Telehealth: What's new?

Have you already blended telehealth services into your practice? If yes, your foray into telehealth likely came with plenty of up-front research and a few challenges. But by now, we’re hopeful that you’re feeling rewarded by your decision to incorporate telehealth—you’ve likely expanded your client pool and are providing much-needed nutritional counseling services to those who need your expertise. 

Whether you’re already providing telehealth services or are considering doing so, today we’re sharing a few newsworthy bits with you on the telehealth front. Last week, we introduced this topic, noting that the flux of today’s healthcare landscape keeps us, as healthcare providers, on our toes. Good for you for keeping up with the news and legislation so that you can keep your patients and clients informed.  

Practicing Across State Lines

One question that we hear quite often here at Healthy Bytes is, “Am I able to provide telehealth services across state lines?” It’s a great question. Please give us a call to discuss this with you prior to launching this service—we’re eager to help clarify your state’s regulations! 

Currently, laws and licensing for RDNs in various states can restrict you from openly practicing telehealth across state lines. Fortunately, we’ve learned recently that the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is beginning a review of the “…practicability and implications of pursuing enactment of a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Compact that would enable RDNs and other qualified licensed dietitians to practice in multiple states under a single license.” Cheers to that! 

Other healthcare practitioners have more easily been able to incorporate telemedicine into their practices, but RDNs face challenges in overcoming barriers to entry, namely due to the lack of seamless state licensure laws. Robin Rood, MED, RD, LD addresses this in Food & Nutrition’s Stone Soup blog – see “RDNs and Telemedicine: What Does the Future Hold?” Rood attended the American Telemedicine Association seminar this past fall and noted how there is ample opportunity for RDNs in this space, but it doesn’t come without its various challenges and considerations.  

On a positive note, the Academy hopes to complete initial research by the end of the calendar year; contact the Academy's Policy Initiatives and Advocacy Team with any questions you have about this initiative. Stay tuned!

Growing Telehealth Trends

The telehealth trend will only continue to grow – with everyone from doctors to retail pharmacies now offering telehealth services, our clients have come to expect this convenience. Electronic health platforms are incorporating telehealth functionality within their applications. Healthcare CIOs are prioritizing telehealth in their overall strategic business planning.

Reimbursement is an evolving area as the demand for telehealth services increases, too – the more you're pushing your carrier for telehealth coverage for your clients, the more you’re advancing the field for your peers and opening up payment options for your patients. Read more on the growing popularity of telehealth: Top Ten Tech Trends 2017: Telehealth Reaches the Tipping Point

Please comment: Are you employing telehealth in your private practice? Why or why not?