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Telehealth News

AMA Guides Coding Set for Telehealth Physician Consultations

By Vera Gruessner

- The telehealth sphere continues to expand across medical organizations throughout the nation. For example, the American Medical Association (AMA) has recently announced making more headway into promoting telehealth physician consultations.

Telehealth Services Workgroup

In a news release, the AMA announced yesterday that it has begun expanding the movement of the digital health space into clinical practice by further promoting telehealth physician consultations and developing an AMA-sponsored workgroup that will take part in integrating new telehealth technologies and products into the Current Procedural Terminology (CPT®) coding system.

The committee is called the Telehealth Services Workgroup and consists of more than 50 healthcare experts from physicians, telehealth entrepreneurs, and medical insurers. The workgroup met yesterday for the first time to conduct this innovative work in expanding the Current Procedural Terminology coding set.

The committee will look through proposals to determine how to properly broaden ongoing telehealth codes under the Current Procedural Terminology set and include new and developing technologies needed for telehealth physician consultations and other aspects of telemedicine.

The remote patient monitoring market along with other mobile devices in the digital health space are growing in popularity throughout the healthcare industry, which means new coding expansions will likely continue.

“The CPT code set is the foundation upon which every participant in the medical community - physicians, hospitals, allied health professionals, payers and others - can efficiently share accurate information about medical services,” AMA President Steven J. Stack, M.D., stated in the press release.

“Input from the Telehealth Services Workgroup will help the CPT code set reflect new technological and telehealth advancements available to mainstream clinical practice, and ensures the code set can fulfill its role as the health system's common language for reporting contemporary medical procedures.”

With both remote patient monitoring services and telemedicine technologies becoming a mainstream way of strengthening the quality of patient care throughout hospitals and clinics, the Telehealth Services Workgroup will aid in offering recommendations on proposed changes or additions to the coding set.

By improving the coding set, the reporting of new telehealth technologies will become more streamlined and thereby enhance the overall goal of telemedicine to expand access to care, improve health outcomes, and reduce costs associated with chronic medical conditions.

“Ensuring that CPT codes accurately reflect the telehealth services provided to patients is only possible through the dedication and direct input of the advisors on the Telehealth Service Workgroup,” Dr. Stack concluded. “Tapping into the clinical and technological expertise of the health care community and innovators produces the practical enhancements that CPT needs to reflect the coding demands of the modern health care system.”

There are a wide array of different responsibilities the Telehealth Services Workgroup will need to take part in including educating and addressing appropriate code use, code development for analysis, defining different data types, and creating introductory language to move forward code development for telemedicine services. The committee will also meet and lead discussions with various stakeholders who are looking to implement telemedicine services applications among their organizations in order to strengthen telehealth physician consultations.

To learn more about the Telehealth Services Workgroup, view this AMA page on the topic.


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