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COVID-19 Telehealth Resource Center

Updated September 16, 2020: As healthcare mobilizes during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, more practices are attempting to dramatically ramp up telehealth to provide care and enhance safety. We encourage you to check back on this page regularly for the latest updates.

Telemedicine for Medical Practices During Covid-19

David O. Hester, FASHRM, CPHRM, Director, Department of Patient Safety and Risk Management; Devin O’Brien, Esq., Deputy General Counsel, Vice President, Legal Department

If your practice is among those seeking to ramp up telemedicine visits for patients during the coronavirus pandemic, there’s good news—you’re covered for liability and we can point you to resources to get you started.

As the outbreak spreads, many practices are grappling with declines in patient visits. Virtual visits may give patients and practices alike peace of mind from the worry of the spread of infection. For example, phone use can reduce viral exposure during office visits. Some practices are creating cell-phone waiting areas, instead of gathering patients in their waiting rooms. After patients check in, they wait in their cars with their phones, ready to receive a call saying their provider is ready for them. While not true telehealth, cell-phone waiting shows how practices can use existing technologies to reduce COVID-19 exposure.

While telemedicine has a spectrum of uses, there are two critical channels in which it can play a critical role during the current crisis:

  • It can be an essential tool both in keeping your patients at home, and in reducing the traffic and potential contagion in your offices. Many typical office visits—such as explaining test results and follow-up visits, can be accomplished via telehealth rather than in-person office visits.
  • It can be an invaluable tool in screening potential coronavirus patients, especially with the current limited access to testing. If patients fear they have the virus, you can guide them in a video call through a symptom check—if they are not currently displaying symptoms you can schedule for another video call. If they are exhibiting symptoms and you want to see them in-person, you can schedule them to come at times designated for sick visits and better separate them from patients who need to come in for well visits.

Some practices may not think they are using telemedicine when in fact they already are. Telemedicine encompasses a range of care options, from remote presence technologies that allow specialists to serve patients in rural locations, to simply using a smartphone or landline to talk to a patient.

Some states consider phone consultations to be telemedicine. If a practice is not prepared to implement new technology, it can consider making greater use of phone consultations—especially for established patients—during this time. Whether or not a phone consultation is reimbursable depends entirely on the payer. Generally speaking, visits that involve both audio and video are more likely to be reimbursed. In situations where audio-only visits are reimbursed, physicians should be aware that reimbursements often are higher if both audio and video are used.

Telehealth: Get Started Today

Medical Advantage Group, a member of the TDC Group, helps organizations quickly launch telehealth services and provides support for implementation and training. And they do it all remotely.

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Telehealth Webinars

Telemedicine in the COVID-19 Era

Telehealth, or virtual care, is more popular than ever. The COVID-19 pandemic has seen to that, but what are the patient safety and risk management issues related to virtual visits, and how has the pandemic affected all of this? Get insights from Dr. David Feldman, chief medical officer for The Doctors Company.

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Telehealth Risks, Safety, and Malpractice: Know Before Dialing In!

Dr. David L. Feldman, chief medical officer of The Doctors Company Group, covers risk management basics for telehealth and techniques to overcome barriers, including recent attempts to make it easier for physicians to practice from state to state.

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Liability Risks in Telehealth

Dr. David L. Feldman, chief medical officer of The Doctors Company Group, covers the top telehealth liability risks, keys to informed consent, and AI and automation considerations for virtual care.

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Telehealth Best Practices

Consultants from Medical Advantage Group, a member of The Doctors Company Group, share lessons learned from helping many practices implement virtual visits with the onset of COVID-19.

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Risk Management Strategies for Telehealth

Learn the risk management basics of using telehealth in your medical practice, which is especially important during the COVID-19 emergency. David O. Hester, director, department of patient safety and risk management, SE region, The Doctors Company, presents alongside other experts in this webinar.

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Telemedicine: Frequently Asked Questions

To support the medical profession during this unprecedented time, the following are answers to some frequently asked questions regarding telemedicine.

Additional Resources

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