For providers, joining the North Country Telehealth Partnership opens the door to a world of opportunity.
Our network is secure and expansive, connecting medical offices throughout New York State to save providers time and money and help them provide the best quality care to their patients.
More than 90 hospitals, provider offices and other healthcare professionals in the North Country are actively engaged in building telemedicine to better the lives of their patients, and that number is expected to continue rising in the coming years. Taking advantage of technology and resources made available by the North Country Telehealth Partnership, providers in our community are using telemedicine in the fields of psychiatry, psychology, dentistry, wound care, chronic disease management, and more.
Video Clinic allows me to interact and care for these patients without having to drive 2 hours to and from the physical clinic. That allows me to have more availability and flexible hours to provide the services I do. Without the video clinic I would not have enough time in the day or week to provide these needed services to the community.
It also allows me to offer my services or treatment after ‘traditional’ clinic hours, which provides more flexibility to those working during the day. This is very important with this type of patient, since treatment and the frequency of appointments can disrupt work and hinder their ability to earn an income.
The patients appreciate the service provided, and having seen the patients face-to-face in the past, seem to like the service and have no complaints regarding the service. There really is no difference in the visits, and with the help of staff on site at the Malone Clinic, the visits run smooth and without problems. For myself, the patients and staff at St. Joseph’s Outpatient Clinic in Malone, Video Clinic is a really good fit.John Burnett, M.D., St. Joseph's Addiction Treatment & Recovery Centers
Continue reading to learn more about getting started with telemedicine, help with billing, videoconferencing tips, and more!
Getting Started with Telemedicine
Setting up a telemedicine-based service in your practice or organization might seem overwhelming, but we’re here to help.
We strive to make the telemedicine start-up process as simple as possible for our provider partners, and we are available for assistance every step of the way. The flowchart below is a great resource to better understand how other providers get started with telemedicine. Start in the upper left-hand corner – where you “define a needed service” – and simply follow the arrows. For more information, you can also take a look at our Telemedicine Implementation Guide or AMD Global Telemedicine’s “12-Step Webinar.”
While not all of the telemedicine-based services listed below are being used in the North Country, they are feasible to setup. Clinical applications for telemedicine range from dermatology to psychiatry, and innovations are constantly being made to expand the reach and scope of telemedicine.
To help keep our region’s providers informed about the possibilities of telemedicine, the North Country Telehealth Partnership has prepared a series of documents that list necessary clinical conditions for the following telemedicine applications:
For providers, details of reimbursement are critical to the telemedicine implementation process and to the sustainability of existing programs. Fortunately, we are here to help guide our practices through any questions or concerns they may have. Billing and coding shouldn’t hold you back from taking advantage of telemedicine, nor should it prevent your patients from the benefits telemedicine can offer.
Current Reimbursement Landscape:
All 50 state Medicaid programs cover telemedicine in some capacity, whether live videoconferencing, store and forward, Remote Patient Monitoring, or some combination of the three. Medicare covers telehealth but with some geographic and provider restrictions.
Private payers vary greatly depending on the state. Currently, 39 states and the District of Columbia require that private insurers cover telehealth the same as they cover in-person services. This is called coverage parity and was adopted in New York State in 2016.
As you consider adding a telemedicine service to your practice or organization, we encourage you to contact the provider relations departments of any insurers you have specific questions about. A helpful resource is the Center for Connected Health Policy’s 50 State Report, which is updated semi-annually with information about insurance coverage for telemedicine.
Best Practices for Videoconferencing
Whether you use videoconferencing as a means of daily communication, to provide telemedicine, or for other purposes, remember that appearance, preparedness and manners are extremely important.
Communications Using Videoconferencing:
- Avoid distractions, such as e-mail, phone, working on other documents, side-conversations, eating or drinking, while videoconferencing
- Remember to close blinds, because natural lighting can fluctuate and cause video quality to decline
Presentations via Videoconferencing:
- Schedule a pre-conference test to familiarize yourself
- Notify your IT department of the necessary items for your presentation (i.e., PowerPoint, Peripheral Equipment, etc.)
- If you are using a Mac, consider bringing your computer and video adapter cord for your presentation
- Provide your audience with your IT Department’s contact information in case there is a connection problem during the presentation
Presenting Your Information:
- Wear solid colored clothing; avoiding brightly colored or patterned fabrics
- Walls should be light in color, with a few visually interesting elements — avoid blank white walls
- Ensure that there are no distracting elements in the background
- Limit excessive hand gestures and movements
- Limit background noises — shuffling of papers, tapping, ringing phones, etc. — microphones can be very sensitive and can even transmit individuals who are whispering
- Talk slightly slower than normal
- Pause for comments
For more tips and information about videoconferencing, Cisco’s “Video Conferencing Room Primer: General Guidelines for Room Design and Best Practice” is a good reference document.
Telemedicine Utilization Log
We love watching telemedicine grow within our community, and the best way to track utilization is with your help! Logging telemedicine utilization is quick and easy — simply complete the survey below or click here to complete the survey in a new tab. Thank you!
Want to learn more?
If you have questions about our telemedicine program or the North Country Telehealth Partnership, our team can help you out! Get to know us below to see who might be your best contact. If you are a member of the media, please click here to reach our Communications Coordinator.