Telemedicine is the Latest Disruptive Force in a Changing HealthCare Landscape

September 29, 2015

Disruptive Telemedicine Technology

It is always surprising how quickly technology can change almost any industry…. from automobiles to televisions and telephones to telescopes;

medical doctors and groups using technology are changing the way in which many of their clients access them.

More patients, Higher Quality, Lower Cost

The Affordable Care Act is proposing to make medicine available to more people, at a higher quality, safer accessible care at a lower price. Achieving just one of these goals is almost unrealistic and unachievable; Telemedicine makes the goal more realistic. With nurse practitioners and physician assistants accessing technology to communicate with patients the concept of a physician extender is broad making healthcare truly more accessible with economies of scale that come from extending technology to every practice in every county and territory cost-containment certain to be a result. Physicians and medical groups have taken advantage of and incorporated telemedicine to their practice: dermatologist , nutritionist, therapists, psychiatrists, radiologists and even some other sub-specialties have all normalized the use of technology/ telemedicine in their practices.

Through email and website portals telemedicine is bringing necessary healthcare to many who would have otherwise avoided it altogether.

The proper way to structure a telemedicine insurance policy

As an insurance broker is important that we view this change in medicine from the standpoint of insurability. Depending on way you structure your medical malpractice policy save thousands present agency make and save tens of thousands detail premium that usually follows claims made malpractice policies.

This is basically what you need in a policy to respond to the risk of claim in telemedicine:

  • Claims made with rolling IBNR – (Tail) occurrence type of coverage rolled into a claims made policy.
  • Easy to administer,
  • Blanket coverage for current and newly added physicians and NPs/PAs
  • Coverage available for reads and services in all states
  • Cyber liability and HIPAA violation defense coverage; this is very important as Data Breach is one of the biggest threats to a healthcare organization.

Our policies are basically maintained by adjusting, editing a spreadsheet and submitting a short application and c.v. when you ‘onboard’ physicians.

It is important to know that the premium grows by the procedures not by the addition of the physician. Because there is a rolling tail or incurred but not reported as they say in the industry there is no cost when a physician cancel premium rises and falls based on variables of specialty services number of consults and annual revenue

As the number of practitioners and medical groups broadens in their use of telemedicine, so does the need for insurance carriers to understand that the only way to cover them is to understand how hey provide service. Telemedicine organizations provide diagnostic and clinical medical services to many different specialties and facilities: urgent care facilities, hospitals, imaging centers, nursing homes, and outpatient medical facilities.

The most common problems that can increase cost or make the group difficult to insure are the following:

Is the practice interstate and can the insurance carrier manage that? Is each cancellation the trigger for expensive Tail insurance?

More important questions to consider:

Administering the policy how does the current insurance policy handle the addition of employed physicians or those who are signed as independent contractors is there a tale generated when they leave can insurance carrier accommodate the addition of physicians and facilities across the country

National or Interstate Carrier as the telemedicine organization grows does the insurance carrier have familiarity with each venue does the insurance company contract the best medical malpractice defense attorneys understand important details telemedicine

Rolling Tail, Cost savings

Does the insurance company have the ability to structure telemedicine policy that does not charge tail when the doctors cancel and in fact can they hold the spot open that so that credentialed physicians can come and go in the premium is not affected by those changes

Separate limit per physician or per incident

The telemedicine medical malpractice policy provide a per incident limit or separate limit for each physician there are advantages to each and it's important to consider premium and the structure for both we have some policies that have a separate limit for the entity and one shared per incident limit with each physician the larger the group is more likely that a per physician limit is required for purposes of credentialing

Do you work with an insurance company that has the capacity to write a limit that is large enough to satisfy some of the large national contracts required of healthcare systems and government entities