The future of physical therapy clearly lies in balancing virtual care with in-person care as each brings its own distinctive advantages to the care equation. By making PT care possible within the patient?s home, telehealth improves profitability of rehab services, expands access to care, standardizes care procedures, raises adherence with the plan of care, boosts patient experience, and lowers referral leakage. Technology plays a vital role in connecting PT patients with at-home physical therapy. The physical therapy EMR is front and center in ensuring that telehealth is successful.
Making Telehealth Happen
EMR driven telehealth is completed in four broad steps:
Setting Up Telehealth Workflows
- The first step is to configure telehealth workflows at the EMR backend before the solution can be utilized.
- After adding the right time zone at the facility level, messaging templates are configured for sending automated invitations.
- Separate customizable invitation templates are developed for sending out telehealth email messages and telehealth SMS messages.
- These templates utilize tokens like the Telehealth URL, which refers to the web link for patients to click on and join the meeting.
- Automated invitations for telehealth appointments are sent out through the appointment reminders module in the EMR but invitations can also be sent out manually.
Scheduling Telehealth Visits
- Scheduling a telehealth appointment follows the exact same sequence as a regular PT appointment with an additional setting in place that marks it as telehealth.
- The virtual meeting room includes the use of a timer that prevent patients from joining the meeting too soon or after it is over.
- Therapists can verify patient eligibility before inviting them to join a telehealth session thus staying clear of reimbursement issues.
Anchoring The Telehealth Visit
- A ?join meeting? link in the user interface enables the therapist to start the telehealth session.
- The therapist can also join the meeting while completing clinical documentation by opening the SOAP note or the flowsheet.
- The join meeting link in the documentation interface takes the therapist into the meeting as the PT provider and telehealth meeting host.
- The telehealth meeting could be documented on one web tab or screen and the video meeting conducted on another tab or screen.
- Each meeting has a unique meeting id that serves as a unique identifier for the appointment and patient.
- Therapists can optionally resend the invitation to the patient either as an SMS or as an email invitation.
- Once the meeting starts, the timer starts running and all information gets stored in the software?s database.
- The EMR enables documenting the meeting, accessing patient records, and generating telehealth charges all at the same time.
- On completion of the visit, patients get a summary of the visit along with other details via the telehealth workflow.
Staying Compliant In Telehealth
- When completing telehealth documentation and generating charges, from the flowsheet or from SOAP notes, payer-specific settings ensure that the right charges are being generated with the correct modifiers and codes.
- Adhering to payer rules and billing guidance for telehealth charges includes presenting the right place of service codes and modifiers on the claim form through the insurance settings interface.
- All telehealth billing settings apply if billing is for the appointment or date of service marked as telehealth.
Virtual care and in-person care complement each other and go hand in hand. Hybrid care is the future and the EMR is making it happen.