Health care services have traditionally been conducted through face-to-face exchange of information between provider and patient, but advanced technology has changed how, when, and where patient care can be delivered. For example, many patients prefer to communicate with their provider online, patient portals allow patients immediate access to their medical information, and providers can collaborate about patients via telemedicine, which has become a cost-effective alternative to face-to-face patient services.
The term “telemedicine” refers to the remote diagnosis and treatment of patients by means of telecommunications technology. For Medicare payment to occur, interactive audio and video telecommunications must be used, permitting real-time communication between the distant site physician/practitioner and the Medicare beneficiary. Commercial payers are beginning to follow Medicare payment guidelines and are also creating innovative ways of paying for health care services outside the scope of a traditional face-to-face encounter. You will need to review your payer contracts for the specific payment policies related to telehealth services.
Continue reading to learn about all of the steps that are necessary in order for Medicare to cover telemedicine.
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