Although optometrists have traditionally been apprehensive to adopt telemedicine or deliver remote diagnoses, the current shelter-in-place precautions call for healthcare providers to adapt. If you have established patients with red eyes or injuries during this time, what options do you have besides remote care? However, beginning to administer patient care while you and your staff work from home takes planning and the right tools.
From billing codes to workflow changes, we want to show you how telehealth could be incorporated into your practice either for the short or long term.
How to Implement Telemedicine in Optometry
Telemedicine allows optometrists to talk to patients through phone calls, e-visits, virtual check-ins, and video chats. However, comprehensive telehealth involves at least a 2-way video call with the patient, pre-screening tests or information from the patient, and any other patient information that can be sent through a digital patient portal that is HIPAA compliant. You can refer to the Medicare website for laws and protocols on telehealth originating sites and coding under the new relaxed wavier.
It's important to note that servicing patients remotely means new HCPCS codes to enter during exams and procedures for your staff. Make sure your staff is on board with a strong internet connection and you might consider having one person in your practice at all times to handle emergencies.
That being said, teleoptometry does seem to have benefits for practices as an alternative for patient care during times of need. Not only does digital optometry reduce the need for paper records, but it also makes appointments and education accessible to any patient with an internet or phone connection. Cloud-based EHR and practice management software allows ODs to look at reports, conduct video conferencing, and communicate with patients through a portal remotely.
With the correct software, your workflow can run smoothly after the initial setup. If remote work would help the community you live in and the success of your practice, it's worth creating a separate check-in to check-out process for these patients.
Download our quick reference PDF on telehealth billing and watch our webinar below. We're here to support you no matter what.