Shareef Mahdavi helps doctors be smarter when it comes to their practice.  His blog covers financial, customer and technology topics.

BLOG: Telemedicine — its time has arrived

Note: This is the first in a series of blog posts addressing the immediate needs of practices given the COVID-19 situation.

Doctor-patient communication is undergoing a radical change at this very moment.

As you likely know, CMS has expanded use of telehealth during the COVID-19 crisis in order to reduce patient travel. CPT codes and reimbursement schedules are in place, as recently described in a published document by Corcoran Consulting Group.

Every practice can now “see” patients virtually and receive compensation. Some practices are using FaceTime and Skype; this reactive approach is fine for the time being, but proactive practices should begin looking into a HIPAA-compatible solution that will provide value today as well as in the future.

Here’s a checklist of what you should be looking for as you explore options:

  • Simple to set up
  • User-friendly for both your staff and your patients
  • Capable of video conferencing
  • Text messaging with individual patients
  • Referral management with other doctors and their practices
  • Broadcast messaging to all patients in one platform

Every crisis presents opportunity, and this is no different here. Regulatory agencies are now catching up with technology that can make communication with your patients easier, faster and pretty darn effective. The genie is out of the bottle, so to speak. I don’t think we will want to return to the old way of doing things that required a patient’s physical presence in order to qualify for reimbursement.

In my view, that’s a better experience for patients and for you and your team.

Next week we will cover cashflow analysis — another urgent need for many doctors.

Stay well and stay safe!


Disclosure: As president of SM2 Strategic, Mahdavi can be reached via his firm’s website or office 925-425-9900.

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