We are all becoming accustomed to convenience at levels never before dreamed. The world is at the tips of our fingers at all times. Ordering a meal to arrive at your door is a click of a button, scheduling appointments for all facets of life is a few taps away. For all of these advantages that come with the digital age, it seems arcane that we have to continue to have in-person doctor appointments.
Certainly, telehealth is not applicable for all medical situations, but why should a patient be forced to completely rearrange their day, which may include missing work, arranging for child care, or a multitude of other changes to one’s days for a simple check-up?
The idea of a virtual clinic is appealing not only to the provider, but also to the patient, and it begs the question: How does one begin the process of creating a virtual clinic? Before beginning down the rabbit hole, there are key items that need to be considered.
Know what how insurance covers telehealth in your state
This is a vital first step because not all states have the same insurance laws when it comes to telehealth. There are a few things to know when researching what is covered:
Parity laws require private insurers to cover virtual visits as if they were in-person. Not every state has parity laws in place, at the time of writing this article there are 39 states that have a form of parity in place.
Something else to keep in mind is not all parity laws cover all telehealth. For example, the majority of parity laws cover synchronous, live in-person communication, such as the platform offered by Beam Health, while that same law may not cover asynchronous, pre-recorded communications.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have recently proposed laws for the 2021 calendar year that extend telehealth coverage nationwide. For more information, read our coverage of those Medicaid changes. When it comes to Medicaid, that is decided on a state by state basis. Just as is the case for Parity Laws, some states require Medicaid to only cover telehealth for certain types of appointments: synchronous or asynchronous, by the type of appointment, or whether a prior relationship exists between patient and provider.
Payment collection for Healthcare Providers
When considering moving to a virtual clinic, providers need to consider some of the things that would typically be done in an office. One component and some would argue the most important, is how will the practice collect payment once the appointment is over.
Beam Health offers a solution to this by having payment collection built into the platform. Providers can set up a standard co-pay to charge patients and all that needs to be done is for patients to enter their credit card information. At the completion of the appointment, the patient’s credit card information will be charged. The provider can also customize the payment amount at any time, and if for some reason the provider forgot to collect payment after the appointment, the provider has the option to bill later on.
One fear providers have when implementing telehealth and moving into the virtual space is how their current practice’s systems will be affected by the new technology. Luckily Beam Health seamlessly integrates with over 50 EHR platforms starting at $99. The process takes under two weeks and during that time our team will build a custom EHR Integration. Now the practice doesn’t have to accommodate telehealth, but telehealth becomes a piece of an already trusted system.
Marketing for Virtual Clinics
After a practice has invested the time, money, and energy into creating an effective virtual clinic, how do patients know that this is available? Marketing of course. Every one of Beam’s customers are given a marketing package to help promote the practice’s new telehealth capabilities. The package includes:
- A co-branded web page that helps walk patients through how to use the Beam platform while also gaining consent for telehealth.
- A social media campaign where the provider is given assets to promote their new telehealth capabilities.
- A text campaign that alerts patients that the provider now offers telehealth.
- The Beam Waiting Room where providers can post custom content for patients to see while awaiting their appointment.
- The Beam Button will be posted on the provider’s website, so not only will those who visit know the provider offers telehealth, those who click on the Beam Button will be taken to the co-branded webpage to learn about how to use telehealth and register for the service.
- Co-branded flyers to have at the physical office so patients who visit know all of the provider’s services.
The world is moving toward digital services and building a virtual clinic is seen as a prudent move to provide the best care for patients. The advantages of telehealth are many. Not only does it provide a new level of care that makes patients’ lives easier, but it broadens the number of patients a provider can care for. Beam Health offers a platform that will allow providers to add a vital piece of technology to their practice while seamlessly integrating into their everyday systems. For those who are looking to start a new clinic that is based entirely in a virtual space, Beam becomes a valuable team member to help market the new practice. To learn more about Beam, set up an appointment with one of our implementation specialists to find out how Beam Health makes telemedicine easy.