Telehealth allows physicians to stay connected and provide care to patients without an in-person visit through the utilization of telecommunications.
Why should I utilize telehealth in my practice?
Telehealth allows for the continuation of care in a way that reduces the likelihood of infection and transmission of disease and eases the strain on the delivery system.
For these reasons, the CDC has recommended care be delivered virtually during the COVID-19 crisis as the best way to protect patients, physicians and medical staff. Beyond COVID-19, telehealth grows practices and improves access to care by providing alternative points-of-care and appealing to the technology-enabled populations.
What should I consider when implementing telehealth into my practice?
- Select a telehealth platform (see platform selection considerations below)
- Set up needed technology and equipment
- Incorporate telehealth into your existing workflow
- Inform patients of new telehealth offering
- Inform medical liability insurer of new telehealth offering
- Consider the services and circumstances under which these services are being provided for reimbursement.
- Schedule visits with patients
- Keep webside manner in mind (wear white coat, conduct video in private setting, say “hello”, check audio and visual)
- Obtain patient consent for the service before or at the start of the visit
- Triage patient care
- Integrate devices (Apple HealthKit, Tytocare, etc.)
- Obtain patient payment at time of service
What other things should I consider when selecting a telehealth platform?
There are a variety of telehealth solution options, with the most common being EHR-integrated options and standalone options.
- EHR-Integrated Options: Offered through EHR system, permits integration with one or more telehealth solution platforms.
- Standalone Options: Permits use of your own EHR system and practice management services, while offering a telehealth solution directly to a practice.
- Note: During COVID-19, federal and state privacy rules are not being enforced, temporarily permitting nonpublic facing remote tools such as Skype and FaceTime.
- Training Modules
- Patient Forms – intake and consent
- Scheduling assistance
- Point-of-care patient payment collection
- Patient engagement & marketing support (push notifications, emails, office flyers)
- Device integration, allowing data to be pulled from at-home devices and used during the visits (Apple HealthKit, Tytocare)
- Clinical decision-making support
- Ability to use with existing patients and under existing payer contracts vs. joining a medical group
Consider barriers to access. The more platforms a telehealth solutions operates on – mobile application, desktop browsers, etc. – the more options your patients will have.
- Time to get the platform up and running
- Equipment, upload/download speeds, and operating system requirements
- Technical support offered
- Optimal browsers
- Ability to upload and store files/photos
- Support of chat, mobile health, live videoconferencing, and/or remote patient monitoring
Federal and state privacy and security (HIPAA, HITRUST certified).
Vendor Compare List
Innovitae Solutions has created a Vendor Compare List to help you and practice determine what telehealth services you need to successfully conduct remote visits with your patients, and what various vendors offer. Below, Innovitae Solutions identifies a best-in-class vendor recommendation.
Innovitae Solutions has conducted a thorough vetting process to identify the best-in-class telehealth solution for California physicians. Based on this process, considering the level of tools, services, and platform quality provided, Innovitae Solutions recommends the following Amwell telehealth solution offerings:
AMWELL PRIVATE PRACTICE
Customizable platform for your practice to see your own patients.
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AMWELL MEDICAL GROUP
Virtual medical group to see new patients.
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More information on each solution offering can be found here:
Innovitae Solutions and Amwell have created a virtual Private Practice offering for physicians in California. The Private Practice builds on Amwell’s world-class enterprise platform but is customized to best serve the needs of practices of 1 to 100 physicians. This solution can be implemented quickly but is designed to support a practice in the long-term, as telehealth has become a fundamental part of the way health care is delivered. California physicians have access to Amwell’s Private Practice platform at a discounted rate for the next twelve months. The telehealth solution can be branded for each private practice and enables physicians to continue to see their own patients and operate under their own payer contracts.
Amwell’s Private Practice offering includes:
Amwell’s Private Practice pricing:
- A branded telehealth practice with clinical workflows
- Online physician enrollment and onboarding
- E-learning assets with virtual video trainings for physicians and staff
- Communication and marketing materials to promote your practice
- Scheduled appointments with your patients
- Ability to collect patient payments at the time of a visit
- Reporting and visit summaries to assist with documentation and billing
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- One Time Setup Fee: Discounted to $250
- Monthly Fee: $150 per provider, minimum $500 per month
- Monthly fees waived through June 2020, during COVID-19
To help meet the surging demand for care, any California licensed physician can also sign up through CMA to see new patients through Amwell’s affiliated clinical partner, the Amwell Medical Group (AMG). AMG is an NCQA-certified virtual medical group that practices 24 hours a day, 7 days a week throughout the year, delivering urgent care and behavioral health care to patients on Amwell’s telehealth platform.
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Frequently Asked Questions
- Telehealth Implementation
- Amwell Partnership
- Amwell Private Practice
- Amwell Medical Group
Telehealth is a mode of remote care delivery using electronic information and communication technologies. Under California law, it is defined as “a mode of delivering health care services and public health via information and communication technologies to facilitate the diagnosis, consultation, treatment, education, care management, and self-management of a patient’s health care while the patient is at the originating site and health care provider is at the distant site.” Cal. Business and Professions Code 2290.5
Some malpractice coverage does not draw a distinction between traditional care and telemedicine or telehealth. Other malpractice coverage may not cover telehealth and would require underwriting approval or change in coverage and premiums before telehealth services can be provided. However, most of these malpractice companies have relaxed those restrictions and will not require prior underwriting approval or a coverage and premium change for telehealth services provided during the state of emergency.
As such, you may want to reach out to your malpractice insurer to inform them you are practicing telehealth, if it is a new modality of your practice.
