Telemedicine was already coming into its own before Covid-19, but the pandemic has accelerated its acceptability and use. For wound care patients who are at risk, telemedicine offers a safe way to stay connected to their wound care team from home.
There are plenty of choices when it comes to telehealth web hosting services, but it’s important to keep regulatory guidelines in mind when considering your options. Recent CMS changes call for expanded telehealth services to help doctors and providers deliver a wider range of care to Medicare beneficiaries in their homes. The most important thing to know about this guidance is that it’s temporary. While some of the regulatory red tape for telemedicine has been relaxed to have a solution in place for at-risk populations, it’s important to keep an eye on the horizon. For now, regulatory compliance should be part of your overall strategy.
When it comes to platform selection for providers, some business and consumer-oriented video conference applications are accepted by CMS, and some are not. Currently, the following choices are acceptable, and most engage in HIPAA BAAs to satisfy regulatory requirements:
- Google Hangouts Meet
- Google Duo*
- Microsoft Skype* and Skype for Business
*No option for a HIPAA BAA contract.
The following applications do NOT have the green light from CMS, and we do not recommend them:
Beyond business-facing options there are solutions like Doxy.me, which is dedicated to HIPAA video and audio sessions, not to mention the bespoke options available directly through many service offerings (Net Health is now offering video directly through patient portals on the web, and services like SimplePractice also offer video through their portal, as well).
Of course, it goes without saying that if a patient has an actively infected wound or needs a procedure or hyperbaric oxygen therapy, they need to come in for a one-on-one appointment.
If you have questions, or if you’d like more information, feel free to send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.