Telehealth is the use of electronic technology and telecommunication for long-distance patient care. It is also commonly known as telemedicine. Over the past decade, technology has greatly affected the healthcare industry as a whole. Telehealth is one of these advancements. It makes patient and provider communication simpler, faster, and more efficient. Healthcare professionals who embrace new technologies can leverage telemedicine to improve patient outcomes, eliminate geographic constraints, and ultimately scale operations.
The growth of telehealth
Telehealth has expanded from simple communication to revolutionizing healthcare businesses globally. It is a major part of the healthcare digital transformation which is happening today. According to the American Medical Association, telehealth insurance claims filings rocketed up 53% from 2016 to 2017—and that was even before coronavirus hit.
Telehealth and COVID-19
The global pandemic has affected the healthcare industry in unprecedented ways. COVID-19 has motivated the country to practice social distancing. As a result, many different types of healthcare providers are reacting to the health crisis by adding telehealth to their list of services. In March the U.S. Federal Government and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced an expansion of telehealth coverage for federally sponsored medical programs. The idea was to increase access to telemedicine and support national efforts to combat COVID-19 by making it easier for people to receive medical care at home.
Telehealth differs from state to state
Rules for using telemedicine vary from state to state. If you are considering telehealth, be sure to research the state rules of both your practice and where your patients reside (if they differ). Paubox hosted an interview with YoDerm (recently renamed Apostrophe ), a popular—and completely virtual—dermatologist consultation service. This company has mastered telehealth because it can virtually diagnose and prescribe personal treatments to patients online. Apostrophe's CEO, Ben Holber, explained that “Essentially there are some states that just straight up do not allow telemedicine.” Next, he added, “there are some states who will only allow telemedicine, but it has to be live video.” “Typically, the way the legal precedent has come to fruition was that medicine and treatment occur where the patient is located, not where the physician is located,” said Holber.
The importance of telehealth
Healthcare providers have been interested in telemedicine for years, even before the global pandemic increased demand. Telehealth makes it possible for doctors to treat their patients more effectively and also increase patient activation and engagement. Telemedicine is the future. It is improving healthcare overall, and many software services complement one another to provide a full-stack solution.
SEE ALSO: Top 5 telehealth Software Services
Telehealth and Paubox Marketing
As you start planning to reopen your practice as stay-at-home orders ease around the country, personalized email marketing is a great tool to consider using to communicate with your patients about changes you have made, such as starting to offer telehealth services.
Paubox Marketing is a great solution for this. It allows you to segment your patients and send HIPAA compliant email marketing messages that include protected health information ( PHI) which arrive directly to the recipient’s email box —no password or portal required.
Telehealth is becoming a vital component to our healthcare system, now more than ever. As the healthcare industry embraces new technology and adapts to COVID-19, telemedicine may be the solution we have all been looking for.