How a telemedicine appointment works
A telemedicine appointment uses technology to create an experience very similar to an in-person visit.
- On the day of the telemedicine appointment, the patient checks in at the remote site and is taken to an exam room equipped with interactive video technology.
- The provider will connect to the appointment with an interactive video conferencing system. As with an in-person appointment, providers often start by asking about the patient's medical history and the specific ailment.
- During the appointment, a telemedicine site coordinator (typically a registered nurse) will remain in the room to assist the patient and provider.
- The provider will end the appointment the same as an in-person appointment by providing treatment recommendations, requesting a follow-up visit, ordering lab work, or referring to another doctor.
- Telemedicine providers send copies of their notes to the patient's primary care provider, if requested.
Obtaining a referral
To set-up a telemedicine consult, patients require a referral from their primary care provider or local mental health provider. For children needing a telemedicine consultation in a school-based clinic, referrals can be made by school nurses or psychologists.
Paying for the appointment
Typically, telemedicine is paid by the patient in the same way he or she would pay for an in-person visit. Because telemedicine is not a separate specialty, just a way of delivering health care, Medicare, Kansas Medicaid and many private insurance companies will reimburse for covered services delivered over telemedicine. However, reimbursement for services provided via telemedicine is not universal. Some insurance companies do not provide a telemedicine benefit or may only cover selected billing codes.