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Telemedicine for Primary Care

It’s no secret that Primary Care practices spend a lot amount of time following up with patients. Asking patients to come into the office for follow-ups is inconvenient, but phone calls to patients aren’t reimbursable. For appointments that don’t require a physical examination, offering telemedicine solves this dilemma!

Telemedicine services provided by PCPs

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Provide ongoing care

For patients suffering from chronic conditions like diabetes, hypertension, or heart disease, telehealth helps keep patients better engaged in their care. PCPs are able to monitor symptom progression, adjust medications, and modify treatment plans without asking patients to return to the office.

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Offer counseling services

PCPs dedicate a lot of time and energy to mapping out self-care plans for managing depression, weight loss, and smoking cessation. Telemedicine allows physicians to conveniently check in with patients, provide counseling, and ensure treatment plans are still working well.

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Review screenings and lab results

Providers order multiple lab tests and screenings each day, whether it be CBCs, blood glucose levels, or other tests. For abnormal lab results, remote video allows PCPs to discuss results with their patients face-to-face without losing money on follow-up phone calls.

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Manage medications

Whether it’s birth control, blood pressure medication, or antidepressants, remote video appointments are an ideal solution for adjusting patient medications. It’s more efficient for both patients and providers without sacrificing physician reimbursement.

Clinical use cases for Primary Care Providers using telehealth

Chronic condition management

Chronic condition patients often require multiple physician office visits each year. These are patients who have regimented treatment plans that are frequently adjusted and must be closely monitored by an existing provider. For patients with chronic conditions, video-based follow-up appointments often involve medication adjustments, monitoring of side effects, lab/imaging result reviews, and overall treatment plan management.

Chronic conditions commonly managed through telemedicine include:

  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Cardiac arrhythmia
  • End stage renal disease
  • Hepatitis
  • Asthma / COPD
  • Obesity
  • Oncologic co-morbidities
  • Neurodegenerative diseases

 

Wellness exam follow-up

Patients who receive yearly wellness exams are prime candidates for telemedicine follow-ups. While the wellness exam itself requires a head-to-toe physical exam, following up on blood work and other screenings is ideal for a remote telemedicine visit. These remote visits also give providers the opportunity to discuss how the patient can make smart lifestyle decisions in order to improve overall health – which is especially important when abnormal results are found.

Common wellness screenings ideal for telemedicine follow-up include:

  • Colonoscopy / sigmoidoscopy results
  • Mammogram results
  • Cholesterol levels
  • STD testing
  • CBC results
  • Blood glucose levels
  • Liver function testing
  • Pap smear results
  • Blood electrolytes

 

Minor urgent care

Patients with a broad range of minor urgent care issues are increasingly turning to telemedicine for convenient access to healthcare providers from home. Chiron Health enables these patients to receive care from their existing providers, ensuring full access to their medical records and providing continuity that is not possible with urgent care centers and on-demand telehealth services.

Common urgent care issues evaluated over telemedicine include:

  • Cold and flu
  • Allergies
  • Sinus/ear infections
  • Sore throat
  • UTIs
  • Diarrhea and vomiting

The benefits of telemedicine for your patients

Easy access to care drives engagement

Frequent missed appointments and failure to adhere to treatment plans are among a few things that hurt the long-term health of patients. By making access to care less of a burden, patients become more engaged in their treatment plans. This has long-term benefits for patients, their families, and the healthcare system as a whole.

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Staying out of the waiting room

Even if you have a modern office equipped with televisions and trendy magazines, busy parents and business professionals still prefer to avoid waiting rooms. They’ll appreciate the option to take the appointment from their home or office.

No messing with traffic or parking

For parents and busy professionals, the hassle of battling traffic and finding parking is a huge barrier to seeing the doctor. Remote appointments make accessing care easy, giving them one less thing to worry about.

Patients are asking for remote care

98-percent

of patients rate their Chiron Health
telemedicine experience good or excellent.

95-percent

of patients feel they received the same quality care
over telemedicine as they do in person.

FAQs about telemedicine in Primary Care

Telemedicine reimbursement mandates for private payers are determined by state legislation. If you practice in one of the 26 states with a parity law, you’ll be reimbursed in a similar manner to in-person visits (check out our private payer reimbursement page for more info).

Yes, but only if you are using a fully encrypted platform and have a Business Associate Agreement (BAA) signed with your vendor. See the following section to further guide your telemedicine software buying process.

We’ve found that even older patients are able to use the technology without much trouble. Now that a lot of older folks are using Facebook and Skype to communicate with their grandchildren, the technology barrier is quickly fading! However, it is ultimately up to the discretion of the provider to determine which patients telehealth is appropriate for.

Our patient satisfaction survey has found that 95% of patients who are seen through remote video by their PCPs feel they receive the same quality of care as they do during in-person visits.

There is no real difference – the terms are interchangeable. As a Primary Care Provider offering remote care, either term is fine to use when discussing this solution with your patients.

The best telemedicine software for Primary Care Physicians

Our handy buyer’s guide for telemedicine solutions

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Real-time face-to-face interaction

The preferred method of telemedicine care delivery is real-time video and audio. This is also a requirement for reimbursement. Additionally, the video software you select should reflect similar visual quality to in-person interactions, avoiding frequent freezes or poor visibility.

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Fully HIPAA-compliant

All telehealth software must be secure and HIPAA-compliant, because sensitive patient information is being exchanged. Software like Skype and FaceTime, for example, are not HIPAA-compliant and should never be used for patient encounters.

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Appointment logs

Simply for record keeping and on the off-chance you are audited, select telemedicine software that provides a thread of every interaction. This audit trail, combined with thorough clinical documentation in your EHR, is a telemedicine best practice.

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Eligibility checking for patients

Even in states where private payer reimbursement is mandated, certain insurance plans may fall under an exception. By finding telemedicine software that can check patient eligibility for specifically for telemedicine, reimbursement complications are minimized.

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Seamless EHR integration

Any telemedicine software should fit seamlessly into your existing practice workflow. The best way to ensure this is to select a product that integrates directly with your electronic health record and practice management system.

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Legal and regulatory support

Telemedicine is heavily regulated. And these regulations vary state by state and are changing rapidly. In order to adhere to these laws and industry best practices, it’s important to find a telemedicine platform that offers comprehensive legal and regulatory support.

See how telemedicine is transforming Primary Care

Join the thousands of physicians on the leading edge of follow-up care.

 

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