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Published On: April 21, 2020 by Blake Schwank

Making Sense of Telehealth Options During the Coronavirus Outbreak

Healthcare Providers Can and Should Make Use of Video Conferencing Software During This Difficult Time, So Here’s How to Make the Most of It…

Over the next few weeks, and perhaps the foreseeable future, people will be staying home more than ever before. Coronavirus has taken hold of the world – spreading at a rapid rate that’s difficult for healthcare providers to stay ahead of. Many individuals who aren’t showing symptoms are staying home, avoiding the doctor, and overall, trying to do their part in slowing the curve so healthcare providers like yours can adequately treat those affected. It’s a difficult time for everyone, especially healthcare providers on the front lines of the pandemic. This is where telehealth options come in handy.

Telehealth Options During the Coronavirus Outbreak Colorado Springs

How Does Telehealth Work?

Telehealth can principally be used as a supplement to the overburdened healthcare system – allowing doctors to see their patients via video conferencing software. When telehealth is taken advantage of, the overall cost for assisting patients is much lower, and in a time like now, the overall risk of seeing patients is diminished. As coronavirus cases continue to rise, telehealth offers the ability to limit exposure while still performing the following on those with symptoms:

  • Initial screening
  • Monitoring
  • Examination
  • Follow-up
  • And more

Besides, telehealth helps healthcare providers treat their patients without coronavirus symptoms who still have medical needs, such as getting a prescription filled.

Looking to Provide Telehealth Services but Not Sure Where to Start in Terms of Compliance with HIPAA? You’re in Luck…

On March 16, 2020, it was announced that telehealth services for Medicare beneficiaries had been expanded. In the past, doctors were able to offer telehealth services to those living in rural areas with no access to facilities. Since the coronavirus outbreak, the rules have changed to make it easier to provide telehealth services to all Medicare beneficiaries, regardless of their location, from a range of settings:

  • Hospital outpatient departments
  • Nursing homes
  • And much more

Medicare will reimburse healthcare providers at the same rate as face-to-face visits. Plus, HIPAA enforcement of noncompliance with specific provisions related to telehealth services have been relaxed.

During the Coronavirus Outbreak, Healthcare Providers Are Permitted to Choose Any Non-Public Facing Remote Communication Product…

On March 17, 2020, The HSS Office for Civil Rights announced that they would be relaxing their stance on HIPAA compliance related to telehealth services in response to the coronavirus outbreak. Any non-public facing remote communication product can be used to work with patients, as long as you’re still implementing reasonable safeguards to protect patient information. So what’s your best choice for communication products that enable the most reliable telehealth services?

Colorado Computer Support recommends choosing a HIPAA-compliant communication product, despite the relaxation of rules relating to telehealth. Once the coronavirus outbreak seems to decline, the HSS Office for Civil Rights will require this again. We’re able to assist with the implementation and ongoing support of a HIPAA-compliant communication product, such as:

  1. Zoom for Healthcare: A reliable option that integrates into your technology and workflows with high-quality video, even in low-bandwidth environments, to keep you connected to your patients.
  2. Skype for Business: A flexible option with advanced call features, such as team calling, automatic routing, and more, to keep you connected internally and with the patients you serve.

If you require something quick and efficient in the meantime, there are various options you can choose. However, they will not be compliant as the coronavirus outbreak starts to slow down:

  • Apple FaceTime
  • Google Hangouts
  • Facebook Messenger Video Chat

The Benefits of Embracing Telehealth Are Clear Now, But What About After the Coronavirus Outbreak Slows Down?

Right now, the benefits of embracing telehealth are clear, but even after the coronavirus outbreak slows down, it merely makes sense to have a HIPAA-compliant communication product to:

  • Reach a more significant number of patients across geographies
  • Minimize the risk of medical errors due to rushed visits
  • Keep waiting lists minimal and serve more individuals.

Zoom for Healthcare and Skype for Business can also greatly benefit the internal operations of any given healthcare organization in terms of:

  • Leveraging team calling to work together and resolve patient issues faster
  • Enabling the automatic routing of incoming calls to work or personal devices
  • Improving communications between remote and onsite clinicians

Get Started with the Right Tools for Telehealth Now. Colorado Computer Support Can Help. Call (719) 204-6507.

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Colorado Computer Support is a local IT company certified and verified service-disabled veteran-owned Small Business. When you use our IT services in Colorado Springs, you can be confident that you are dealing with a Colorado Springs company owned by a disabled veteran and that they will be able to provide you with the best possible IT support.
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