- NewYork-Presbyterian is expanding its suite of OnDemand digital health services with a pediatric telehealth offering.
- Pediatric Urgent Care will be available from 6 pm to midnight seven days a week via NYP.org and the NYP mobile application. Using high-definition video conferencing, parents can talk with pediatric emergency physicians about common conditions affecting kids such as fever, cough, vomiting, pink eye and rashes.
- The service will initially cover patients residing in New York state. NYP said it plans to expand coverage to New Jersey, Connecticut and Florida in the coming months.
Pediatric Urgent Care, launched by NewYork-Presbyterian Komansky Children’s Hospital, is the latest addition to NYP OnDemand. Previous offerings include Second Opinion, Adult Virtual Urgent Care and Virtual Visits. The last, a collaboration with American Well, allows patients to connect with NYP’s physician network using a smart phone or computer.
Demand for virtual health services is growing. Virtual visits account for more than half of all Kaiser Permanente members’ physician encounters, CEO Bernard Tyson told business leaders in April. And in a survey published earlier this year, 20% of consumers said they would switch primary care providers to have access to telehealth.
As a result, health systems have been lining up to offer telehealth services. Danielle Russella, president of client solutions at American Well, told Healthcare Dive last fall the telehealth vendor was on track to have more than 70 health system partnerships by the end of 2016. Clients include St. Luke’s University Health Network, Bon Secours, MedStar Health and Cleveland Clinic, among others.
According to a recent Reach Health survey of 436 health care professionals, 36% reported their organization has an enterprise approach to telemedicine and 25% said they are shifting from a departmental to enterprise approach. The two main drivers of telehealth, respondents said, are patient-oriented motivations and reducing costs.
Payers are also recognizing telehealth’s potential for increasing access while lowering costs. In its Medicare Physician Fee Schedule final rule, CMS expanded the list of telehealth-eligible services under the Physician Prospective Payment System to include end-stage rental disease-related services for dialysis, advance care planning services and certain critical care consultations provided virtually.
Still, a haphazard landscape of state telehealth laws has limited reimbursement — and thus services — in some parts of the country. Currently, 48 states and the District of Columbia pay for some form of live video visit under Medicaid fee-for-service, while 22 state Medicaid programs cover remote patient monitoring, according to a report by the Center for Connected Health Policy. In 13 states, Medicaid reimburses for store and forward, while nine Medicaid programs — Alaska, Arizona, Hawaii, Illinois, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Virginia and Washington — cover all three.