Telemedicine refers to the delivery of traditional clinical diagnosis and monitoring with the help of technology, whereas "telehealth" refers to the technology-enhanced health care framework that includes virtual visits, remote patient monitoring, and mobile health care. Virtual care provides comparable health outcomes compared with traditional healthcare delivery methods without compromising the patient-physician relationship. It has also been shown to enhance patient satisfaction and improve patient engagement. Virtual care can be delivered in different modalities depending on the patient's requirement. Before integrating virtual care into your practice, understand the segmentation of virtual health: Virtual Health Applications Can Be Segmented Across 3 core Categories:
Integrate Virtual Care into Your Existing Practice with the Help of These Steps: 1. Resource Assessments Physicians planning to integrate virtual care must have the necessary software, hardware, and a reliable, secure internet connection to ensure patient safety and quality care. To implement a telehealth program effectively, participating sites must undergo resource assessments to evaluate equipment readiness, such as network encryption. 2. Patient Consent Patient consent is necessary for any telemedicine consultation. The consent can be Implied or explicit depending on the following situations: If the patient initiates the telemedicine consultation, then consent is implied. If a health care provider initiates a Telemedicine consultation; it is explicit. Explicit consent can be recorded in any form. The patient can send an email, text, or audio/video message. The patient can state their intent on phone/video to the RMP (e.g., "Yes, I consent to avail consultation via telemedicine" or any such communication in simple words). The RMP must record this in his patient records. 3. Credentialing Telemedicine consultation should not be anonymous: both patient and the health care practitioner need to know and verify each other's identity. 4. Knowledge of the State/Country Guidelines Physicians who provide telehealth must meet many guidelines before delivering telehealth services. 5. Insurance Compliance Insurance companies should provide clear guidelines to physicians who offer telehealth to ensure appropriate health insurance coverage for telehealth encounters.
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