COVID-19. If it seems like everywhere you turn there’s a mention of it somewhere, that’s because there is.
The popularity of telehealth services is due in large part because COVID forced our healthcare systems and those who frequent them to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Which, in turn, pushed through a flood of telemedicine technology and software advancements.
These advancements have made telehealth more accessible to patients, sure, but it’s also made providing telehealth services more convenient for nurse practitioners to provide their patients. Here are some helpful tips for starting your own telemedicine practice as a nurse practitioner (NP).
Think Outside the Box
To avoid opening up your blossoming practice to an overly saturated market (and with that, competition) it’s important to find a niche for your practice. When starting out, many NPs will seek to tie their practice directly to primary care but fail to recognize that there is an influx of providers already in that field.
The great thing about telemedicine is that while it’s growing, it’s already a niche. But as an NP, you have the opportunity to focus on specific subsets of population, treatments, or services. Maybe you’re not ready to jump right in on your own, if you want to test out the waters, there are flexible contract options like those found at GoodRx Care.
Know the Rules
Do you know if it’s possible to practice independently as an NP in a state that supports independent practice while you are licensed and physically reside in a restricted state?
You will want to become familiar with the following:
- License and prescribing requirements of home and telemedicine states
- How to ensure HIPAA compliance and other patient privacy and security requirements
- Reimbursement requirements from Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurers
The more you know about current telehealth regulations (both state and federal), the more you’ll be able to identify business opportunities that may or may not work for your practice. A great place to start is the American Telemedicine Association.
In addition to licensure requirements, you’ll also want to research some additional items when setting up your telemedicine practice:
- Do I need to create an LLC?
- Do I need an Employee Identification Number (EIN)?
- Will I accept insurance? Do I need a National Provider Identifier (NPI)?
Telehealth Tools for Nurse Practitioners
The central tenet of telemedicine is the ability to practice remotely, in order to do this, you’ll need to invest in, and become adept at using, many forms of technology and software.
With the telemedicine boom surrounding the global pandemic, telehealth software development also took off — even Zoom is offering a compliant healthcare option.
- When looking for a platform that suits your needs and business goals you should consider:
- How much are you willing to spend?
- How many staff members will need training and to use this platform?
- Will you self-install or work with a partner agency?
- Is this easy for my patients to understand?
- Do I need to integrate with my organization’s electronic health records?
Pivoting into a career in telemedicine can be overwhelming but being informed can help to alleviate many of the hurdles you may face along the way. At MedLink, we’re here to help. Contact us for a confidential career strategy session.