The growth and development of Urgent Care Medicine has been driven by frustration over long waits in the emergency room, and a reduction in available primary care appointments. A growth spurt for the Urgent Care industry began in the mid-1990s and continues today. The public’s desire for immediate access to medical care has fueled this monumental growth. Telemedicine for Urgent Care is the next logical progression, making quick access to treatment even more convenient for consumers.
Clinics devoted solely to the practice of urgent care medicine incorporate telemedicine as a way to reduce costs, increase market share, and generate more revenue per provider.
Primary care offices leverage telehealth technology to extend office hours, making it possible for patients to fill all of their needs within the practice, rather than turning to retail or online only providers.
Respiratory conditions including colds, flus, seasonal allergies and cough are among the most common reasons that patients seek urgent care. In most cases, they can be diagnosed and treated effectively via telemedicine.
Problems that affect the ear, nose and throat such as sinus symptoms, ear ache and sore throat are good candidates for remote video visits.
Hi-definition video capabilities make it possible to diagnose and treat certain skin conditions like, insect bites, rashes and skin infections effectively with telemedicine.
The range of cases that can be addressed with telemedicine is large and includes other complaints such as, conjunctivitis, upset stomach, diarrhea, urinary tract infections, and urgent medication refills.
The nature of Urgent Care appointments amplifies all of the cost and convenience benefits of telemedicine. People seek Urgent Care when unexpected symptoms arise. The lack of opportunity to plan ahead can make transportation and child/elder care issues even more difficult to overcome.
Expanded access to Urgent Care services reduces unnecessary visits to the ER. Every time a visit to the ER can be avoided through the use of telemedicine, both the patient and the healthcare system win.
When a patient visits an Urgent Care center they risk exposure to communicable illness. While this can’t always be avoided, video visits help stop the spread of disease.
Clinics that only provide Urgent Care services are able to increase the number of patients they see each day, usually without adding additional providers. They can increase the efficiency of office staff, shorten wait times and expand the services they offer to new and returning patients.
Primary care practices that add Urgent Care services via telemedicine help protect against increasing competition from stand-alone clinics, retail clinics and online only providers. They are able to offer seamless care to patients, regardless of the type of visit they need.
No. Modern solutions, such as Chiron Health, are easy for providers to learn, implement and integrate with their EHR systems. For patients, the technology is as simple as many of the apps they use on their smartphone, tablet or laptop every day.
Telemedicine reimbursement mandates are determined on a state-by-state basis. Anyone who practices in one of the 32 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.
Yes. Patients with chest pain, unstable vitals, bleeding, trauma or other emergency conditions should not be treated via telemedicine.
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.
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.
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 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.
With all of the software urgent care clinics are being asked to use, make sure a prospective telemedicine platform integrates directly with your EHR. This makes workflows easier on doctors and staff.
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.