How the Coronavirus Has Created A Demand for Telemedicine Physicians
Should I visit a doctor’s office?
This question has taken on a whole new meaning as the public navigates facing social distancing orders to stem the spread of the coronavirus. The good news is that many patients can see a physician without leaving the comfort of their homes.
Health officials, insurance companies and hospitals are advocating for people to avoid the doctor’s office and opt to use telemedicine for minor problems.
Getting health care by phone or video conferencing has been around for several decades, but the outbreak of coronavirus has led to an increase in physicians searching for telemedicine licensing requirements as never seen before, according to health systems and provider groups across the country.
The COVID-19 pandemic has abruptly changed the healthcare landscape. Practices all across the country are hastily setting up video links, introducing universal remote triage and discovering ways for staff to work from home while they practice social distancing.
Millions of Americans are seeking care by connecting with a doctor electronically, many for the first time in order to reduce the spread of the disease and protect health workers.
What kind of services are provided?
Real-time telemedicine is when patients and providers use video conferencing to see and hear each other, in lieu of a trip to a doctor’s office for certain situations. This means patients are able to meet with their doctor without having to be physically present. Real-time telemedicine helps to improve a patient’s health by permitting a two-way, real time interactive communication between the patient, and the physician or practitioner at the distant site. It is popular for primary care, urgent care, follow-up visits, and the management of medications and chronic illness.
People are busy and don’t want to take time out of their day to drive to a doctor or therapist’s office unless they absolutely have to, so this technological advancement is long overdue for some. These virtual doctor visits deliver a convenient way for patients to see their physician without having the hassle of drive time, finding childcare for their kids, or having to take time off from work.
What is Store-and-Forward Telemedicine?
Sometimes called asynchronous telemedicine, store-and-forward telemedicine ensures safety, the ability to store necessary medical records, and connectivity. It enables healthcare providers to forward and share patient medical data with a provider at a different location. This data can include lab results, images, videos, and records. The information is stored in a sophisticated, secure, email platform.The privacy of the patient is kept intact as it is shared online. This ensures safety, the ability to store necessary medical records, and connectivity. In an emergency, a personal health record can quickly give emergency personnel vital information, such as current diagnoses, medications, drug allergies and your doctor’s contact information.
What is Remote Patient Monitoring?
Telemedicine monitoring is ideal for doctors or health care teams to pay close attention to those at home with chronic disease and for elderly patients. Utilizing their mobile medical devices that collect blood sugar levels, blood pressure or other vital signs, makes it possible for remote caregivers to review the collected data instantly. With the recent growth of wearables and mobile medical devices, this is getting easier for patients to have the right tracking tools at home in order for them to provide accurate results to the healthcare provider. A variety of technologies include:
- Web-based or mobile apps for uploading information, such as blood glucose readings, to your doctor or health care team.
- Devices that measure and wirelessly transmit information, such as blood pressure, blood glucose or lung function.
- Wearable devices that automatically record and transmit information, such as heart rate, blood glucose, gait, posture control, tremors, physical activity or sleep patterns.
- Home monitoring devices for older people or people with dementia that detect changes in normal activities such as falls
Remote patient monitoring makes it easier for patients and physicians to maintain close communication, while recording and transmitting a patient’s medical data automatically, generating a regular report for the physician. In some cases, this medical data is transmitted to a team of health monitoring professionals who are responsible for flagging any warning signs and sending them on to the physician.
Telemedicine not only refers to real-time medical consultations over video, it also includes store-and-forward and remote patient monitoring.
What Equipment is Needed for Real-Time Telemedicine?
All that is needed is a compatible device, internet connection, a microphone, and a webcam. This electronic communication means the use of interactive telecommunications equipment that includes, at a minimum, audio and video equipment.
How is Telemedicine being used during the coronavirus pandemic?
Telehealth physicians can safely check patients for symptoms of possible coronavirus infection, then direct them to testing facilities or to visit an urgent care or emergency room.
By providing direct access to physicians and medical care, telehealth enables patients to stay at home, get evaluated remotely and only if necessary go to a healthcare facility. This reduces the burden on hospitals and health care facilities, so they can focus on highly acute patients while less acute individuals can be managed remotely via telehealth services.
Telehealth physicians are seeing patients for a wide range of symptoms, including those with concerns about coronavirus and those with other acute or chronic concerns who are opting out of in-person care at this time.
How Can this Technology be Beneficial to your Patients?
Virtual consultations allow primary care doctors to get input from specialists when they have questions about a diagnosis or treatment. The primary care doctor sends exam notes, history, test results, X-rays or other images to the specialist to review. The specialist may respond electronically, conduct a virtual appointment, or request a face-to-face meeting. Virtual consultations may prevent unnecessary in-person referrals to a specialist, reduce wait times for specialist input and eliminate unnecessary travel.
“Telemedicine can also allow patients with non-COVID related issues to be able to access medical care without having to travel to a facility.”
What are the Telemedicine Licensing Requirements for Each State?
If you are considering becoming a telemedicine provider, the more states you are licensed to practice in, the better. Obtaining your telemedicine license in multiple states can make you a more versatile physician with access to more competitive job opportunities with a higher salary or hourly rate potential. While some telemedicine companies will assist you during the licensing process, it’s important to understand the steps you will need to take for each state in order to make yourself more valuable as a telemedicine provider during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Each state has a licensing board with their own set of telemedicine license requirements. This can be as simple as providing documentation or as time-intensive as writing essays, taking tests, and conducting interviews in-person. Although the varying processes can be confusing, getting your telemedicine license in multiple states will pay off in the long run for your patients.
The telemedicine licensing professionals at Medical License Pro will work with you to make sure all of your documentation is ready and in the best shape for approval, easing the burden that falls on your shoulders, so can you do what you do best: Focusing on your patients during the coronavirus pandemic
Medical License Pro can assist you with the medical license application process so you can focus on what is most important. Our team of physician licensing experts will handle your telemedicine application quickly and efficiently, reducing your turnaround time by weeks, or even months. For more information, contact the professionals at Medical License Pro today!
The Medical Licensing process can be quite lengthy and difficult if you don’t know what you are doing. Expect to spend numerous hours preparing the application, making the verification requests, following up with your credential holders, and addressing deficiencies on your notices from your State Medical Board, but…
What if someone offered to…
- Determine your license eligibility
- Make all credential verification requests
- Follow up with credential holders
- Handle additional Medical Board requests
- Make your license process incredibly simple!