A change in law related to the use of telemedicine has prompted some concern over when the technology can be used. However, hospitals and physicians are safe to continue with telehealth services under the COVID-19 public health emergency.
The Joint Commission has expanded the pool of data sources from which an organization may obtain information when privileging telemedicine providers. However, legal experts caution there are risks when depending on others for credentialing information.
Program allows case managers to provide ongoing patient oversight
January 6, 2021
As telemedicine use increases, case management professionals can harness its benefits to improve outcomes and provide a better experience for patients and physicians. COVID-19 played a large part in the increase as providers worked to minimize exposure to the virus. However, many patients still need proper monitoring.
Appreciating the need for more guidance in this area, an international task force comprised of physician-scientists from 10 countries developed consensus-based guidelines to help frontline providers diagnose and triage patients with dizziness over a telehealth or virtual platform.
The use of telemedicine surged from almost nothing to 35% between April and June 2020, but the number of in-person primary care consultations dropped by more than 21% when compared with the volume of such encounters during the second quarter from previous years.
The authors of a recent study quantified the number of medically unnecessary clinical visits for abortion services. They found that more than 31,000 in-person clinic visits would be averted each month if four medically unnecessary state and federal policies were repealed and if 70% of patients received no-test telemedicine abortions.
Risk managers should be wary of the malpractice risks associated with telehealth, according to several experts who say the sudden increase in usage may have introduced insufficiencies that should be assessed now.
EDs are using telehealth for screening visits before arrival or for follow-up re-evaluations on COVID-19-positive patients. It is important to know what can be excluded safely in a telemedicine consult, and what requires urgent and/or emergent in-person follow-up.