The ongoing pandemic named Covid-19 has been a world-wide public health event like we’ve never seen. Millions have been affected and nearly three-quarters of a million deaths have occurred in just a few months due to the virus. In the U.S, outbreaks continue to flair as communities and healthcare leaders struggle to balance the need for containment versus the societal need for contact and commerce.
Yet the healthcare industry has shown resilience among the challenges faced by Covid-19. New methods of virus treatment and containment have shown that healthcare can adapt and move in a positive direction towards providing the best care possible. What are some of the bright spots shown on healthcare with a six-month, Coronavirus review? Let’s find out.
The Rise of Telemedicine
One major advancement during the Covid-19 pandemic is telemedicine. In March 2020 at the early stages of the pandemic, the Trump administration lifted Medicare requirements for telemedicine visits to make it easier for patients and doctors to use the technology. That also allowed more providers to accept Medicare payments for virtual visits.
Over the past decade, telehealth, a broader term used to define all medical services and health education delivered digitally, has grown steadily as an industry. According to Global Market Insights, the market size for telehealth in 2019 was around $45 billion and is projected to grow to more than $175 billion by 2026. Social distancing measures at doctor’s offices and hospitals could push telehealth interactions to 1 billion by the end of 2020.
Challenges to accommodate the rise in telehealth include incorporating the technology in poor and rural areas where there is a lack of adequate internet connectivity. In the early days of COVID-19, most patients forgave less-than-perfect aesthetics in order to get expedited care. Now, users want high-quality audio, video and personal connections that mirror a typical face-to-face appointment.
Training providers and staff on policies, practices, and protocols for using telehealth services, including appointment scheduling, documentation and billing, referral processes for specialty care, urgent and emergent care, laboratory services, pharmacy prescriptions, medical equipment, and follow-up visits are growing by healthcare providers and governmental services.
Virtual Healthcare Operations
In addition to the patient-side of healthcare, the operations and administration of patient care are now trending online as a result of Covid-19. Insurance payers and HCP professional associations have supported the transition to telehealth services during the pandemic.
Medical facilities are still a major epicenter of the Covid-19 pandemic and its after-effects. Hospitals continue to practice social distancing and other preventative measures in patient care areas and also in offices and waiting rooms. Non-essential workers continue to telecommute in large numbers as CDC guidelines have prevented the return to the office. In many parts of the industry, this could be the “new normal” for hospital operations and administration.
Staffing at hospitals is certainly in flux as resources are diverted to virus containment strategies in both patient care and overall operations. They understand that keeping positions filled with skilled workers is going to be a challenge, and the most successful are moving towards a new staffing strategy. Instead of competing for full-time workers with higher-than-average compensation and benefits, innovative hospitals are adopting an agile workforce staffing strategy, shifting the focus to short-term contractors and other types of alternative workers to fill positions on an as-needed basis.
Companies like Nearterm are perfectly positioned to provide remote, professional healthcare revenue cycle and financial management services. Whether it’s temporary, interim or direct hire, Nearterm’s 25 years of experience in healthcare staffing across the U.S. combines technology and customer service to give you the superior solutions you’re looking for, at an advanced pace. Services are offered separately or as part of a 360° solution.
Our national client base includes hospitals, clinics, and other provider types that need credentialed, certified, vetted, and professionally managed remote medical coding and AR resolution specialists located in the U.S. Contact Nearterm to learn how we can help your organization today.