Welcome to this week’s healthcare Knowledge Knugget! As a part of “The Executive Innovation Show” podcast, we’re bringing you the hot topics, including answering questions that we receive each week, game-changing ideas, best telehealth practices, and tips. During today’s topic, Carrie Chitsey talks about pediatric telehealth solutions.
Pediatric Telehealth vs. Telemedicine for Children
There are notable differences between telemedicine and telehealth for children – and they’re not the same. In the telehealth industry, pediatrics has been a significant focus on parents and the convenience that pediatrics telehealth solutions provide for them and their children. Whether it’s 10 p.m., or during the day loading up the kids, getting them into the pediatrics physician’s office, for routine, low acuity visits can be hectic and stressful. Being able to still see their primary health care physician is critical.
The good news is that a lot of this can be addressed and is being addressed today with telehealth. Typically, if a parent has a child who gets sick, they can opt to visit the pediatrician’s office, if they can get a same-day appointment. Likewise, parents can take their child to an Urgent Care, emergency department, minute clinic, or something of that nature. However, this puts parents and children at risk of exposing themselves to other folks in the waiting room lobby. By utilizing a pediatric telehealth solution, the risk of exposure and inconvenience decreases while access to care increases. This is just one example of how telehealth for pediatrics has various use cases.
On the same note, it’s important to differentiate “pediatric telehealth” from “telemedicine for children,” which is currently used in practice as well. Typically, telemedicine indicates that the provider, or the physician, is communicating over the telephone with the parents, asking questions to try to diagnose a child’s medical issue. Though this approach through telemedicine is the old school way of doing things, this is just business-as-is, because there isn’t extra billable revenue involved.
So if a pediatric practice is looking to take their business to the next level and increase their billable revenue, consider using One Touch Telehealth services since this field of medicine has one of the highest after-hour and weekend-calls rates. It would also help to think about a telehealth solution for the pediatric practice to determine a ‘best practices’ model for the care of children. In turn, this means that pediatricians that implement a telehealth solution need to instruct their patients about after-hour and weekend appointments, after looking at current appointment types to see where it will best benefit providers’ schedules.
If an appointment doesn’t require a physical exam or actual labs for infants and children, a pediatric practice can move these appointment types to telehealth to free up waiting room space to keep patients and their guardians safer. Overall, this reduces the appointment and waiting times for better patient experience. So when looking at telehealth, pediatricians need a platform solution:
From a pediatrics perspective, of course, holding a telehealth appointment with a child will be more than having one with an adult. Accordingly, a pediatrician may initially talk to the parents, but then ultimately, he or she will speak to the child on the video visit. Now, because pediatricians using telehealth programs won’t necessarily be able to look into the ears or down the throat and nose, they’re going to have to ask more questions than usual about how the child feels. And while the pediatrician still may opt to have the child open their mouth to look for a sore throat during a telehealth consult, the doctor will always have to ask detailed questions about how the child is feeling.
Thus, with a telehealth appointment being five to seven minutes on average, pediatricians can still have a fruitful consultation by asking a few more questions than usual. The pediatrician might be on the higher side to get the child to express how they’re feeling, what they’re going through, and so forth. Consequently, if a provider is looking to implement a pediatric telehealth solution, they’ll want to keep some of these things in mind for the practice’s workflow regarding the appointment types that should move to telehealth. It’s essential to look at how a pediatrics practice arranges after-hour and weekend appointments to see what CPT codes are eligible concerning increasing billable revenue.
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