Telemedicine Specialties With High Physician DemandFeb 27, 2020 | Jonathan Maisel
Whether you’re heading in for a routine checkup or getting an injury or illness treated, a trip to the doctor’s office can be difficult to schedule, especially when it conflicts with work or school. That is part of why telemedicine has become so popular. The industry has grown by more than 261% annually between 2015 and 2017 and will continue to do so as the technology advances and internet speeds get faster and more reliable.
What Is Telemedicine?
The industry defines telemedicine as “the use of medical information exchanged from one site to another via electronic communications to improve a patient’s clinical health status.” That is a very broad definition that could be as simple as transmitting a patient’s electronic health record from one facility to another or as complex as a complete patient appointment carried out remotely.
Telehealth appointments are no different than office visits when it comes to HIPAA-compliance and clinical documentation requirements. As such, details about the visit, the history, review of systems, consultative notes or any other information used to make a medical decision about the patient should be documented. Additionally, documentation should also include a statement that the service was provided through telehealth, as well as the location of the patient and the provider, and the names and roles of any other persons participating in the telehealth service.
What Specialties are in the Highest Demand in the Telemedicine Industry?
1. Internal Medicine
Internal medicine focuses solely on adult patients. This is appealing because most adults have access to the technology necessary for a telemedicine appointment but may not have the time to visit the doctor on a regular basis.
Psychiatry appointments don’t generally need physical exams, which is why it is so popular in the telehealth industry. It allows psychiatrists to treat their patients remotely, which can be incredibly valuable for people who have depression and other mental illnesses and might find it difficult to leave the house.
While you can’t receive an X-ray or an MRI in your home, that doesn’t mean radiologists aren’t in high demand in telemedicine. This industry provides greater access to X-ray diagnostics, especially for patients who visit small hospitals or other facilities that might not keep a radiologist on staff.
4. Family Medicine
Regular checkups are a necessary part of keeping your family healthy, but about 20% of what a physician does during these appointments can be done remotely. This specialty is appealing to families that might not have easy access to clinics.
There’s nothing scarier than helping a child who is running a fever or having trouble keeping food down. More than 20 million people lack access to essential care. Telehealth pediatrics are appealing for parents who have a sick child that might not require an emergency visit.
6. Emergency Medicine
This isn’t a field that will ever be fully replaced by telemedicine, but it could reduce the waiting times experienced by patients that are seeking immediate care. This, in turn, could help to reduce overcrowding in emergency rooms.
Neurology specialists in telehealth can provide remote care for inpatient or emergency patients who may have experienced a stroke, seizure or other neurological condition. Because of the nature of this specialty, this form of telehealth will be used almost solely in hospital settings.
When paired with remote monitoring equipment, cardiology and telemedicine can help reduce the number of missed cardiac events. Machinery can keep track of patients during their daily life, which can provide cardiologists with a more accurate picture of their cardiac health than they might obtain during a limited office visit.
9. Obstetrics and Gynecology
Obstetrics and gynecology comes with a lot of appointments — first monthly, then weekly as specialists monitor fetal development. Remote equipment can be used to take vital statistics like the fetal heart rate from afar. It also provides a huge opportunity for birth control use, allowing patients to receive a prescription without having to make an appointment.
Dermatology doesn’t always need an office visit. Telehealth dermatologists can look at a picture of a rash, a mole or whatever skin issue the patient is dealing with and determine whether they need additional care.
How Can Telemedicine Doctors Ease Their Documentation Burden?
In order to maximize reimbursements for a telemedicine encounter and avoid claims denials, physicians must take the time to create detailed clinical documentation. This can be accomplished most efficiently by dictating a SOAP or other type of note that succinctly documents the encounter. By leveraging ZyDoc’s dictation-based HIPAA-compliant medical transcription services to streamline their workflow, creating robust notes for better charge capture is easy. And, by signing up for our medical transcription services with EHR integration, transcribed notes can be automatically inserted directly into your EHR.
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