4 Tips for Launching Telehealth Services

With COVID-19 leading to postponed and cancelled
medical appointments, more consumers are turning to “contactless care”. Recent
figures suggest telehealth adoption has shot up from just 11% in 2019
to 46%
over the course of the pandemic, and some providers
are seeing up to 175
the number of telehealth patients than pre-COVID. As
they grapple with the surge in patient volumes alongside regulatory change,
many are playing catch-up.

For patients, rushed implementation means the
telehealth experience can fall short of expectations. Compared to the easy
one-click services available with online retail and finance platforms,
telehealth can feel clunky and frustrating. Technical issues, not knowing how
to prepare for appointments, and a lack of awareness of available services can
all taint the consumer experience.

Providers looking to launch (or re-launch) a patient-friendly
telehealth service ahead of a possible second wave should aim to check off
these four considerations before rolling it out.

1. Prioritize easy online scheduling for virtual care

Allowing patients to book telehealth appointments when it suits them will help to reduce no-shows and minimize delays. A telehealth platform that integrates with physician calendars and other patient management and record management systems will keep things running smoothly at the operational level, while creating a convenient and secure way for patients to schedule care.

For example,
when Benefis
Health System
implemented Patient
, more than 50% of patients chose to book their appointments out
of normal working hours. Sam Martin, digital developer and web specialist at
Benefis, says:

“If you’re
not allowing your patients to schedule online, you’re behind the times. You can
only benefit from it. We’re seeing the number of online bookings continue to
grow every month, confirming that this solution is working for patients.”

2. Include quick and reliable coverage checks

With the
pandemic and resulting unemployment putting both provider and patient cashflow
under strain, any available commercial or government coverage must be
identified quickly.

should run automated coverage checks to find any missing coverage and select
the right financial pathway for each patient as soon as possible. Not only will
this create a more compassionate patient financial experience, it’ll allow the
collections team to focus their attention on the right accounts and minimize
the risk of write-offs.

Automated Coverage
screens for eligibility
through Medicare, Medicaid or commercial plans, without any collections agency
getting involved.

With this tool, Essentia Health were able to find
coverage for 16,990 accounts that were assumed to be self-pay or uninsured. Kathryn
, Patient Access Director, says:

“This has
helped patients because we’re actually billing their insurance versus billing
them for self-pay. It’s helping staff because they’re billing the insurance
company much quicker. There’s less rework.”

3. Get telehealth claims right first time

Given that
the pandemic may cost hospitals an estimated $200 billion
between March and June 2020, there’s no room for the added financial burden of
claim denials. But as telemedicine expands, so does its regulatory framework. Providers
must keep track of changing payer updates and coding rules so that claims are
submitted right first time.

An automated,
data-driven claims
management tool
can help providers analyze claims with greater confidence and
spot any errors well in advance of submission. Telehealth alerts can be
included as customized edits, to confirm whether the patient’s current plan
includes virtual care. To help providers manage this process, Experian Health
is offering free access to telehealth payer policy alerts through our COVID-19
resource center

4. Protect patient data

As with any
part of the digital patient experience, a multi-layered approach to protecting
sensitive information is a must. Ideally, this will include two-factor patient
identity authentication, device recognition and out-of-wallet checks whenever a
log-in attempt looks suspicious.

Automating this process with a tool such as Precise ID allows providers to integrate multiple data points to check that a
patient is who they say they are, in a way that’s HIPAA-compliant. This makes
it harder for thieves to access patient data, without burdening the patient
with extra checks as they manage their information.

Retaining patient volume and rebuilding revenue through
“contactless” care won’t be possible unless the entire telehealth journey is as
seamless as possible. From scheduling to payment, Experian Health can help you create
a virtual patient experience that’s convenient, secure and reliable. Contact us to find out

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