During the COVID-19 outbreak, please refer to CMA’s COVID-19 Telehealth Toolkit document for the most up-to-date information on telehealth considerations.
Above, we identify the telehealth platform options and key considerations most practices will want to consider prior to selecting a platform. The considerations include the overall experience of the physicians, their office staff, and their patients, as well as technological requirements, compliance and pricing of the platform. Based on these options and considerations, we identified Amwell’s telehealth solution as one of the top standalone solution offerings.
As a standalone solution, Amwell’s offering allows practices to continue to see their own patients under their own payer contracts, while sitting alongside their pre-existing EMRs and practice management solutions. Amwell’s Private Practice includes the ability to customize physician workflows, collect patient payments, engage and direct patients to your practice, and leverage the power of the Amwell physician ecosystem. Amwell’s offering is also easy-to-use for both physicians and patients and is highly secure, satisfying federal and state privacy and security standards and is HITRUST certified.* Finally, we recognize that telehealth is new for many practices. Amwell offers trainings to help practices provide the best possible virtual visits for themselves and their patients, as well as technical support.
*We note that while federal and state privacy laws are not being enforced during the COVID-19 outbreak, a secure telehealth solution is best practice both for the short- and long-term.
Innovitae Solutions and Amwell have partnered to provide Amwell’s telehealth solution to all California physicians. Physicians have two choices, depending on their needs.
- Amwell Private Practice offering
The Private Practice offering is Amwell’s standalone solution that works alongside a practice’s EMR and practice management systems. The solution is considered best-in-class and can be branded for the practice, while enabling physicians to continue to see their own patients under their own payer contracts. Pricing and other details are outlined above.
Sign up here: providers.amwell.com/private-practice-cma.
- Amwell Medical Group (AMG) offering
The AMG is Amwell’s virtual medical group where physicians can sign up to see new patients for free and are compensated for their time. Patient traffic is driven from Amwell’s health plan partnerships, employer relationships, and direct-to-consumer marketing efforts. More details above.
Sign up here: providers.amwell.com/cma.
Amwell Private Practice
Amwell Private Practice offers a telehealth solution beyond basic video conferencing services. Amwell’s Private Practice includes the ability to customize physician workflows, collect patient payments, engage and direct patients to your practice, and leverage the power of the Amwell physician ecosystem. In addition, Amwell is HITRUST certified, so you know you are using a highly secure, HIPAA compliant platform.
Amwell’s Private Practice delivers a health-system grade platform and is trusted by over 2,000 hospital systems nationwide. The product allows you to effectively scale your telehealth services in the future, with the ability to add scheduling integration, EHR integration, and insurance/claims handling services into your platform.
Yes, you can sign up for both Private Practice and Amwell Medical Group (AMG). You can use Amwell Private Practice to virtually visit with your own patients and use AMG to conduct virtual visits with patients in need. Physicians practicing on both Private Practice and AMG can leverage Amwell’s central provider hub to service both patient populations from one dashboard.
Any specialty can build a Private Practice on Amwell to see their existing patients virtually. You can customize your workflows for your unique specialty.
Amwell Private Practice includes e-prescribing functionality within the provider platform.
Amwell Private Practice does not include malpractice insurance – we suggest that you reach out to your current insurance carrier to ensure you are covered for practicing telehealth.
The Amwell platform is cloud-based – therefore, no software downloads are required to use Amwell services. Both physicians and patients can conduct video visits on a web browser. For web visits, we suggest using the latest versions of Chrome or Safari. Patients also have the option to download the Amwell Private Practice app (iOS or Android) to their mobile device to conduct a video visit with their physician.
You’ll just need one of the following:
- A computer with an internal or external camera; a microphone; and a speaker for sound. We recommend using the latest versions of Chrome or Safari as a web browser.
- An iPhone or iPad with the camera enabled and our provider app downloaded. We recommend using a stand for your phone or iPad during visits to keep the camera stable.
All practices pay an initial one-time setup fee for $250, plus a monthly service fee per physician of $150/month. Practices fewer than four physicians pay a flat monthly service fee of $500 per month. All physician monthly service fees are waived through June 2020, in response to the COVID-19 emergency.
Amwell Private Practice allows physicians on any EHR to practice telemedicine while continuing to use their existing EHRs for clinical needs. Amwell does offer Epic and Cerner integration for large health systems. Often smaller physician practices cannot afford these large-scale EHRs, but we could discuss this option with physicians who are running Epic and Cerner.
Key Private Practice onboarding requirements include:
- Professional Educations info (e.g., NPI, specialty)
- Bank routing and account numbers to deliver patient visit payments
- Taxpayer identification number (TIN) for tax and reporting
- Headshot photo for your profile
Amwell Medical Group (AMG)
AMG supports physicians specializing in Urgent Care, Behavioral Health, and Nutrition services. At this time, AMG does not support additional specialty physicians.
Joining Amwell Medical Group is free, and physicians get compensated for their time.
Yes, Amwell Medical Group does include malpractice insurance as part of the physician group membership.
Patients seeking care come in through our Amwell patient platform via web or mobile app. Once on Amwell, they can browse services by specialty and will only be presented with services offered by physicians licensed in the state the patient is located in at that moment. Amwell’s health plan partnerships, employer relationships, and direct-to-consumer marketing efforts drive patient traffic onto the Amwell platform. Patients have the opportunity to pay out-of-pocket for their visit or enter their insurance information. All insurance billing and collections activity is managed by Amwell Medical Group and is not the responsibility of the physician.