Many digestive disease medication adjustments can be done remotely. Telemedicine allows gastroenterologists to easily monitor complex medication regimens and offer support for compliance or side-effects.
Significant dietary restrictions require frequent patient check-ins. When done through video visits, it is easy to maintain ongoing patient counseling and responsively manage complications.
When reviewing sensitive material like abnormal lab results, patients prefer a face-to-face interaction with their gastroenterologist. Secure video visits maintain personalized care without inconveniencing patients.
Complicated cases of Crohn’s disease require frequent follow-up. When combining the use of corticosteroids and immunomodulators, gastroenterologists must keep a close eye on blood counts and renal and liver function tests. Making quick med adjustments in response to side-effects or flares can easily be accomplished through video-based telemedicine.
The antivirals prescribed to treat Hepatitis C can have serious side effects, causing many patients to simply discontinue treatment. Scheduling monthly telemedicine check-ins make sure patients are adhering to treatment plans and managing side effects effectively.
Most gastroenterologists treat patients suffering from Chronic pancreatitis by managing enzyme supplements, offering diet counseling and prescribing pain medications. All of these services, including the discussion of blood and stool test results, are ideal services to be rendered over video-based telemedicine.
Missed appointments, failure to adhere to treatment plans and infrequent visits all contribute to negative patient outcomes. By offering convenient telemedicine appointments, patients are more easily able to stay engaged with their treatment, while doctors can be confident continuity of care is being maintained.
Even if you have a modern office filled with televisions and endless magazines, parents and busy professionals are always going to prefer not having to sit in a crowded waiting room. They’ll appreciate the option to see their doctor from home or the office.
The thought of traveling long distances or sitting in traffic often discourages patients from following up appropriately with their doctor. Because of the relative scarcity of specialists such as gastroenterologists, many patients spend a few hours driving to see their doctor. Remote appointments decrease no-shows and reduce the burden on patients who would otherwise spend an entire day going to see their doctor.
Will my patients feel they’re receiving the same quality of care via telemedicine as they do in-person?
Studies show that 97% of patients who are seen remotely by their gastroenterologist feel they receive the same quality of care as an in-person visit.
Even patients who are not technically savvy find telemedicine simple. Basically, anyone with a smartphone or computer and is willing to receive remote care is qualified. The rest is up to their gastroenterologist!
Each state decides if they want to mandate reimbursement for telemedicine visits. If you’re among the 26 states that do mandate it, you’ll be reimbursed at the same level as an in-person visit. (Check our state map to see if you live in a state with a parity law.)
Because patient information is being exchanged, telemedicine software is required to be HIPAA-compliant. To find out more about purchasing telemedicine software, reference the next section, “Finding the best telemedicine software.”
The two terms are essentially the same as far as gastroenterologists and other practitioners are concerned. Certain states differentiate between the two in the legislation, but the distinctions don’t influence the regulations around practicing telemedicine or telehealth.
Here’s what to look for if you’re shopping for a telehealth solution
In order to be reimbursed for telehealth services, the remote interaction must contain real-time audio and video. Additionally, the video quality should reflect that of an in-person interaction and avoid frequent freezes or choppiness.
Because sensitive patient information is being exchanged, any telehealth software you decide to purchase must be secure and HIPAA-compliant. Skype and FaceTime, for example, are unsecure video conferencing platforms and should therefore never be used for patient appointments.
For record-keeping purposes and in the unlikely event an audit is requested, telemedicine software needs to provide a record of every interaction, including patient, payer and provider details.
Even if telemedicine reimbursement is mandated by a state, certain insurance plans may still be exempt. Selecting telemedicine software that performs eligibility checks is a great way to lessen the burden on office staff.
The best way to ensure telemedicine software adoption will be simple for you and your staff is to find a product that integrates directly with your existing EHR.
Every state has specific regulations surrounding the practice of telemedicine. By finding a product that offers compliance support, doctors don’t have to worry about researching their state’s telehealth regulations.