This is Part III of our series on recent developments in telehealth. If you want to catch up, check out Part 1: Telehealth 101 and Part 2: What's New. Today we’ll address a few telehealth best practices to ensure the best possible experience for both you and your clients.
Eligibility and Claims
When you're planning to see a patient via a telehealth platform, it's important to perform an accurate eligibility check. Luckily, Healthy Bytes can help with that! It's also a good idea to brush up on the use of CPT codes for telehealth and how to file telehealth claims. Don't worry, though, because Healthy Bytes can handle those tricky modifiers and codes for you.
The most important factor in platform selection for telehealth for nutritional counseling is encryption. HIPAA applies to telehealth appointments just like any other patient interaction. Though it may be tempting to use a popular video conferencing platform like Skype or FaceTime, these are not properly or adequately encrypted to protect patient privacy.
Healthy Bytes does not endorse the use of any particular platform.
Location, Location, Location
Your physical location at the time of a telehealth appointment matters. Often, this is referred to as the "originating location," and it may impact whether or not your claim is approved! Your office should be fine, whether that's in a private practice or a facility. Sadly, though, you can't make a call from the beach!
Setting the Stage
Some people are certainly more adept at using technology than others, and we want to limit the impact that technical issues will have on your ability to 'meet' patients. While you can't control where patients are at the time of your appointment, you can take steps when setting the stage to help facilitate a positive and efficient call. Make sure you familiarize yourself with the platform you selected before the appointment. Ensure your internet is stable, your originating location is quiet and well lit, and that your camera and microphone are working properly. Grainy video or garbled sound can result in a poor experience, both for you and the patient. If you can, try to initiate a call a few moments early to deal with technical issues on both ends before diving into the appointment.
It also may be a good idea to provide a tip sheet for your patients with similar points to those discussed here. For more telehealth tips, click here.