4 Tips for Taking your Practice Remote
by Paula Carper Corporate Trainer, Paula@gxsciences.com
GX Sciences has partnered with UBERDOC to help our providers connect with their patients but that is only one part of the equation. Here are some great tips to keep in mind:
The world has changed. In our personal lives and in our professions, many of us are being asked to make changes that are unprecedented. While change can be challenging, we are all in this together, and at GX Sciences, we are here to support you. Healthcare workers in hospitals, first responders, and primary care providers are experiencing the challenges of dealing directly with COVID 19 but not all healthcare providers are seeing a surge in patients during this time.
Many providers practicing functional medicine, integrative medicine or nutrition, operate practices that support and help patients with chronic conditions, and even wellness patients. At GX Sciences, we understand that the important work of addressing the root cause of your patient’s chronic conditions must continue, even during this time.
While some of you may practice in-person and using telehealth for patient visits, we are aware that many of our providers see their patients primarily in-person. During this pandemic, many of you are experiencing cancellations and mandates that could impact your practice if you don’t make the shift to telehealth or telemedicine.
With emergency changes to legislation around telehealth, some of you who accept insurance and Medicare are now able to provide telehealth without the previous restrictions. For those of you who are cash pay, telehealth has the potential to change your practice dramatically during this time as well. If you are considered a covered entity, you will want to go here to find out more. The AAFP also has a great resource here.
There are a few basics that you will need to assure that you can provide the best telehealth experience for you, your staff and your patients and we thought we would share them with you. Many of you will already be using some of these tools in your practice but ensuring that you are able to integrate them for a seamless telehealth experience could mean the difference between continued care for your patients and disruption of services.
Let’s look at the essential resources you will need to provide telehealth to your patients during this pandemic…
Email Marketing/Communication- You will want to make sure to communicate with your patients that you are providing telehealth services during this time in order to support them with continued care and as an effort to help them with social distancing. Remind them that “their health is your business”.
If you don’t already have a way to broadcast emails to your patients, you may want to consider choosing an email service provider to help you do this immediately. Some easy to use email service providers include Constant Contact, Convert Kit and MailChimp.
Many of you will have EHR’s that have email service capabilities, don’t neglect the importance of this tool during this time for keeping in touch with your audience and offering tools and resources to them that can help them during this time. You are in a unique position to lead them to health during this time.
Non-Public Facing Video/Audio Conferencing- There are many EHR platforms that have integrated HIPAA compliant versions of these tools for providers. If you have one and have not been using it, now is the time to get your staff and yourself familiar with it through the tutorials and support that your EHR service provides.
For those of you who do not already have this capability, you will want to explore some of the simple options that are available. Since much of the patient information you will be discussing over a video conference or phone call is sensitive, you will want to assure you, patients, their information is protected.
Stand-alone video conferencing tools are available through many companies that provide online meeting platforms, and many of these same companies also have integrations with EHR platforms as well. If you aren’t sure if your EHR offers this integration, reach out to them and ask. They may already offer it with your current EHR or they may be able to add it on for a minimal fee.
In the event you have an EHR that does NOT offer this service, you can simply reach out to companies like Vsee or Zoom to set up an account. Vsee is optimized for areas of poor internet service so it’s good for clients overseas or in rural areas. While the government has lifted restrictions on HIPAA requirements for telehealth, you will want to make sure that you notify your patients of the security of their information if you choose to “act in good faith” and use a service that is not HIPAA compliant.
You may also choose to set up phone calls directly to your patients, but this is not recommended and not likely to be a reimbursable service for an initial consultation with a new patient. This type of service is commonly used by many providers for non-acute follow-up visits.
Whether you use phone or video conferencing to visit with your patients during this time, you can continue to use your EHR as usual to document your visit activity.
Payment Gateways- You may be set up to take payment in your office, but are you ready to receive payment remotely? If you are going to begin offering telehealth visits, you will need to make sure that you have a way to accept payment for your services via an online payment gateway.
Whether you are producing Superbills with your current EHR or not, you will want to have a way to accept payment once you have invoiced your patients. If your EHR is not set up for remote payment, you will need a way to do this. Again, check with your EHR to see if they offer this service.
Keep it simple. UBERDOC can help.
Intake Forms, Document Signing, and Sharing- While much of the restrictions of telehealth have been lifted during this pandemic, practitioners will still require important information to be gathered and kept secure during and after this event. Having a way for patients to complete intake forms, share medical information, sign consent forms and even receive information will require having a way to do this remotely.
If you are already set up for this, congratulations, but if you are not, you will want to do this quickly. Like with the other resources and tools you might use, there are many ways to share information remotely. Being able to do this quickly and easily will keep your patients engaged in their care and make them feel cared for and avoid overburdening them during this time.
If you don’t want to spend a lot of money on setting up this kind of thing, you can share educational information and forms via Dropbox, or Google Docs since this is not sensitive information. You can also use email by setting up a BAA with your email service provider and simply send and receive sensitive information via email. E-signature tools can also be useful for electronically obtaining signatures for consent and other forms. DocuSign, Eversign, and Sign Now offers free versions, just to name a few.
Most practices requiring this type of file sharing should consider an all-in-one HIPAA compliant cloud-based software that includes these features as well as the others we’ve discussed. If you don’t have this type of software for your practice, now is the time to do this. Numerous software developers have created practitioner software solutions over the past few years to suit small, medium and large healthcare business models. The competition has caused the price of many of these to come down significantly, even if you have a smaller sized practice, it can be affordable.
Having these key tools for your practice in one place can not only help you to provide telehealth services now, but it could allow you to expand your practice in the future. An all-in-one cloud-based software is ideal, but you may not have the time to implement something like this right now. Focusing on the most important pieces that allow you to host an appointment with your patient, share information, and accept payment will help you to continue to provide your patients with the quality care they deserve.
Personalized medicine as science and business: GX Sciences™ and remote sampling technology
What The Heck Is Methylation....Everybody's Talking About It?
By Radhia Gleis, Wellness Director
The Future Is Here With Nutrigenomic Testing
By Radhia Gleis, Wellness Director