Welcome to this week’s healthcare Knowledge Knugget! As a part of “The Executive Innovation Show” podcast, we’re bringing you the hot topics, questions we receive each week and game-changing ideas, best practices and tips. Today’s topic is one you’ve seen all over the news, the coronavirus.

We have gotten tons of requests and it has truly been a floodgate in the telehealth business since Trump’s 8.3 Billion bill that was passed on Friday. This bill lifts the previous telehealth restrictions in Medicare for the Coronavirus. Everyone is going full-court press and trying to figure out how to keep seniors at home and safe in lieu of coming into the ER, clinics and to doctor’s offices waiting rooms. In addition, practice groups are seeing increased cancellations of patients (well ones) who don’t want to come into the doctor’s offices in fear of getting sick from others.

So what does that mean? As you know there have been a lot of positive changes for the telehealth reimbursement in 2019 with payer support. In addition, to Medicare Advantage that went into effect in January of 2020. But what does that mean with these new restrictions lifted?

If you are a practice group, hospital, clinic and you’re serving senior patients in nursing homes, skilled nursing facilities, OR with chronic care conditions, you need to have a telehealth solution in place. By doing those routine appointments via telehealth, you are keeping these folks and others safe and at home.

We have seen a huge surge since last Friday to early this week of what’s been going on in the industry. Those who had plans to start telehealth have really escalated their plan. With the Coronavirus, we are seeing a lot of cancellations of regular appointments. People not wanting to come into doctor’s offices and be exposed to sick patients.

As you’ve seen the hysteria, the kind of panic that has been with HIMSS being canceled in Orlando, Florida to South by Southwest here in Austin, Texas.

In addition, people that don’t want to go into the ER or urgent care to try and limit their exposure. There’s been a huge surge in consumer-facing telehealth and telehealth in general. Obviously, if someone has symptoms of the Coronavirus, you’re not going to be able to do those tests through telehealth but you can use telehealth to determine who needs to come in and who doesn’t.

Looking at the appointment types that you have today, such as people who have had surgeries that need to do a post-surgical follow up that are high risk because of infection and wound care. If you are a practice, a hospital or clinic and telehealth has been on your roadmap, with these restrictions lifted, this has opened up the ability to reach this patient safely and at home.

This also goes for pediatrics. As we look at the most affected populations being younger as well as older, telehealth has also seen a surge in pediatrics. Moms are not going to be wanting to bring their children in fear of getting exposed to sick children. The same holds true for OBGYN with expecting mothers, pregnant women who are very cautious. It’s not just the restriction on the Medicare side that you should be thinking about.

You should also be thinking about the telehealth side from the commercial payers, the Medicaid side that already existed and how to service those patients. So if your business on the healthcare side is being affected by a surge of people coming in and having symptoms but also normal patient interactions, you need to think about how not to cancel those appointments.

With hits to the stock market and other areas, you need to be swiftly thinking about how to implement telehealth. If you have any questions on what that means to your healthcare organization with those Medicare restrictions being lifted or the billable codes that are available today, we are here to help.

Stay tuned to the Knowledge Knugget every Thursday as we provide more detail and answer the questions you may be having. We’ll continue to update on the Medicare restrictions lifted on our social channels so be sure to follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn. You’ve seen a lot of officials from the American Hospital Association, American Telehealth Association and as well as President Trump promoting telehealth.

That’s today’s healthcare Knowledge Knugget, part of The Executive Innovation Show. Feel free to submit questions or be featured on the Knowledge Knugget. Subscribe to our YouTube, Vimeo, and the podcast channels to get your Knowledge Knugget on Thursdays.

Download our playbook where we define “What is Telehealth?”. We’ll cover use cases, benefits, top implementation areas and why Telehealth is NOT video conferencing. This white paper will be useful to you or someone on your team if you like others trying to figure out telehealth for the Coronavirus quickly.