Telemedicine: What it Means and Why it is Important for Our Patients
Currently, news coverage is abundant regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and how it is affecting every area of life. It is becoming clear that while the intensity in the amount of emotional and mental discomfort that has accompanied this pandemic may decrease, life, business, and healthcare may never be the same again. While it is easy to get weighed down by the inconveniences and insecurities regarding these life changes, the age of “social distancing” has also motivated a sense of community, connection, and innovation like never before.
Healthcare services throughout the world have been threatened as nonessential visits and procedures have screeched to a halt. On March 18, 2020, the American Academy of Ophthalmology urged ophthalmologists to immediately halt treatment other than urgent or emergency cases. The treatment recommendation discourages routine office appointments and regular surgeries. Healthcare services have been encouraged to innovate in order to continue providing important patient care. Seemingly overnight, telemedicine has become “mainstream.”
While telehealth has been a buzzword in recent years, this pandemic has shown that any apprehensiveness toward telemedicine was not necessarily about the adequacy of technology, but about the lack of regulatory policies and reimbursement for these visits. As a result of the current pandemic, in the past few weeks, we have seen regulation changes to HIPAA requirements, payor policies, and insurance coverage of telehealth visits. With some of those barriers to telehealth lifted and demand at an all-time high, telemedicine has become an innovative way to address many types of healthcare visits.
To continue providing important services to our patients, ART Vision has talent he initiative to join an increasing number of ophthalmology practice in instituting a telemedicine program.
What exactly is telemedicine?
The American Telemedicine Association defines telemedicine as “the transfer of medical information via telecommunication (both synchronous and asynchronous) technology or specially designed medical devices to deliver healthcare services and clinical information.” More simply, telemedicine is using interactive technology, such as audio and video, by a provider outside the physical presence of a patient.
What does this mean for you as a patient?
Whether you are a new or established patient, ART Vision is now able to provide outpatient telehealth services. Many types of patients can benefit from remote visits. Using HIPAA compliant technology, ART Vision can offer cataract evaluations, eyelid evaluations, dry eye appointments, refractive surgery evaluations, and lid lesion evaluations, to name a few. By utilizing secure technology, we can provide the same high-quality care in the safety and security of your home. Before completing a telemedicine visit, our patients are contacted by one of our experienced staff members to discuss any concerns to ensure that patients will receive the most benefit out of your virtual visit.