In the news this week, industry professionals weigh the benefits and barriers of digital health and discuss opportunities for reimbursement. The FDA moves forward with its plans for advancing digital health, and new guidelines are released to manage pregnancy and the opioid crisis.
One of the greatest challenges to healthcare transformation is the lack of financial incentives, and this barrier has only been exacerbated by the events of the past year.
Health systems see razor thin profit. A 2018 study showed average margins that failed to break 2%, and that was before the coronavirus pandemic wreaked financial havoc on hospitals. That means that a health system bringing in a billion dollars of revenue only sees about 17 million in profits — and that’s not a lot to risk on new solutions that don’t have an immediate and direct impact on ROI.
Congress is expanding reimbursement for telehealth as virtual care becomes the new standard response to the demands of the coronavirus pandemic. Babyscripts virtual maternity care solution meets the eligibility requirements for many of these funding opportunities, and we are available to help our customers understand and take full advantage of these reimbursements.
As the nation learns to navigate the realities of a pandemic world, traditional healthcare structures are proving insufficient for the current crisis. Providers are responding to the demands of a quickly spreading virus and an overburdened hospital system by changing the way they interact with patients — not in the office, but virtually.
In the field of obstetrics specifically, practices are adapting by completely revising the prenatal visit schedule, with some reducing in-person visits to as low as five. [For more on this, read New Prenatal Schedule enhanced with technology to deal with COVID-19: Best Practices from Cone Health]. To stay connected and manage patients in between visits, providers are leveraging technological touch points like video visits, remote patient monitoring, mobile apps, and telephone visits.
Additionally, there have been changes in reimbursements to respond to these necessary changes.
ACOG has released new information on reimbursement for digital and telehealth services as both public and private health insurers have taken steps to increase access due to concern over the spread of COVID-19.