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Telehealth FAQ

Telemedicine uses telecommunications technology to provide clinical care to patients at a distance. This can take the form of real-time video visits, remote patient monitoring, or store and forward.

The terms telemedicine and telehealth are often used interchangeably, however telemedicine is actually a subset of telehealth.  Telehealth is different from telemedicine because it refers to a broader scope of remote healthcare services than telemedicine. While telemedicine refers specifically to remote clinical services, telehealth can refer to remote non-clinical services, such as provider training, administrative meetings, and continuing medical education, in addition to clinical services. For more information visit the HealthIT.gov site: How is telehealth different from telemedicine?

Telehealth/Telemedicine is not a medical specialty; it is simply the means of bringing patient and providers together.  This delivery method is essential for moving healthcare closer to patients and meeting the need to expand care.

This is determined by each individual provider. Some telehealth providers in Wyoming require the first visit to be in-person, while others do not. The establishment of a patient-provider relationship via telemedicine is not prohibited in Wyoming.

There can be little to no cost to start a telehealth program.  To assist with low-cost implementation, the Wyoming Telehealth Network provides no-cost, HIPAA-secure Zoom videoconferencing licenses to individuals and organizations interested in implementing telehealth.  Zoom is a web-based system that runs on hardware and software found in most organizations and homes (including PCs, Macs, laptops, tablets, and smartphones).  

If required, peripheral devices (such as digital stethoscopes, digit otoscopes, etc.) can be purchased to support telehealth implementation.  The costs for these vary based on the model and seller of the devices.

Insurance reimbursement varies.  In many cases, payers will reimburse, and often at the same rate as an in-person visit.  Each payer has different policies for reimbursement, which update frequently, so please check with each payer you work with to understand their rules and policies.

Wyoming Medicaid currently reimburses telehealth visits at the same rate as in-person visits.

Videoconferencing software is designed to be easy to use.  Patients and providers with a basic familiarity of online apps should be able to quickly figure out how to use a telehealth application.  For more assistance, training and technical support are available at no cost through the WyTN.  

Yes, but only when it is conducted using an encrypted platform that was designed for that purpose. The no-cost Zoom platform available through the WyTN is HIPAA-secure and is commonly used throughout the U.S for telehealth. Be aware that certain consumer apps like Facetime and Skype may not be secure enough for telemedicine visits.

While telehealth technologies are secure, it is the responsibility of the health care provider to ensure that they are meeting security requirements.  This includes maintaining a Business Associate Agreement with all technology providers.

As long as providers maintain their standard of care, the quality of a telehealth encounter is the same as an in-person visit. Providers can effectively conduct a number of services over telehealth, including: assessing patient wellbeing (mental status, pain level, and physical symptoms), conducting clinical histories, consulting with specialty providers, and identifying if the patient needs in-person care.

Limitations do exist, so it is up to the provider to use their best judgment.  Telehealth is a tool to facilitate the delivery of health care, not a replacement for traditional medicine.

At minimum, patients and providers need a computer, laptop, or mobile device with a camera, microphone, and speaker. A decent internet connection is needed at both ends of the telehealth encounter. Ideally, speeds should be at least 15 Mbps download and 5 Mbps upload, but there are no set rules. Video streaming can occur with slower speeds but these speeds will provide a clearer video experience. For more information on recommended internet speed, visit HealthIT.gov. To test your internet speed go to speedtest.net.

This is based on the comfort level and technological capabilities of each provider.  Some of the more common conditions treated by telehealth include: allergic reactions, cold/flu, cough, diarrhea, pink eye, sinus infection, sore throat, rash, vomiting, and other general illnesses.

Another use for telehealth is medication management, as telehealth can have significant impact on medication adherence. Additionally, chronic care management and follow-up appointments can be efficiently conducted via telehealth since the provider is already aware the patient’s condition

Telehealth has many benefits for patients, providers, healthcare facilities, and communities.  Simply put, telehealth improves access to treatment, continuity of care, and overall health outcomes, all at reduced costs.  For more information on the benefits of telehealth, please refer to the About WyTN page.

Contact Us

Wyoming Telehealth Network

1000 E. University Ave., Dept. 4298

Laramie, WY 82071

Phone: 307-766-2944

Email: wy-telehealth@uwyo.edu

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1000 E. University Ave. Laramie, WY 82071
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