can look at the various risks involved. As with other areas of healthcare, privacy, consent, and regulatory compliance must be thoroughly evaluated by a healthcare attorney. Additionally, I would strongly suggest that your proposed program be reviewed by a telemedicine consultant and healthcare attorney to ensure it is vetted for potential fraud and abuse. [Read more…]