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Telehealth for Pediatrics

Children younger than 15 years old in the United States make an estimated 71 million office visits annually, which are the leading cause of parents having to miss time from work. The adoption of telemedicine in pediatric practices eliminates the need for many of these visits to be in-person, saving parents the headache and cost of absenteeism, and reducing the time that children are away from school.

Telehealth in Pediatrics

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School Based Telehealth

When children become ill at school, a provider using telehealth technology can can assess the urgency of the case and provide instructions or reassurance to parents, minimizing the disruption of both school and work.

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Chronic Care Management

Conditions necessitating chronic care, including asthma, diabetes, genetic conditions, obesity, congenital cardiac conditions, epilepsy, and mental health disorders, have been shown to be effectively managed via telemedicine.

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Patient Education

The efficacy of telemedicine in patient education via to teach the proper use of asthma medications, for example, has been demonstrated to have high patient satisfaction.

What types of visits can pediatricians conduct with telemedicine?

Exams for routine conditions like colds and other viruses

One of a pediatrician’s most important responsibilities is reassuring parents and providing practical advice when a child is suffering from a cold or other common ailment. A video visit allows the doctor to assess the child remotely, often avoiding an unnecessary trip to the office or urgent care clinic.

 

Medication management

Children who require medicines that must be closely monitored, like those for diabetes or asthma also suffer from too much time away from school. Telemedicine technology enables the careful supervision of these patients without the need to interrupt their education.

 

Mental health treatment

Evidence suggests that patients are highly satisfied with psychiatric counseling delivered via telemedicine. This is true also for children. Diagnoses and treatment can accurately be performed from anywhere, making care more convenient for caregivers and less upsetting for patients.

 

Obesity treatment and prevention

Telemedicine is perfectly suited for lifestyle coaching and monitoring of patients on treatment plans for obesity. Because it allows for minimal disruption, parents can more easily engage in frequent check-ins to insure success.

The benefits of telemedicine for pediatric patients

Benefits for Parents

Telemedicine’s great appeal lies in its ability to overcome the barriers of distance and time to  make access to care more cost effective and convenient. In a pediatric setting, this innovative approach has benefits for parents and children alike. Time away from work is minimized, transportation costs are eliminated, and long term health management can be accomplished without significant disruption of daily living.

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Educational continuity

Every hour of education a child receives is precious. Some absences are unavoidable, but video-visits can keep them to a minimum, allowing children to get the medical care, and the class time that they need.

Reduced exposure

Every time a child visits the pediatrician they risk exposure to illnesses suffered by other patients. While this can’t always be avoided, children who are seen remotely are prevented from sharing germs.

FAQs about telemedicine in pediatrics

Using secure, two-way video and audio communications for pediatrics makes it possible for the practitioner to see more patients or spend more time on each visit. The ease-of-access for parents makes it more likely that they will keep the appointments that they schedule.

Almost everyone with a smartphone, laptop or tablet will be able to easily connect to a telemedicine visit. It is no more complex than using FaceTime or any of the other apps that have become ubiquitous.

Telemedicine reimbursement mandates are determined on a state-by-state basis. Anyone who practices in one of the 26 states that mandates private payer reimbursement will be reimbursed at the same level as an in-person office visit. (Check our state map to see if you live in a state with a parity law.)

Absolutely! Telemedicine is required to be secure and completely HIPAA-compliant.

In the legislation itself, some states differentiate between the two terms. However, people in the industry use the terms interchangeably — they essentially mean the same thing.

Finding the right telemedicine software for your practice

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Real-time audio and video

The most widely used form of telemedicine is real-time audio and video. This is also a requirement for reimbursement in most states. Additionally, the video software should reflect the same quality as in-person interactions. Avoid anything that freezes frequently or provides only blurry/choppy video.

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Fully HIPAA-compliant

Telehealth products must be secure and HIPAA-compliant and fully encrypted. Because sensitive patient information is being exchanged, services like Skype and FaceTime should never be used to see patients.

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Appointment logs

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.

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Patient eligibility checks

Even in states where private-payer reimbursement is mandated, certain plans will be exempt. By finding a telemedicine product that offers telemedicine specific eligibility checks, reimbursement complications are minimized.

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EHR integration

With all of the software pediatricians are being asked to use, make sure a prospective telemedicine platform integrates directly with your EHR. This makes workflows easier on doctors and staff.

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Legal and compliance support

The type of care that can be provided via telemedicine is highly regulated on a state-by-state basis. In order to ensure adherence to legal regulations and best practices, choose a telemedicine platform that offers compliance support for its clients.

See how telemedicine is transforming pediatrics

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