During the COVID-19 public health emergency, the federal government has encouraged healthcare providers to use telehealth to see patients via virtual appointments. Of course, potential uses of telehealth, which includes video visits, phone calls, online communication, and electronically storing patient data, extends well beyond COVID-19 services. Telehealth has proven successful in reducing costs, improving outcomes, and bringing more advanced care to underserved patients, while simultaneously reducing the workload of healthcare professionals. But how to become a telehealth provider remains a mystery for some clinicians.

In a recent article for GlobalMed, “How To Become a Telehealth Provider,” eight steps are outlined.

  1. Know your options. Integrated and interactive devices can help deliver an evidence-based consultation and securely transmit medical information, including lab results, X-rays, videos, or MRIs for evaluation.
  2. Develop a strategy. Be clear about setting goals before utilizing a third-party direct-to-consumer (DTC) app or purchasing a video solution.
  3. Understand reimbursement and licensing basics. Medicare, Medicaid, and commercial plans all have different reimbursement policies for telemedicine services, so it’s important to find out about relevant federal and state regulations and then talk to participating healthcare plans for additional clarity.
  4. Talk to your IT team. It’s important to understand how incorporating a telehealth program will interface with your existing communication networks, how virtual encounters will be captured and stored, and how the solution will integrate with EHR and post-acute care systems.
  5. Evaluate telemedicine solutions. While there are many DTC apps to all-in-one platforms, not all telehealth options will meet your specific program’s requirements.
  6. Do test runs. Practice makes perfect, and test sessions can help staff learn how to handle many different clinical situations that may arise, enabling them to feel more comfortable before interacting with patients.
  7. Educate your patients. There’s no way of knowing a patient’s knowledge of or comfort level with telehealth technology, so the more information provided in advance, including communicating with elderly or disabled patient caregivers, the potentially smoother the transition.
  8. Keep educating yourself. Technology, as with medicine, continues to evolve, so self-education and remaining connected to industry resources are key to staying ahead of the curve.

With the telehealth market size projected to reach nearly $560 billion by 2027 and a compound annual growth rate of 25.2%, now is a great time to implement or grow a telehea