The Changing World of Telehealth

Telehealth is growing in RT, and so are audits and Non-Patient Outcome Spending.

The ongoing (for now, anyhow) Public Health Emergency significantly expanded the role of telehealth. How many of current telehealth practices will remain after the emergency ends remains to be seen, but a few things are certain: telehealth has expanded and is here to stay, and remote visits are going to be the subject of scrutiny in audits for a long while to come.

Certain areas of medicine lend themselves more easily to telehealth, of course. Behavioral therapies, for example, have transitioned readily into call- and video-based sessions. Other areas, such as radiology, are much more limited in what they can offer remotely. The focus there has been on follow-up visits, general consultations, and analysis of static images that do not require the patient to be present. Even then, the results can be of questionable quality, with a 2013 study reporting a 30 percent misdiagnosis of malignant melanomas. Though a study inclusive of more recent technology could improve that statistic, it’s still a concerning number.

Respiratory and pulmonary therapies face many of the same challenges as radiology when it comes to going remote. These services have existed for several years in the remote space, but only since the pandemic boom in telehealth have hospitals begun to see it as a viable method. Additionally, private companies are popping up that hire fully remote RT staff to work in conjunction with hospitals for consulting, remote monitoring, and other services. This shift may point to a larger change in the healthcare industry, with outsourcing steadily on the rise in coding, customer care, and IT.

Though medicine and the way it is practiced and billed has changed a lot in the more than 30 years that MedLearn has been around, our focus has always been on fighting Non-Patient Output Spending (NPOS). In other words, we are dedicated to informing our readers on the best and most up-to-date ways to combat the most common money-draining errors that divert funds from going where they should go, namely to caring for patients. As the world of telehealth grows in specialties such as RT, so does the need for correct coding. Telehealth, after all, has seen a surge not just in availability but also in audits. And outsourced or not, it’s ultimately the hospitals on the line when the audits come.

On our sister site ICD10Monitor, consultant and MedLearn contributor Terry Fletcher talked about the current state of telehealth billing and auditing, citing several areas of concern that could lead to costly mistakes. And as March is Respiratory Therapy Month, we are happy to give you 20% off of our 2022 RT/Pulmonary Function: 3-Part Coding, Billing & Compliance Set, or any of our single products in RT from our team of nationally renowned experts, offering billing tips and insight for respiratory CPT coding. Our “Breathe Easy” offer expires 3/31.

MedLearn Honors Black History Month

February marks Black History Month. As a news provider and publisher in the medical field for more than thirty years, we at MedLearn wish to seize upon the occasion to reflect on medical milestones and contributions from Black Americans.

The first Black American to practice medicine with a license was Dr. James McCune Smith, who earned his degree in 1837 and had to travel to Scotland for an education. He returned to the United States to practice medicine where he had been denied training. This remarkable man went on to publish a variety of articles in medical journals, including some refuting pseudoscientific racial theories. The first Black woman to practice with a license came a few decades later. Dr. Rebecca Lee Crumpler spent ten years as a nurse before becoming a physician. In 1883, she wrote the Book of Medical Discourses, a medical text considered to be the first of its kind written by a Black doctor, which focused on health and disease prevention in women and children, written specifically for nurses and mothers.

Dr. Daniel Hale Williams, an early adapter of Lister and Pasteur’s sterilization techniques, performed one of the first successful open-heart surgeries in 1893. He did this to repair a stab wound. Dr. Williams did so without the benefit of blood transfusion technology. That technology, which is now common, began with the work of another Black American, Dr. Charles Drew. Dr. Drew, who went on to be a professor at Howard University, developed the storage of blood plasma in the beginning of the Second World War. Every year, four and a half million Americans now receive a transfusion. The work of these two visionary and incredibly skilled men has saved literally millions of lives.

The study of degenerative neurological conditions in America began in the 1890s,  with the work of Boston University’s professor of pathology and neurology, Solomon Carter Fuller, the first Black psychiatrist in the United States. Dr. Alois Alzheimer selected him to work in his laboratory in Munich. Not only did Dr. Fuller translate Alzheimer’s work into English, he also authored the first comprehensive overview of what is now known as Alzheimer’s disease.

Dr. Jane Cooke Wright made history in many ways, but perhaps most of all by developing chemotherapy treatments for leukemia and lymphoma in the 1950s and 1960s. She also pioneered cancer research centered on tissue samples.

While not a physician, Otis Boykin’s work in electronics changed the world several times over, and without his research, the first implantable pacemaker would have been impossible.

The list of significant advances in medicine led by Black doctors and nurses is a long one, and a short article such as this can barely scratch the surface of the history. Learn more by clicking any of the above links to informative resources on this topic.

A Letter from our CEO

What can you learn from MedLearn? What have we been teaching for 30 years? If you can’t quite put your finger on it, I am here to explain.

Consider that the US healthcare system uses more than 30% of its annual budget for health administration costs (hereafter referred to as Non-Patient Outcome Spending, or NPOS), according to the Annals of Internal Medicine. That 30% dedicated to NPOS is equal to 800 billion dollars and is among the highest percentages globally. This is an increasingly urgent matter as NPOS rises rapidly and quality of care appears to be dwindling.

There is a better way. We can collectively re-focus healthcare budgeting away from NPOS and towards improved patient outcomes. The MedLearn team is driven by and completely dedicated to pursuing this ideal.

Today, MedLearn is uniquely positioned to impact NPOS. We are assisted by a team of 60 nationally recognized subject matter experts. Our partners are the thought leaders and technology companies of tomorrow’s streamlined health system. MedLearn’s team also reports on NPOS-related issues in the field to warn and guide our readers. MedLearn’s core news services and quality-assuring resources on ICD-10 coding, CPT® coding and third-party contract auditors, such as Recovery Audit Contractors (RAC) can help control organizational NPOS. Master these administrative regulations with awareness and strategies for maximized efficiency from MedLearn and your team will begin stemming NPOS within your organization. 

Every day, we at MedLearn envision a change — a snowball effect that starts with the balance of 3% lower NPOS spending (24 billion dollars) being redirected to improve US patient outcomes. This snowball, we believe, will achieve a global reshaping of the efficacy of our healthcare. 

Partner with us. Subscribe. And share our vision.

ICD10monitor Hosting 2022 IPPS Summit

ICD10monitor hosts the 2022 IPPS Summit, covering the IPPS Final Rule which takes effect this Oct. 1 and brings in two renowned subject matter experts to provide insight and analysis during this event.

Former Broadcast Executive Joins MedLearn Media

Previously, Brian Acker worked at Relevant Radio, later at Disney Radio.

St. Paul, MN: March 31, 2021—Brian Acker has joined MedLearn Media as National Account Executive, representing two of the company’s brands, RACmonitor and ICD10monitor, according to Angela Kornegor, Executive Director, MedLearn Media.

Before joining MedLearn Media, Acker worked at Relevant Radio, where he represented the network’s 150 radio stations, including their digital and social media properties, from Maui to Maine. Acker also spent 10 years working for The Walt Disney Company as a general manager with Disney Radio. In both businesses, Acker assisted clients in identifying their strengths and challenges, coupled with helping them achieve their objectives through various marketing solutions across a mix of platforms.

MedLearn Media offers advertising through several channels (website advertising, podcast sponsorship, email marketing, and advertorials) that target medical billing and coding professionals, auditors, revenue cycle, HIM, auditing, specialty specific practices, health care executives, and more. 

Read the official press release here 

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