XIFIN Blog: The COVID Pivot

How COVID-19 Influenced Billing and Patient Access Tools for Telehealth, Remote Patient Monitoring, Medical Device, and IDTF

  • Sr. Director, Genetics and Novel Technologies, XIFIN

This blog post is part one of a three part series. View Part Two and Part Three.

Recently, I had the pleasure of participating in a Fierce Healthcare webinar, “Billing and Patient Access Tools to Boost Digital Health Profits.” During the webinar, I addressed how COVID-19 changed billing and patient access tools for remote patient monitoring (RPM), medical device, and independent device testing facilities (IDTFs). My presentation covered three main topics:

  1. COVID impacts to digital and telehealth delivery
  2. Reimbursement reform
  3. Patient and provider engagement trends

Watch this featured portion of the webinar.

Over the past fourteen months, the healthcare industry experienced fundamental shifts due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the most profound of which involved technology. According to the “COVID 19 Telehealth Impact Study, conducted by the COVID 19 Healthcare Coalition, in 2018 only 18 percent of physicians incorporated telehealth as part of their care model. Survey respondents frequently cited reimbursement barriers as a reason they have not been better able to incorporate remote care.

Today, almost 50 percent of surveyed physicians have telehealth as some component of their care model. This change happened at the beginning of the pandemic when in-person office visits were limited, and patients were wary of in-person treatment. Fortunately, payors responded quickly and made changes to telehealth and remote patient monitoring coverage. As in-person visits resume, providers continue to deliver care with a combination of face-to-face and remote services.

Calling for Permanent Remote Patient Monitoring Reimbursement Reform

There have been many positive changes in payor support for telehealth and remote patient monitoring services during the pandemic, some of which are likely to remain in place post public health emergency (PHE). This is consistent with the transition of more payors toward value-based healthcare models. For example, the management of chronic diseases is shown to improve with the addition of remote monitoring and provider access through telehealth platforms. Payors know that five percent of the population with chronic conditions account for approximately 50 percent of all healthcare cost in the United States. Therefore, if those chronically ill patients can be treated through remote technologies, patients have better outcomes and costs go down.  This aligns the goals of patients, providers, and payors.

There are three main aspects of payor changes in telehealth and remote patient monitoring coverage that were made during the early stages of the pandemic:

Care Expansion

Practitioners can now furnish RPM services for both acute and chronic conditions.

Patient Access

CMS granted RPM can be furnished to new patients as well as established patients during the PHE.

Consent for Virtual Care

CMS granted patient consent can be obtained at the time RPM services are furnished, allowing for virtual care rather than in-person consent.

Learn more about end-to-end patient engagement and my recommendations for an engagement roadmap that benefits both patients and providers, by watching the full on-demand webinar.

Published by XIFIN
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