- With doctor shortages on the horizon and a lack of specialized physicians available in rural locations, telemedicine software adoption is becoming more mainstream among large sections of the country. A large number of states have implemented new legislation to improve reimbursement and pay parity among healthcare providers who use telehealth technology.
Earlier this month, the state of New York implemented new rulings to push forward telemedicine software adoption throughout the healthcare industry, as reported by mHealthIntelligence.com. A mandate was signed into law by New York’s governor further expanding commercial coverage for telehealth services.
The mandate offers a broad definition for telehealth, which will likely stimulate telemedicine software adoption even further. It’s also important to note that the telehealth mandate from New York enables the use of remote patient monitoring technology by ensuring reimbursement is required between payers and providers.
The New York amendment now defines telehealth as, “the use of electronic information and communication technologies by a health care provider to deliver healthcare services to an insured individual while such individual is located at a site that is different from the site where the health care provider is located.”
The National Law Review also offered more background on telemedicine in the state of New Hampshire. No longer will a doctor in New Hampshire need to see a patient in-person before providing care via videoconferencing telehealth tools.
This is only one of the changes that will affect the growth of telehealth and provide new advantages among medical providers and telemedicine businesses. The changes to the telehealth law can be implemented once two parties alter their business models and develop new contractual agreements.
Hospitals and healthcare systems throughout the state of New Hampshire can use the telehealth law to their advantage by increasing patient engagement and expanding their patient base through telemedicine software adoption.
Nathaniel Lacktman, a healthcare lawyer with Foley & Lardner LLP, wrote for the National Law Review several ways the new telehealth law will affect the market and benefit medical providers.
First, it is important to better understand the medical licensing requirements in New Hampshire. Physicians who reside beyond state borders and offer telemedicine services will need to be licensed in New Hampshire. However, there are certain exceptions to this rule such as the consultation exemption.
While an in-person visit is no longer required under New Hampshire’s telemedicine laws, it is still crucial for healthcare providers to foster a strong patient-doctor relationship especially when using videoconferencing technology.
Through real-time communication, doctors should establish a relationship with their patients by taking all of their prescription drugs into account, transcribing a medical history, making a diagnoses, and creating a treatment plan.
Physicians who use telehealth technology would also benefit from adopting care protocols when treating patients in this method. This will allow for the same standard of care whether the doctor is treating a patient in-person or by telemedicine communication tools.
“Explore opportunities to collaborate via contract or other arrangements with pharmacies, labs, and other post-consultation service providers in the patient care continuum,” Nathaniel Lacktman suggests in the article. “The new law allows remote prescribing, and prescribing medications is at the discretion of the provider so long as the prescribing is performed consistent with current standards of practice.”
Also, Lacktman encourages telepsychiatry groups to incorporate medication management processes in order to ensure that controlled substances prescribed electronically and remotely are safe for the patient.
“The changes to New Hampshire laws remove a significant barrier to growth for telemedicine providers and businesses in the Granite State. Physicians will now have more reach and flexibility to serve patients, particularly those living in distant or rural locations. Studies continue to show how telemedicine can be a high quality, cost-effective care tool, eliminating travel time and increasing access, including for mental health needs,” Lacktman concluded.