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Telehealth vs in-person visits: Should you charge the same?

Posted on June 23, 2020

Charging the same price for a telehealth visit is reasonable if a patient is getting the same value as an in-person visit, said Eugene Shapiro, MD, professor of pediatrics and epidemiology at Yale School of Medicine, in an article published in Infectious Diseases in Children.

Although telehealth visits have been used in the past, the enormous increase in recent months have left some patients and doctors trying to navigate what the new normal should be.

Dr Shapiro said he has mixed feelings on charges for virtual visits because a physical examination is not done, but that may not take away from the value of the visit, since the physical exam is not always an important factor when making a diagnosis.

“The appropriateness of charges may vary depending on what the purpose of the visit is. If it is a routine visit for follow-up of a chronic condition — for instance, high blood pressure — there is not much that needs to be done, generally, in person, as long as a reliable value for the blood pressure is available. If it is somebody with a new problem — for instance, fever and sore throat — you may need to get a swab to test for something like strep throat, which you cannot do remotely, but you can tell them to come in to get the necessary laboratory tests, whatever they may be,” he wrote.

 

Reference

Should telehealth appointments cost the same as in-person visits? Infectious Diseases in Children. 2020;6. Available at: https://www.healio.com/news/pediatrics/20200622/should-telehealth-appointments-cost-the-same-as-inperson-visits

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