Telemedicine Takes the Lead During COVID-19
We know it’s hard to find a silver lining during the COVID-19 pandemic. But one of the few may be the rise of telemedicine.
With people stuck at home for months now under social distancing orders, the novel coronavirus pandemic has been an accelerator for virtual care. Doctors are retooling their practices out of necessity in order to see patients via teleconferencing, with video visits going from a nice-to-have option to a mainstay of medicine.
Getting health care by phone or video conferencing has been around for quite some time, but the coronavirus outbreak has led to an increase in physicians searching for telemedicine licensing requirements than ever seen before, according to providers and health care systems that span across the country.
Until recently, telehealth was governed by outdated regulatory framework devised in the days of dial-up internet, when lawmakers couldn’t possibly foresee the coming revolution in telehealth and virtual health. Similarly, the healthcare establishment worried doctors couldn’t conduct quality virtual visits.
But that was then, and this is now.
As we navigate the new healthcare landscape of COVID-19, 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 or protect vulnerable loved ones. The good news for most, is they can now see a physician without leaving the comfort of their homes, thanks to modern telehealth capabilities.
It’s widely been said the use of telehealth will reduce costs and improve outcomes for patients everywhere. Insurance companies and regulators have even expanded the number of services available to patients via telemedicine—and made reimbursement for telehealth consultations on par with conventional in-office visits.
How is Telemedicine being used during the coronavirus pandemic?
By providing direct access to physicians and medical care, telehealth enables patients to stay at home and get evaluated remotely and only go to a healthcare facility if deemed necessary. This in turn 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 can also safely check patients remotely if they are showing signs or symptoms of possible coronavirus infection, then direct them to testing facilities or to visit an urgent care or emergency room.
In addition telehealth physicians are now utilizing telehealth for a wide range of services, including those with concerns about coronavirus as well as those with other acute or chronic concerns who are opting out of in-person care at this time.
Real-Time Telemedicine for Wellness Check-ups
Real-time telemedicine allows patients to meet with their doctor for regular wellness checkups, in lieu of a trip to a doctor’s office for certain situations. This means patients are able to meet Real-time telemedicine helps to improve a patient’s health by permitting a two-way, real time interactive communication between the patient, and their physician at a remote site. It is becoming more popular for primary care, urgent care, follow-up visits, and the management of medications and chronic illness.
For otherwise healthy individuals, this is a popular option for those that want to mitigate exposure to COVID-19 unless they absolutely have to go out. 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.
Maintaining this new regulatory approach will allow patients to reap telehealth’s many benefits in the years to come.
Remote Patient Monitoring for at Risk Patients
Telemedicine monitoring is ideal for doctors or health care teams to pay close attention to patients most at risk if they contract COVID-19, such as those with chronic disease or 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.
Telemedicine Can Save Lives: During & After the Pandemic
So what happens when the pandemic is behind us? It is widely believed that by making medical visits more convenient and affordable, telehealth could continue to save lives . There will certainly still be an important gap in care that telemedicine physicians can fill.
For example, people with chronic conditions, physical limitations, and transportation issues, who may have a hard time getting to the doctor.
Nearly 4 million Americans miss a medical appointment every year because of a lack of transportation. The longer these patients go without care, the higher the odds they’ll succumb to a treatable illness.
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 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!
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