Azalea® Telehealth

Engage with patients and other providers using Azalea’s secure, video-conference platform.


Everywhere you look now, a telehealth stat or strategy is being written about or discussed. I realize not in every instance but in many where they are discussing evolutions in care coordination, improving outcomes, increasing patient satisfaction and certainly driving additional (and much needed) revenue.telehealth-image-300x201

Here are some of the recent news clips:

  • Primary care continues to see a boom in telehealth implementation with the infusion of non-traditional healthcare players such as Apple, Walmart, Walgreens, etc. into the space, which will continue
  • Since the ACA, remote patient monitoring has arisen as a method to reduce hospital readmissions and curb costs for providers. Many hospitals have sent patients home with remote monitoring devices so they can be observed at home for the post-30-day period and this method has saved money and reduced readmissions penalties drastically in some cases
  • Post-acute providers and hospitals have been more engaged in integrating telehealth into their services because they see the benefits as far as cost-savings and lowering readmissions

No matter the size of your hospital, surgery center, clinic or practice, you may want telehealth on your radar screen.

While potential costs are mentioned as a barrier (or excuse not to research), telehealth can be extremely affordable and simple to implement. The real “costs” may come when practices, hospitals and other organizations lose out on the additional revenue, care quality and incentives that come along with telehealth strategies.

There are even integrated solutions that exist today that place telehealth on provider desktops, tablets, and smartphones, enabling face-to-face video communications integrated into their clinical workflow that are as easy as a phone call to initiate or receive. Experts also suggest the fast growth of consumerism in healthcare as well as the increased use of mobile health applications will further promote telehealth strategies from the patient engagement perspective as patients seek to manage and coordinate their own care.

Here are a few strategies and best practices for investing in telehealth

Protect your market share. All but three states reimburse for telehealth encounters for their Medicaid programs, and 27 states have enacted laws that enforce coverage for services provided through telehealth. Although it is not mandated, many private insurers offer reimbursement for services delivered through telehealth.

Proposed rules for Meaningful Use Stage 3 treat a real-time patient encounter delivered through technology-assisted healthcare the same as a physical encounter. What’s more, the provider can also choose to include consultative services “such as reading an EKG, virtual visits, or asynchronous telehealth.”

The payer community has embraced telehealth to help patients receive the right care at the right time. Providers should do the same.

Increase revenue. Remote monitoring for patients with two or more chronic conditions not only can help patients live with their conditions more effectively, it also can increase the bottom lines of providers. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has developed CPT codes that allow providers to bill a monthly fee for monitoring patients with chronic illnesses.

CPT code 99490 allows for non-face-to-face care coordination services for those with a care plan listing multiple chronic conditions expected to last at least 12 months and place the patient at significant risk of death or decline. Average compensation is $42.60 monthly, based on geography. It can be used in conjunction with CPT code 99091 (collection and interpretation of physiologic data) for a $56.92 monthly reimbursement per patient.

Prepare for the future. The telehealth and home health technologies market is expected to quadruple in size over the next five years, growing to $13.7 billion by 2020, according to a market intelligence company that tracks the space with other reports predicting much higher growth.

Once considered a fringe technology, telehealth clearly has moved into the mainstream as a way to see patients who may be limited by mobility or geography, as well as those who prefer the convenience of a face-to-face video encounter. Another important use case that is growing is for provider-to-provider such as a primary care provider collaborating or coordinating care with a specialist locally or halfway around the world.

As many industry leaders and even disrupters are suggesting, organizations need to invest in telehealth phenomenon to effectively compete in the healthcare marketplace. But in order to truly fulfill its mission, telehealth must be convenient to providers. Any telehealth solution must be readily available, incorporated into the natural workflow of the provider and available on the device he or she uses.  Read more…

Baha Zeidan is the co-founder and chief executive officer of Azalea Health Innovations.AzaleaHealth_1000px_002






Medical Document Services of Kansas, LLC (MDS) is a Wichita, Kansas healthcare document service specializing in Medical Billing and RCM, Medical Transcription, Pre-Certs with AzaleaHealth EHR.   We provide efficient, accurate, affordable quality services for hospitals, clinics, and facilities of all sizes. Call 866-777-7264 today, or visit our website for more information.  We have education programs in Medical Scribe Specialists. #medicaltranscription #azaleahealthEHR #revenuecyclemanagement


Retail Healthcare – What do you think?

