Virtual Visits and Technology Changes – Are You Prepared?

Virtual Visits and Technology Changes – Are You Prepared?

Like many aspects of modern life, the healthcare industry depends upon the ability of the organization to obtain and process information at a very fast pace.  In an environment with such a tight-margin, the ability to acquire necessary data quickly and efficiently can mean the difference between success and financial failure.


Many believe the long-standing business rule of profit being made of pennies is even more accurate in healthcare. Therefore, the continued push to look for ways to come up with new technologies and/or processing methods, however small, exists prominently in the industry. The concept is that a thousand hidden ideas driving operational changes will move your operation forward into a more efficient delivery model. We continue to see many other industries make drastic transformative changes because of technology efficiencies that have enabled substantial growth such as banking, mobile devices, etc.


The healthcare industry, specifically the front-end patient facing area, is currently in the middle of one such transformation. Biometrics, Telemedicine, Shared Medical Visits, and Interactive Provider-Patient Chat Sessions via the internet are challenging the traditional standards of the “patient registration” process. Increased regulatory guidelines and/or data capture requirements from Meaningful Use, HiTech, HIPAA, and multiple other restrictions have created added administrative processing at the point of contact with the patient prior to services being rendered. The types of technologies available in this area soon will more than likely be closely linked to reimbursement activities and focused on how front-end transactions support-value-based and/or performance-based models.


Telemedicine and/or Virtual Visits are areas that our clients continue to move towards.  Most of our clients are doing site-to-site virtual visits to assist with load balancing and credentialing issues.


Often, our clients are unaware there are two parts to a Virtual Visit when billing from one office site to another.  There is an originating site (where the patient presents) and is often referred to as the Spoke Site.  Then, there is the servicing site (where the provider is), and this site is often referred to as the Distant Site.  The Spoke Site is allowed to bill for a nominal facility fee while the Distant Site bills for all the services the provider orders, including tests or radiology services.  Depending on the sophistication of your Practice Management System, you may have to register the patient in both systems and add charges from each site, or your system may have the ability to perform simple claim splitting tasks to allow you to capture the charges appropriately for each location. 


If you are thinking of adding Virtual Visits to your practice and would like assistance, give me a call at 903-213-2799 or send me an email at [email protected]


 Stacy Calvaruso is the CEO of Medical Practice Success. She has over 20 years of experience optimizing medical office operations and revenue cycle management.