The genesis of this post was a question my neighbor asked. How do I find a telemedicine provider in Texas? Candidly, I didn’t have a very good answer. So off to the internet I went.
(I’m personally not a regular telemedicine user. Admittedly, my telemedicine knowledge was very dated because my best memory was of the public opposition various Texas Medical groups had prior to COVID.)
Especially for Texas. The COVID pandemic will go down in history as the single largest contributor to the launch of telemedicine despite parts of the medical community’s strong resistance. Prior to the pandemic in my home state of Texas, various medical groups were adamantly opposed to any sort of electronic based medical delivery. On April 10, 2015, the Texas Medical Board (supported by the Texas Medical Association(TMA)) voted to restrict the practice in Texas. This was the culmination of a four-year battle between the Medical Board and Teladoc, a Texas-based company providing telephone or video consultations for routine issues like sore throats, urinary tract infections, rashes, etc.
Then COVID happened and on March 13, 2020 in response to the Governor’s Statewide Disaster Proclamation, the Texas Department of Insurance issued an emergency rule mandating telemedicine services “receive parity with the payment and documentation requirements applicable to in-person services.” I won’t detail everything that has occurred between then and now but suffice it to say the TMA now has a section on their website “Telemedicine in Texas” which provides step by step resources on developing a Telemedicine practice.
All of this, however, does not answer the question of how to find a telemedicine provider.
Here’s my list of recommendations:
- Teladoc is an established provider of telemedicine services. If you’re not interested in doing a great deal of research and have a relatively simple and straightforward issue, this is a good starting point.
- Your insurance company.
- A major healthcare system within the community. Since COVID, many major Systems have developed telemedicine call centers.
- Specialty Societies: Just a few examples
Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology
Academy of Dermatology
Academy of Orthopaedics Surgeons
Academy of Pediatrics
American College of Cardiology
- State Medical Associations
Depending upon where you’re located can have a significant impact on what resources you will be able to find relative to Telemedicine. Some areas will be advanced and others will still be very much developmental. Like most things competition will have an impact on how advanced programs will be.
You would be well advised to seek references if you’re unfamiliar with the provider you’ve contacted.
Finding a Telemedicine provider requires the same level of due diligence finding a provider you plan to meet face to face.