Slowly but surely

Slowly but surely

Slowly but surely it’s becoming the norm for health plans to reimburse physicians for online consultations. The leader in this field is (my client) RelayHealth, which has been hammering away on this theme since 1999. Of all the doctor/patient messaging companies they were the only one to realize the key was lining up the health plans. Nice to see it finally starting to take off.

June 8, 2006

6 thoughts on “Slowly but surely”

  1. David,

    Are pediatricians getting paid for this?

    Medem charges the patient. This means essentially that no one will pay for it, so I don’t charge them.

    BTW, Medem used to come free with membership in the Mass Med Society. Now that my patients are all signed up, Medem started charging me.

    Shame!

    best,

    Flea

  2. Flea,

    RelayHealth’s model is to arrange reimbursement from the health plan. Some health plans apply a co-pay (typically lower than the office visit) and some don’t. In any case, there are many transactions short of full-blown webVisits, e.g., brief notes, Rx renewals, appointment reminders, followup notes, that aren’t charged.

    David

  3. Many of my patients contact me through email – it would be nice to be reimbursed for these interactions (they take time and expose me to liability).

    If there was a clear way for our office to be reimbursed, all the providers in my office would feel much better about communicating electronically with our patients. Right now, most of us consider it a somewhat undesireable “back door” way for patients to get to us (without going through the front desk staff or paging service). Effective and reliable reimbursement would be an incentive to continue this type of communication (most patients seem to appreciate this option).

    Does RelayHealth have any electronic communication structured to address specific diseases (a la “disease management models”)?I could see the benefit of having my diabetic patients, or hypertensive patients electronically sending in their BP measurements or blood sugar measurements for my review, between appointments (but in a structured way)….
    -An IM doc.

  4. The original model wasn’t structured around chronic disease but over time the company has moved toward focusing on those populations. It’s particularly effective for chronic care patients to communicate with their physicians between office visits, e.g., for adjustment of meds.

  5. Connecting this with the entry re., coumadin clinic management – I could see how a good email system could facilitate “home management” of coumadin (and help the provider be reimbursed for their role in the process).

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