The Optometric Minute

Telemedicine: Should We Embrace It, and Will We Get Paid?

April 5, 2017

Telemedicine, in which doctors and patients interact via text or photos over digital devices, is a hot-button issues for optometrists. Specifically, does this raise or lower the level of care you provide–and will you get paid for responding to a photo from a smartphone? In addition, locating, applying to and joining an accountable care organization (ACO) may be critical to future survival of independent ODs. Both issues are explored in a panel discussion at the MedPRO 360 conference held at SECO International 2017.

How Can We Connect with ACOs?
Telemedicine: Should We Embrace It–and Will We Get Paid?

USE GOVERNMENT DIRECTORY. Consult the directory of ACOs from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

LEARN REQUIREMENTS. Study ACO requirements, and then reach out to one. Provide ACO administrators the quality measures and data they need.

CONTACT CLINICIANS. Contact healthcare providers who are in the ACO. Let them know that you want to co-manage patients with them, and can exchange thorough clinical communications.

OFFER CONCISE INFORMATION. Provide co-managing doctors with the information they need in an easy-to-use format. They want to cut to the chase, rather than search multiple pages for the data they need.

PROVIDE REQUIRED PHOTOS. Diabetic patients require a diagnostic photo taken at each visit. This needs to be sent to their referring physician. Know and meet these protocols.



ENSURE HIPAA SECURITY. Choose a platform that allows secure transmission of photos and information, without leaving the patient’s private information liable to fall into the wrong hands.

GET PAID. CMS has just adopted a protocol for enabling doctors to get paid for consultations delivered via telemedicine. Look carefully at the requirements, such as photos that may need to be scanned into your EHR.

DELIVER QUALITY CARE. Weigh whether you are able to provide dependable, high-quality care to the patient requesting a consultation via telemedicine. You may compromise and do the initial consultation long-distance, and then have the patient visit the office for subsequent consultations.








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