Telehealth - Interested?
Our recent telehealth survey provided KCMS with your insights about telehealth. Whether looking for work options beyond your private practice, moving exclusively to telehealth, continuing as an employed doctor and you want to supplement your income, or retired docs looking to re-engage, here are your survey results:
#1 Do you provide telehealth services? If so, how?
- Physicians are providing telehealth by using platforms like doxy.me, bywinona.com, doctor.com. Practicing docs are also using telehealth to provide telehealth to patients that have moved out of state due to grandfathered policies during the pandemic.
- Employers are providing platforms for telehealth.
- Private practitioners are using telehealth in a variety of ways:
- Using it nearly 100% of the time.
- Connecting with patients via Zoom, FaceTime, independent free platforms, and others have hired an outside company to help.
- Teamed up with small out-of-state hospitals to provide telehealth from WA state.
- Psychiatry allows physicians to see all patients via video or phone.
- Some retired docs are using telehealth personally, but have not reinstated their licenses to provide care to supplement their incomes although they are interested ...
#2 Do you provide Synchronous, Asynchronous, and/or video telehealth?
Most of the respondents provided synchronous telehealth with or without video. Asynchronous telehealth is when a patient leaves a message of what the problem is and the doctor responds when they are available. Many online telehealth platforms (him, Rory, Roman, Winona, Curology) provide this opportunity for doctors to provide Rx. for only a limited number of products. Physicians get paid for each patient they 'see.'
#3 Do you provide telehealth in other states too?
Only a few of our respondents are licensed to provide telehealth in other states. This is a missed opportunity. Practicing and newly retired doctors can provide telehealth in many states to offset their salaries. Some states even 'share' licenses for telehealth.
#4 What changes or regulations might provide for better telehealth experiences?
- Better, more uniform, reimbursement for telehealth (same as in-person pricing).
- Provide independent malpractice insurance that allows physicians to work across state lines so they don't need to get insurance for part-time telehealth work.
- Ensure ongoing telehealth benefits for patients - their benefits won't be restricted after Covid emergency allowances are scheduled to end.
- Allow out-of-state patients to have telehealth visits.
- Completely open availability of telehealth in all states.
- Create a national medical license. Remove state restrictions on telehealth. Allow physicians to provide telehealth across state lines post-pandemic which will increase accessibility. Licensing could be determined by the doctor's location, not the patients.
#5 Are you looking for telehealth opportunities to offset your income?
There were quite a few physicians that were interested in supplementing their income by providing some telehealth services. KCMS is putting together a flyer to provide you with information about how to get started including retired doctors. Please let us know if there are specific concerns or considerations.
#6 Do retired doctors work in telehealth to offset retirement incomes?
There are some that are enjoying the opportunity to work again. KCMS will provide specific opportunities in our summary paper and the upcoming conference.
#7 If you are working in telehealth outside of your contract, does your employer require approval?
Many employed physician contracts require approval if the work is outside of their system, and many will take a % of your outside earnings.
#8 Any additional information you'd like to share? (Selected quotes)
- Most of the doctors wanted more information in the form of a conference, training flyer, and/or an opportunity to learn from others already engaged in telemedicine.
- "Patients LOVE telehealth and that it works very well in the mental health world as they can see patients in rural areas that would otherwise not have access to care."
- "There are significant challenges to establishing and maintaining rapport via video. Rapport is the basis for all medical practice, though it is often taken for granted... "
- "There is a missed opportunity for patients to control their own health records and share them with telehealth docs outside of their system."
- "KCMS helped me start by providing me with headsets and cameras - thank you!"
"Totally retired and my license and insurance lapsed. Those are likely required to provide telehealth services, correct?" Yes, KCMS will address that at the conference.
"Telehealth consults for KC docs were a real plus during Covid. Now docs are drawing back citing legal and liability concerns -- (which is) a real negative to care in distant or remote communities."
I. KCMS will provide you with a flyer with the next steps on how to transition to telehealth as a way to supplement your income, or even as a full-time telehealth physician.
II. KCMS is organizing a CME to educate physicians about how to transition to telehealth and also things to be leary of.
PLEASE, STAY TUNED!