Texas Governor Greg Abbott said he wants to permanently expand access to telemedicine services that have surged during the COVID-19 pandemic. In March, Abbott lifted certain regulations on the types of health care services that can be offered over the phone or through video calls. He also issued an emergency rule to compensate health care providers for telemedicine visits at the same rate as an in-person visit.
In this week’s State of the State address, he urged the Texas legislature to pass new laws to require full coverage of telemedicine services for state-regulated plans, like those obtained through the Affordable Care Act marketplace, and Medicaid. “We should seize the opportunity this session to permanently expand telemedicine so that every Texan in every region of the state can benefit,” Abbott said
Our friends at Porch.com have compiled some very helpful tips for increasing your available internet speed. https://porch.com/advice/simple-wifi-tips-improve-internet-speed-lockdown
Clocktree recommends that providers and clients have a minimum internet speed of 5 Mbps for a reliable video and audio connection. You can test your internet speed at www.speedtest.net.
In addition to the tips from Porch.com, here are some top troubleshooting tips for successful Clocktree calls:
- Restart your computer or mobile device just prior to the session and don’t open up other browser tabs or apps
- Reduce the number of people using the WiFi network, so all available bandwidth goes to the Clocktree call. Others on the same network should avoid streaming videos during the Clocktree call.
- If possible, connect the computer via ethernet cable instead of WiFi
- If using WiFi, go to a room where WiFi reception is good
- If on a mobile phone, switch between WiFi signal and data signal (4G, LTE) to see which is better. WiFi is usually stronger but not always.
A recent survey of 2,767 dentists in 20 states found that 34% of providers are currently using some form of telehealth to treat patients or plan to in the near future.
The study, conducted by DentaQuest Partnership for Oral Health Advancement, also found that:
- 75% of providers who use telehealth services expect their telehealth volume to increase or stay the same during the next 12 months
- Public health providers are more likely (44%) to use telehealth than all other practice types (21%)
Among providers, the report found that those in public health settings used telehealth the most, along with those in states like Pennsylvania, Washington, Florida, Kentucky and Arizona — likely as a result of favorable payment and coverage policies in those states. Additionally, providers who are not seeing their patient volume return to near-normal levels, serve primarily Medicaid patients and anticipate long-term changes in dentistry were more likely to embrace telehealth. Dentists with more than half Medicaid patents were 39% more likely to use telehealth platforms.
“Telehealth brings a wide range of benefits to the future of oral health care. It is key to expanding value-based care in our communities and improving outcomes for both oral health and overall health,” said Dr. Myechia Minter-Jordan, president and CEO of the DentaQuest Partnership for Oral Health Advancement and Catalyst Institute, Inc. “As we continue to leverage telehealth as a short-term solution for the pandemic, we must ensure its longevity to make it part of the dental ecosystem moving forward. That means taking the necessary steps right now to remove barriers that may prevent the widespread adoption or utilization of telehealth in the future.”
Clocktree was designed specifically for healthcare providers, with privacy and security of client data being a vital foundation of our platform.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is a federal law passed in 1996 which requires secure handling of an individual’s health information (PHI). The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, passed in 2009 and revised in 2013, provides a national standard for health information technology and strengthened the privacy and security protections spelled out in the original HIPAA laws. This act extends HIPAA security obligations to business associates. If you are a healthcare provider who uses Clocktree to manage client data, Clocktree is considered a business associate. Clocktree will extend a Business Associate Agreement (BAA), with your practice as the covered entity.
In accordance with HIPAA and HITECH laws, we have implemented the following physical, technical and administrative safeguards to ensure privacy and security of your clients’ data.
- All data is encrypted in transit and at rest
- HTTPS and AES 256 bit encryption**
- Servers include automatic data backup
- Every user has their own username and password with no support for shared logins
- Accounts are automatically logged out after 30 minutes of inactivity
- Infrastructure is behind a firewall and accessible by limited Clocktree staff
- Clocktree staff have undergone HIPAA compliance training and certification
- Clocktree has Business Associate Agreements in place with all 3rd party providers
- Unless permission is granted, no PHI is included in communications outside the Clocktree platform
- Restricted Clocktree staff access to PHI
- On site HIPAA Compliance Officer
- BAA available to all registered Clocktree practices
We take client privacy and security seriously at Clocktree and do everything we can to ensure HIPAA compliance. Please check with your legal counsel if you have specific questions regarding your practice’s compliance with HIPAA regulations.
**Some technical implementation details may change in the future.