Retail health clinics seeking telemedicine, mobile technology to grow presence

Retail giants Walmart and Target, and likely others, will continue their steady march into the healthcare setting, sensing an opportunity to leverage their customers with a mix of technology that could be a boon to the digital health space.

Speaking at Health 2.0’s WinterTech conference in San Francisco, officials with both companies said the move toward providing a deeper level of services, including some level of chronic disease management, could apply to both their employees and consumers, as part of a wider effort to contain healthcare costs and to guide consumers to healthier lifestyles.

“It is indeed a customer-facing retail clinic. However, it is also an on-site clinic for our employees,” said Ben Wanaker, who leads the Walmart Care Clinic business. “All of our employees have health needs, all are on high-deductible health plans and Walmart, like everyone else, is struggling with healthcare costs.”

Both Target, which made headlines recently with its collaboration with Kaiser Permanente in Southern California, and Walmart will be exploring technological tools to enhance efforts, which could range from partnerships and acquisitions on technologies like mobile coaching apps to telemedicine efforts.

“We’re working on our digital telehealth strategy,” Wanamaker said, though he did not provide a time line or further details. walmartclinic02

Eric Brotten, VP of consumer health and referral solutions for Optum, likewise said retail clinics will continue to evolve, and that Optum, a division of insurance giant UnitedHealthcare, will be on the lookout for technologies to bolster its offerings. From a payer standpoint, the idea makes a lot of sense, he said.

“The real goal of that is to provide care in a way that ultimately drives outcomes in a different care setting,” he said, noting that Optum runs about 20 retail clinics in Texas, Kansas and Nevada.

For Target, much of the expansion will come in the way of collaborations, with the Kaiser effort cited as an example that could be extended into other regions, according to Michael Laquere, senior buyer for pharmacy at Target.

“We very much take a partnership approach,” he said, adding it and other retailers have an opportunity to reach potentially millions of consumers. He also demonstrated Target’s new pharmacy prescription app, suggesting medication adherence could be assisted through retail health.

“This is a big step and a big investment,” he said. The app can help with dosage alerts, refills and take pictures to assist with transferring prescriptions. Target partnered with Mscrips on the app.

“We’re building this platform, so we’re looking at things like coaching tools, ways to connect with telemedicine, connecting with pharmacies in a more virtual way,” he said when asked what Target’s next moves into the digital health space might include. In addition, scheduling functionality for appointments is of interest.

“We’re really interested in technologies and applications that can help us deliver evidence-based primary care,” Wanamaker said of Walmart’s goals. “Whether that’s (electronic medical record) applications or applications that live in a provider or patient’s pocket. We care about the quality in our care but we also need to be very efficient.”

From a data standpoint, retailers could be sitting on potentially riveting customer information, particularity as it relates to buying pattens, a la Amazon, and health outcomes. If successfully harnessed, seeing what kind of food a customer with a health condition is buying could lead to suggestions that might improve health, or mitigate a chronic condition like Type 2 diabetes.

Yet the potential is not yet realized because of potential privacy issues and regulations, although the opportunity is there.

“It’s a huge opportunity, but it’s something that we have to be very careful about,” Laquere of Target said. “The key is being really transparent and really clear about how we’re using the data and that it actually adds value.”

Wanamaker of Walmart agreed, within the regulatory constraints

“We think we have a tremendous opportunity that can help consumers make better decisions.”

While the retail sector sees opportunity in healthcare, Wanamaker said it’s unreasonable to suggest Walmart or Target would be the be-all, end-all for healthcare. But, he said, it could be a strong starting point for many people who struggle to access the healthcare system initially.

“We would never make the claim that we will be the beginning and the end of your healthcare needs,” he said. “However, not everyone gets to the beginning, and we want to be the beginning.

Medical Document Services of Kansas, LLC (MDS) is a Wichita, Kansas healthcare document service specializing in Medical Billing and RCM, Medical Transcription, and AzaleaHealth EHR.   We provide efficient, accurate, affordable quality services for hospitals, clinics, and facilities of all sizes. Call 866-777-7264 today, or visit our website for more information.  We have education programs in Medical Scribe Specialists and Healthcare Documentation Specialists. #medicaltranscription #azaleahealthEHR #revenuecyclemanagement