We’re excited to share the topic and questions for this week’s #HITsm chat happening Friday, 6/5 at Noon ET (9 AM PT). This week’s chat will be hosted by Amanda Hansen (@AmandaSHansen) from @AdvancedMD on the topic of “Ambulatory Telehealth Nuances“.
A few months ago, none of us could have imagined the personal and professional pivots we’d make to sustain a sense of normalcy. Industry wide, healthcare’s collective “about-face” from in-office care delivery to telehealth amid social distancing requirements has been significant. Essential workers and healthcare providers treating COVID-19 patients on the front lines, we salute your heroism.
For many outpatient providers using telehealth for patient evaluation, diagnosis and treatment of both acute and chronic conditions—including mental health support—this transition was unexpected and swift. Workflow had to drastically change in a matter of days or weeks, not months or years. It’s important to see this particular shift as an opportunity. Our industry is using the best of what technology has to offer to remotely deliver vital clinical care services to patients, reduce care gaps, and prevent exposure to the virus. To these ends, system integration and continuity of care are critical.
On the patient side, acceptance is growing: a survey reported that while 25% of consumer respondents had used telehealth prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, 59% said they are more likely to use telehealth services now. The virtual care movement also has support from the U.S. government. HHS waived certain Medicare telehealth payment requirements, and the Federal Communications Commission approved a $200 million telehealth program allowing providers to apply for up to $1 million to help cover associated costs.
As ambulatory practices execute day-to-day operations, practice workflow is evolving and the nuances of virtual care are revealing themselves. Patients may require handholding as they navigate new technology and apps, and both providers and patients are setting expectations for care episodes in the new virtual environment. Administrative needs and functions need to be well integrated into the experience, with a focus on both seamlessness and security. We also seek to understand which specific patients can benefit most from the access and flexibility telehealth brings, and how the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to affect these groups. Overall, healthcare stakeholders are seeking out new insights about how this booming platform is impacting care provision in ambulatory settings.
As we’ve put a pause on many physical interactions in recent months, it’s more important than ever that we stay connected. In this week’s HITsm chat, let’s talk about some of the challenges we face in integrating telehealth solutions into ambulatory practice workflow, and how we can turn them into opportunities to better support patients and benefit practices.
Topics for this week’s #HITsm Chat:
T1: Since social distancing mandates began in March, many practices set up telemedicine solutions in great haste to continue seeing patients. What do you think they may have overlooked in a rush and what can be improved? #HITsm
T2: In what ways can practices make the virtual conversation feel more personal? What’s the biggest thing lacking vs. the in-office experience? #HITsm
T3: What are your ideas for the most efficient way to incorporate administrative functions into the telehealth visit, such as having patients fill out intake forms, billing, and scheduling/managing appointments? Where are the biggest opportunities? #HITsm
T4: How important is it to you that data from remote care episodes be integrated directly into the EHR? What opportunities does seamless integration present? #HITsm
T5: Which types of patients can benefit most from telehealth services in terms of access and flexibility? How do you see the technology changing the management of chronic conditions? #HITsm
Bonus: As social distancing relaxes, do you think we’ll see private practices return back to the same levels of in-office care? How will convenience impact the future of telehealth? #HITsm
Upcoming #HITsm Chat Schedule
6/26 – Communicating with Patients: Best Practice in the Digital World of COVID
Hosted by Leslie Kelly Hall (@lesliekellyhall)
We look forward to learning from the #HITsm community! As always, let us know if you’d like to host a future #HITsm chat or if you know someone you think we should invite to host.
If you’re searching for the latest #HITsm chat, you can always find the latest #HITsm chat and schedule of chats here.