Telehealth Options Boosted by COVID are Here to Stay

The Future of Health Care Delivery Will Benefit Patients and Providers

By Jorge Rodriguez, VP Sales and Marketing, WithMyDoc

COVID forced Telehealth to the forefront out of necessity. Now, its proven success, together with complementary technologies, such as remote patient monitoring (RPM) and federal funding, have enabled it to become a widely accepted standard of care. Most important, these technologies are providing much-needed access and more timely monitoring of chronically ill, vulnerable, and underserved populations.

The American Rescue Plan (ARP) and the FCC COVID-19 Telehealth programs are providing the resources to allow Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) to update their technology to boost telehealth and RPM capabilities. In February 2022, HHS awarded nearly $55 million to increase virtual health care access to 29 community health centers. In addition, about $6 billion in ARP funds have been distributed to more than 1,300 FQHCs, while $249 million in FCC telehealth funds have been distributed to both FQHCs and nonprofit health centers.

In March 2022, a $1.5 trillion omnibus spending package was signed into law, extending certain telehealth benefits. CMS will continue to reimburse FQHCsand Rural Health Clinics (RHCs). This kind of support ensures that telehealth is here to stay and will continue to expand, giving patients greater flexibility and access.

Virtual healthcare, especially RPM, has already proven to be effective for chronic care management for such diseases as high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and COPD. At our company, we’ve also seen the additional benefit of relief for over stressed health care workers, as we handle the monitoring for them and work directly with patients on compliance.

RPM enables underserved, fragile patients to be monitored on a more regular basis, without having to make physical visits to a facility and helps to reduce ER visits and hospital re-admissions. Many of these patients are unable to visit their physicians as often as recommended due to transportation and/or financial challenges; therefore, when providers are able to collect vitals more frequently, typically on a daily basis and in some cases more than once per day, the improved patient care can lead to an increase in HEDIS scores.

Better HEDIS scores affect health centers’ bottom line, since better measures mean higher reimbursement.

Telehealth visits and RPM, however, are just the tip of the iceberg in the future of health care delivery. As health care staff shortages continue, the need to both monitor and treat chronically

ill patients will soar as well. Therefore, innovation and the offering of new delivery systems become immensely critical.

At WITHmyDOC, we are expanding our support of FQHCs, working with both Foundcare in Palm Beach County and Community Health of South Florida (CHI) in Miami, to expand our client roster. This quarter we also plan to announce a joint venture with health care technology leader, Redox, to enable RPM data to be fully integrated in the EHR systems. WITHmyDOC will be adding on-demand virtual telehealth so any patient can visit a physician when it is most convenient for them, as well as a virtual pharmacy that reduces the cost of medications and makes it affordable for patients to get their prescriptions delivered straight to their homes.

In short, the advent of artificial intelligence and predictive analytics applied to user-friendly, end-to-end, web-based intelligence systems is redefining the future of health care. RPM and other advancements in technology are enabling patients to be more active in their own care and providers to receive critical support during a time of health care worker shortage and rising burnout rates among doctors and nurses.

We are proud and excited to be at the forefront of creating health care services to benefit both providers and patients, especially those most vulnerable, and to be part of making the health care delivery system better for all of us.

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