Telehealth, once thought to be a temporary alternative to in-person care, is revealing itself as a viable solution to address access to care issues. Telehealth has become instrumental in opening opportunities for Nurse Practitioners to expand their presence in their communities. While not a complete care solution, telehealth is a tool that compliments the nursing model well.
What Is Telehealth?
Telehealth, simply stated, is using technology to care for your patient that is not physically in front of you in the traditional ways. While seemingly simple, the definition and scope of telehealth is complex and you should understand the federal, payer, and NP rules and regulations for your state.
Rapid Telehealth Growth Due to The Pandemic
Telehealth growth was remarkably quick during the early days of the Covid pandemic. Those that were skeptical initially found themselves using the telehealth visits out of necessity, safety, and compassion. The adaptation to the technology was immediate and successful for many Nurse Practitioners. Creative and innovative processes became a new norm in the comprehensive care of both the chronically and acutely ill patients. Once adapted, telehealth has become a virtual exam room that expands access to truly meet the patient where they are when they need care.
It is still unclear whether the temporary telehealth restriction release will become permanent, but for now telehealth remains a viable alternative for many patient visits. Nurse Practitioners should monitor the telehealth policy and payer compliance requirements, use appropriate codes for claims, and document the visits completely, timely, and appropriately. Each payer within each state may have different requirements. The Nurse Practitioner using telehealth should be fully aware of the circumstances around telehealth for their practice.
While the growth of telehealth has been valuable for patient care during an unprecedented time, the Nurse Practitioner should establish clear plans and procedures for patients needs that are not conducive to telehealth, for emergency care, and for alternative care for conditions that require physical examination that cannot be done remotely.
Telehealth Benefits to Nurse Practitioners: Setting Up Your Telehealth System
A properly implemented and fully optimized telehealth system can:
- Open access to see patients who either can’t come to the office or are potentially contagious in quarantine
- Offer convenience to patients who are on-the-go
- Provide the ability to send electronic orders and scripts during the virtual visit
NP Advantage Can Help
Our consultants are ready to help you expand care beyond the office with nurse practitioner telehealth services. NP Advantage experts are eager to assist as you expand your community’s access to quality care. We will guide you through telehealth setup and train staff on best practices.