Telehealth 101 – Technology Requirements
Technology is at the core of telehealth so here we provide an overview of the various ways you can connect with your patients to provide virtual care.
Asynchronous audio and video communication between provider, patient, caregivers, and or interpreters.
Example: Provider uses technology product to conduct a telehealth visit with patient using video and audio capabilities.
Has the same reimbursement for in-person codes, can include risk adjustment and the ability to do transitional care management.
Asynchronous audio communication between provider, patient, caregivers, and or interpreters.
Example: Provider uses technology product to conduct a telehealth visit with patient using audio only.
Providers monitor patients’ health data from a far, usually while the patient is at their own home.
Example: Patient has a heart monitoring device which tracks the patient’s condition and shares relevant data with provider.
Provider connects with a patient over video, phone, or patient portal to see whether they need to have an office visit. The patient must initiate the contact for the practice to bill and cannot be billed if an in-person or telehealth service occurred in the past 7 days, in the next 24 hours or soonest appointment available.
Example: Patient is feeling ill and calls the office to see if they are contagious to others and/or needs to be seen by the provider.
State laws and regulations determine which providers may perform telehealth in that state.
As a general matter, any provider participating in telehealth must be licensed to practice in the state where the patient is located. However, on March 18, 2020 it was announced that HHS would issue a regulation to permit doctors to practice across state lines. Given that regulations are quickly changing, it is recommended that if a provider is seeing a patient who lives out of state, that they notify the patient if they are not licensed to practice in the state where the patient is located.
For “audio-only” visits, a patient will need to have access to a phone, tablet, laptop, or desktop with either an internet connection or cellular service.
For “audio and video” visits, a patient will need to have access to a phone, tablet, laptop, or desktop with either an internet connection or cellular service and a camera to be installed on one of these devices.
If the patient feels comfortable, it may be advisable to ask the patient to invite a family member or friend to the visit to assist them if needed.
It may be advisable to have patients gather and/or purchase a home scale, BP blood pressure cuff and/or glucose monitor as appropriate.