The Future is Now: Privileging Telehealth Providers

The Future is Now: Privileging Telehealth Providers

Sep 15, 2020
  • Author:
    Noelle Abarelli

By now we’re all very familiar with telehealth: the remote provision of healthcare through the use of telecommunications technology. In fact, it is fundamentally changing the way patients receive healthcare and is recommended by many organizations, offices, and urgent care centers as the first step in receiving treatment. Over the past decade, telehealth has grown steadily as an industry. According to Global Market Insights, the market size in 2019 was around $45 billion, but it is projected to grow to more than $175 billion by 2026.

Before the coronavirus pandemic, Americans were slow to pick up on the virtual trend. But when the pandemic hit, the use of telehealth grew exponentially, and for good reason:

  • Telehealth is safer for patients, as it keeps them from going into areas that may potentially have been contaminated.
  • Seeing patients remotely also gives organizations the chance to “see” more patients, helping them scale.
  • Patients benefit by being able to receive more convenient and faster care.

But increased adoption of telehealth also poses a fair share of challenges. There are several issues involved with delivering it that need attention and clarification:

  • Confusion about what’s needed to privilege telehealth providers in terms of requirements issued by states, Medicare, The Joint Commission and other accrediting bodies, private payors, and miscellaneous regulatory bodies.
  • The issue with the need to store, share, and maintain information on telehealth providers.
  • Complexities between providers being privileged to provide in-person care in some facilities, and telehealth in others, especially with regard to Healthcare Systems.

But there’s good news, all these hurdles can be tackled. Implementing a streamlined system that stores, manages, and shares privilege information seamlessly is key. It’s also critical to stay updated on the regulations that govern telehealth privileging and be aware of the various credentialing options available today. Once you’ve become familiar with the different regulations surrounding the provision on healthcare via telehealth, you can undertake privileging via several methods:

  1. Credentialing by Proxy

  2. Credentialing by proxy allows the hospital receiving telehealth services (known as the “Originating Site” hospital) to rely on the privileging and credentialing decisions made by the hospital or entity providing the telehealth services (known as the “Distant Site” hospital or “Distant Site Telemedicine Entity” or “DSTE” respectively), so long as certain requirements are met.

  3. Disaster Credentialing

  4. According to The Joint Commission, a disaster is an emergency that due to its complexity, scope, or duration, threatens the organization’s capabilities and requires outside assistance to sustain patient care, safety, or security functions. The Joint Commission Standards states that during disasters, hospitals may grant disaster privileges to licensed volunteer independent providers. This expedited disaster credentialing procedure is a sure-fire way to fulfill requirements easily so that you can begin to offer expanded patient care quickly.

  5. Traditional Credentialing

  6. If Credentialing by Proxy or Disaster Credentialing isn’t a fit for your needs, you can always follow a traditional credentialing process if preferred. In that case, it’s important to keep in mind all accrediting organizations have certain requirements that must be met.

Telehealth is Here to Stay

As 2020 continues to challenge us, the need for telehealth will only grow and quickly become the norm. That’s why implementing a first-rate privileging and credentialing system designed to work on the cloud is of the utmost importance. Implementing an automated system that is comprehensive, scalable, and effective is easier than you think, and better yet, VerityStream will ensure everything goes according to plan.