In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the country has witnessed a dramatic increase in the use of telemedicine. Granted, the reasons are obvious. But even as restrictions are lifted and we begin to return to normal life, it doesn’t appear that the popularity of telemedicine is waning. In fact, providers and patients alike are fully embracing this new approach to healthcare with open arms. A recent survey suggests that 87% of patients who used telehealth during the pandemic want to continue using it for non-essential consultations.
For providers who want to stay up-to-date with the latest changes in healthcare, this means creating a virtual care setting for patients interested in telehealth. If you’re a provider and you’re looking to take your practice virtual, here is a guide on how to start a telemedicine practice in your state.
How Does Telemedicine Work?
Before we dive into this topic, it’s important to first understand how a virtual care clinic operates. Through a telehealth platform, doctors and patients can connect via a HIPPA secure video consultation. On the video call, providers can visually assess patients, listen to their complaints, offer medical advice, and provide diagnoses. Many telehealth platforms have built-in features such as appointment schedulers, credit card payment portals, and support for EHR integration.
Learn the Telemedicine Laws in Your State
The first step towards opening up a virtual care clinic is learning the laws surrounding telemedicine in your state. According to HealthIT.gov, most states require physicians to be licensed in the state that they are physically located in, while others require a valid medical license in the state that the patient resides. For instance, if a patient is located in New Jersey, the provider must have a valid New Jersey medical license – for now at least.
Telemedicine Across State Lines
Progress is being made towards allowing physicians to practice across state lines. So far, 29 states have joined the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact (IMLC). The IMLC offers an expedited process for providers looking to become licensed in states that are members of the compact.
It’s also worth noting that there are nine state medical boards that require out-of-state providers to obtain special licenses to practice telehealth. These states include:
- New Mexico
For more information on telemedicine licensing requirements, contact your state medical board or visit the American Telemedicine Association’s website.
During the COVID-19 public health emergency, the DEA eased restrictions on telehealth prescription writing. However, it is best to contact your state medical board for advice. You may also want to visit the DEA’s website for more up-to-date information.
Choosing a Telehealth Platform
Once you’ve learned your state’s laws surround telemedicine, it’s time to choose the right virtual care platform. When comparing telehealth systems, you should look for a platform that:
- Complies with HIPPA regulations
- Offers HD video resolution
- Supports EHR integration
- Offers great customer support
- Does not affect your network’s speed and performance
Beam Health’s telehealth platform offers all this and more. Unlike many telehealth systems, Beam requires no apps or software downloads, and our world-class customer support team can have your virtual clinic up and running within 24 hours. Most importantly, we offer customized EHR integration to support streamlined billing and scheduling. Click here to book a free demo with Beam today! Our specialists will be happy to provide guidance on how to start a telemedicine practice.