Telehealth and Telemedicine Services
Telehealth and telemedicine services have become essential due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which means that they are likely here to stay indefinitely rather than just offering another mode of convenience for medical and health care and education services. Essence Health and Research (EH&R) along with Project Thrive have incorporated these services into secure communication platforms with as much effort as possible to be HIPAA compliant for clinical nutrition and public health education services. Jennifer Coomes, the owner and executive director of EH&R and Project Thrive, has completed the required training for all WA state healthcare practitioners to obtain the WA State Telemedicine Training Certificate from the WA State Telehealth Collaborative and will be using this guidance for all telehealth and telemedicine services.
What is the difference between Telehealth and Telemedicine? Simply, telehealth is the umbrella term used for healthcare services provided through virtual communication whether it be live or a service you receive on your own timing. Telemedicine is the mode of communication that telehealth services are provided with such as HIPAA protected video platforms or conference meetings. So, telehealth is the full service that is provided to a patient, client, student, or customer while the mode of communication (video, conference call, etc) is the telemedicine platform.
Telehealth and telemedicine services are designed in such a way to be of the same quality as in person services. If you cannot receive the same quality of service in a telehealth/telemedicine visit, then the service needs to be provided in person. During the COVID-19 pandemic, these services are used primarily to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 and offer more convenience, but they are not always the first option and due to WA state rules and guidance, they may not be the first option of care for certain medical services and drug prescriptions. At EH&R and Project Thrive, there are times when elements of a Clinical Nutrition initial evaluation and follow up visit may need to be in person due to the need to take body composition measures, biometrics, and vitals if they cannot be done at home. Often, a telehealth/telemedicine service will be a convenient option for Clinical Nutrition patients and they are welcome to choose this option.
To help provide Telehealth and Telemedicine services under a HIPAA compliant platform, EH&R and Project Thrive has included a practice management program called Practice Better with the hopes that it will help serve patients and meet their needs during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. New patients will receive an invitation to join the Patient Portal, where records of visits will be maintained and accessible. If there are any questions, please feel free to reach out to Jennifer Coomes at firstname.lastname@example.org.