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Leverage Telehealth During COVID-19

Telehealth solutions are rapidly gaining traction across the healthcare industry. To remain on the cutting edge and keep up with the increase in demand for services as a result of COVID-19, insurance providers should consider adopting telehealth tools.

The goal:

  • Insurance providers should identify a software solution to provide video and audio capabilities that enable employees/members to be remotely examined by a nurse who will triage the case before proceeding.

Market definition:

  • Telemedicine platforms are defined as tools specifically aimed at the remote diagnosis and treatment of patients using video conferencing. Telemedicine can also be referred to as Telehealth.

Key capabilities to consider during COVID-19:

Frequent questions:

  • In a time of cost-cutting measures, should the organization use generic video communications tools like Zoom or FaceTime?
    • Even though these platforms are already in the hands of customers, they are not compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Therefore, Apple or Zoom are unable to establish a Business Associates Agreement (BAA) with an insurance provider for medical triaging.
  • How does Web Real-Time Communication (WebRTC) fit into Telemedicine?
    • WebRTC platforms are vertical agnostic, highly customizable, and have minimal features out of the box. If significant technical resources are available, it is possible for an insurance provider to build a tailor-made videoconferencing platform that would also be HIPAA compliant. However, the provider would have to ensure that the custom WebRTC tool is updated as regulations shift during the pandemic.

Our Take

During a time when “flattening the curve” and “social distancing” are of the utmost importance, insurance providers should be prepared to serve customers remotely. More than 70% of emergency room visits by individuals with employer-sponsored insurance are for nonemergency conditions or conditions preventable through outpatient care. (FierceHealthcare). Insurance providers can leverage Telemedicine to triage members and avoid sending people to the emergency room for non-emergency conditions and provide a better customer experience when healthcare institutions across all provider networks are at capacity.

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