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The rise in health care costs for consumers has driven them to make different care choices. Some skip seeing a doctor altogether; others order generic drugs rather than the pricier name-brand choices. Some skip follow-up care while others do not go through with a treatment or procedure. And, due to costs, a significant percentage of doctor’s patients ask about alternative treatments or care.


Enter Telemedicine

Telemedicine is not well-defined as it describes an array of technologies. These are used to deliver health, medical, and education services. Nearly a third of patients already utilize mobile devices and computers for diagnostic and medical information. Telemedicine can be considered everything from scheduling an appointment with a doctor on a cellphone to checking Web M.D. for symptom answers. There are problems faced by telemedicine, however.



Receiving reimbursement for telemedicine services can be notoriously tricky. Medicare only offers limited reimbursement coverage for telemedicine, for example. Overcoming payment obstacles can be a challenge. It’s helpful to have a plan that includes the use of technology to track expenses involved in reimbursement claims. Platforms can be employed to keep track of the costs.


Lack of Integration

If an EHR, or Electronic Health Records, system does not coordinate with the telemedicine service platform, workflow records will be complicated. An office needs to use a platform that successfully integrates with the EHR. This will record the established workflow and ensure that the e-visits of patients are documented and updated properly.


Insufficient Data for Care Continuity

When a platform does not integrate smoothly, it can also be an interruption in the continuity of care. A patient that chooses two different service providers for e-visits may find that the second physician lacks all the necessary information from the previous physician to continue care with the best of results.


Lack of Patient Technical Skills

Not all patients are equally technologically inclined. When patients lack an understanding of the usage of telemedicine services, the utilization can be reduced, and the accessibility hampered. Survey patients before attempting telemedicine services with them; ask which devices the patient is most comfortable using. Staff also need to be trained so that they can assist patients where necessary.