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Telemedicine for Sleep Medicine

Telemedicine is quickly becoming a vital tool for sleep medicine practitioners. It is a cost-effective, convenient, and easy to implement option for reaching and engaging with patients suffering from a variety of sleep related disorders.

Telemedicine Services Provided by Sleep Specialists

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Ongoing Care

For patients suffering from conditions like sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, insomnia, narcolepsy, and other abnormal sleep issues, telehealth makes it easy for them to become more engaged in their own care. Sleep medicine providers can monitor symptom progression without requiring frequent return visits to the office.

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Review Sleep Study Results

Although sleep studies may still most often occur in sleep centers, telemedicine makes it possible to review the results and discuss recommendations through a secure video and audio transmission. This eliminates the cost and hassle of an in-person visit for both the patient and provider.

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Manage Medications and CPAPs

Recent studies show no significant difference in functional outcomes, dropout rates, or CPAP adherence between patients having an in-person physician visit or a remote video encounter. In addition to CPAP management, telemedicine is an easy and effective way to manage patients taking sleep related medications.

What is Sleep Telemedicine?

 

Sleep telemedicine is the practice of utilizing secure audio and video technology to care for patients seeking treatment for sleep disorders. These technologies allow a sleep specialist or technologist to care for patients and get reimbursement without requiring an office visit for every exchange.

By leveraging the high speed internet connections and high definition video capabilities of the devices patients already own, sleep medicine providers are able to perform examinations, review symptoms, prescribe and manage medications, and monitor the use of CPAP devices remotely.

 

 

The Benefits of Telemedicine for Sleep Patients

Easy Access to Care

When transportation problems, concerns about missing work, or child-care related issues prevent sleep patients from keeping appointments, their health outcomes are put in jeopardy. Video visits are an alternative that takes the burden off of patients, freeing them to become more active and involved in their own care.

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Reduced Wait Time for Appointments

Many sleep practices have a large patient load, meaning that patients must frequently wait weeks for an appointment. Telemedicine is an alternative that makes it possible for practices to schedule more visits per day, shortening the time it takes to get each patient on the schedule.

Lower Out of Pocket Expense

When we talk about out of pocket expenses for healthcare, we usually are referring to co-payments and deductibles, but patients experience hidden costs as well. Transportation, parking, time away from work and child care can add up to a significant financial burden. These expenses are eliminated by telemedicine.

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 for Sleep 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. Here is more information about how you can stay HIPAA compliant using telemedicine.

Most people are quite comfortable with telehealth technology because it is not any more difficult to use than the other applications they enjoy every day. Despite the fact that many people have not yet experienced a video doctor visit, in a recent study, the majority of patients (63%) reported being very comfortable or willing to try it.

Our patient satisfaction survey has found that 95% of patients who are seen through remote video feel they receive the same quality of care as they do during in-person visits. In a study specific to CPAP management, participants reported high satisfaction with telemedicine. Remarkably, all of them agreed that the quality and content of their telemedicine visits were comparable to in-person visits.

Technically, there is a difference, but in practice the terms are interchangeable. As a sleep care provider, either term is fine to use when discussing this option with your patients.

The Best Telemedicine Software for Sleep Medicine

Here’s what to look for when evaluating telemedicine technology.

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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 Sleep Care

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