Will Telemedicine Survive COVID-19
Care providers for post-acute, long-term and nursing facilities are maintaining a connection with their patients while relaxed government regulations are enabling reimbursements and interstate licensing. Telemedicine is quickly growing in both the physical and mental aspects of health. The recently released guidance from the US Food and Drug Administration stated “In the context of the COVID-19 public health emergency, the use of digital health technologies, including software as a medical device or other digital therapeutics solutions, may improve mental health and well-being of patients with psychiatric conditions during periods of shelter-in-place, isolation, and quarantine,”
During this health crisis telemedicine has been shown to be an effective tool for practitioners and facilities, but what will the future bring for telehealth?
The current relaxed Medicare restrictions on telehealth in long-term post-acute practices and any available funding are only applicable while the emergency is in place. Telemedicine is proving it’s worth and we firmly believe that it is here to stay but in time, the state of emergency will pass, and it is likely that some form of Medicare restrictions will return.
One predication we would venture to make is that an emphasis on security and HIPAA compliance will return and continue to grow.
We will most likely see the relaxed conditions that allow free video chat software like FaceTime to be used for medical purposes to come to an end. Practices that are early adopters and that establish their services with dedicated platforms that integrate with their billing and recording systems will find themselves at an advantage over those applying patchwork solutions to their business.
We can also foresee virtual check-ins continuing to grow and becoming the norm. These virtual visits are going to be empowered as connected medical devices gain traction.
For example, developers and researchers at Curtin University and The University of Queensland, Australia are exploring an AI powered app that can diagnose respiratory disorders by “listening” to the user’s cough.**
Connected thermometers will relay patient’s temperatures*** and act as an early warning in predicting the flu.
Wearable devices are already tracking heart rates and other patient data.
For telemedicine to be successful, platforms like SNFConnect from TheSNFist™ Suite must be integrated into a long-term strategy. One that connects the patient, the practitioner and the facility beyond the pandemic and into the future.
To get your post-acute practice started with telemedicine contact us below.