- What is telemedicine?
Telemedicine (also called telehealth) is the remote delivery of healthcare services and clinical information using telecommunications technology. Ochsner CareConnect 360 provides a wide array of clinical services using innovative internet-based technologies to connect providers to patients on-site.
- Is telemedicine new?
Actually, Ochsner has been providing telemedicine solutions since 1998 with remote imaging of patients in distant hospitals! Since then, Telemedicine has rapidly grown to be a significant component of healthcare in the United States. Over half of all U.S. hospitals now use some form of telemedicine. Today, the Ochsner CareConnect 360 telemedicine network includes 40 hospitals with 110+ services, and we continue to build innovative telemedicine solutions to help patients remain healthy wherever they are.
- Is telemedicine safe?
Yes. Guided by technical standards and clinical practice guidelines, and backed by decades of research and demonstrations, telemedicine is a safe and cost-effective way to extend the delivery of health care. Ochsner CareConnect 360 adheres to the American Telemedicine Association (ATA) standards, guidelines and best practices for healthcare providers to ensure that we deliver the highest level of telemedicine care.
- Do private insurance plans usually cover telemedicine services?
Louisiana, Mississippi, 29 other states and the District of Columbia require that private insurers cover telehealth the same as they cover in-person services. Many other insurers cover at least some telehealth service, and many more have expressed interest in expanding their telehealth coverage. To find out if your insurance company covers telehealth services, please contact your benefits manager.
- Does Medicare or Medicaid pay for telemedicine services?
Medicare: Yes, in certain circumstances. Many “telehealth” services, such as remote radiology, pathology and some cardiology, are covered simply as "physician services." For traditional fee-for-service beneficiaries living in rural areas, Medicare covers physician services using videoconferencing. The ~14 million beneficiaries in Medicare Advantage (managed care) plans, have complete flexibility in using telehealth, as long as their provider offers the service. ATA is pushing the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, and Congress to remove the arbitrary restrictions that limit telehealth coverage, so that all beneficiaries can get this great benefit.
- Why is telemedicine important for rural health?
Telemedicine is a game-changer for rural health. Telemedicine allows patients at distant sites to receive specialized care in their own communities and avoid long travel times for appointments. Given the shortage of some medical specialties in rural America, telemedicine will also play an important role in ensuring patients in rural communities can access the care they need. For example - If a patient in a rural area is experiencing a stroke and the closest stroke specialist is 60 minutes away, a local hospital with telemedicine services can connect the patient with a specialist through Telehealth technologies quickly on-site, instead of asking the patient to travel to another community to obtain care.
- Where can patients get access to telemedicine services?
Patients should ask their doctor, hospital or healthcare provider about telemedicine services that are already available.
- Is the Ochsner CareConnect 360 Program HIPAA compliant?
Absolutely, we provide the necessary technical safeguards to insure patient confidentiality and we comply internally. We can guarantee that the required technical controls for safeguarding the confidentiality of our customers' Protected Health Information (PHI) will be in place at all times and will not allow any unauthorized disclosure of PHI.