Since the Covid-19 pandemic, the workplace has largely shifted to remote or hybrid work. Technology has evolved making it possible to do almost anything from the comfort of your living room. Telemedicine, a concept that began around the 1950’s, became even more popular amongst the pandemic. With a rise in telemedicine come a rise in claims. It is important to have the proper telemedicine insurance coverage in place as the healthcare space continues to change.
First, lets address what telemedicine is. According to the dictionary, telemedicine is the remote diagnosis and treatment of patients by means of telecommunications technology. In other words, doctors and medical professionals can service clients through different modes of technology. These modes include but aren’t limited to real-time telemedicine, remote patient monitoring, and store and forward practices. Real-time telemedicine would be considered your phone call or video chat, where doctors and patients fulfill an appointment in real time using technology.
Remote patient monitoring is typically the transmitting of information from medical professionals to their clients via technology. Finally, store and forward practices involve sending sensitive information such as lab results, reports, or imaging to the client. These types of telemedicine present a unique challenge to insurance underwriters as a new array of risks are present.
It is also important to note the difference between traditional medicine and telemedicine, especially its impacts on insurance carriers. Traditional medicine is exactly what is sounds like, i.e., traditional. Meaning a patient schedules an appointment, attends the appointment, and is treated in-person by the doctor.
Traditional medicine has its perks as real-time, in-person, interactions allow the quality of care to be higher. The assessment, communication, and overall satisfaction from traditional medicine is substantially higher. Telemedicine, on the other hand, is not the case. It promotes convenience, efficiency, and timeliness. Doctors can treat more patients by way of telemedicine. Telemedicine doesn’t have the history or standard of care that traditional medicine offers, making it riskier to cover.
The risks associated with telemedicine revolve around the lack of standards. Traditional medicine has been the norm for decades, is easier to assess, and offers more direct communication. Telemedicine on the other hand is the opposite. It is still a relatively new concept that offers more challenges. With telemedicine, an assessment lacks the accuracy of a traditional appointment. We could see a rise in claims resulting from failure to diagnose, or misdiagnosis. Communication is also not as direct by means of telemedicine.
Unhappy patients could result due to the lack of social cues and other communication methods that are normally picked up upon in person. Aside from the risks stated, the law of large numbers doesn’t apply yet. Telemedicine, on this scale, is too new to be able to accurately insure granted that every risk hasn’t yet been accounted for.
Why is a broker extra important when it comes to telemedicine?
Brokers are licensed insurance professionals. As a broker, we have the education and resources to best service your needs. When it comes to telemedicine, a broker is extra important because they will be the intermediary between yourself and a carrier to offer you the best price possible, for the most adequate coverage possible. As the telemedicine industry continues to evolve and standardize, we will be right there with you able to update and constantly improve your coverage. Choosing the right broker is also important. At eQuoteMD, we have highly qualified and experienced professionals willing to go the extra mile to ensure you are taken care of.