Physicians: How to Prepare for the Second COVID-19 Wave
Written by Ayan Monpara, MD
IN A NUTSHELL:
- Proper credentialing avoids expiration of credentials, licenses, malpractice insurance
- Reduce HIPAA deficiencies within the workplace
- CME can increase workplace efficiency
AUSTIN, Texas – Federal officials are sounding the alarm that the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic is yet to come, but there are ways that physicians and medical facilities can be prepared.
At the end of April in an interview with The Washington Post, CDC Director Robert Redfield warned that when COVID-19 cases spike in the fall, it is going to be more difficult and potentially more complicated because it is likely to coincide with the start of flu season.
A week later in May, The New York Times published an article citing an internal document obtained by the publication that stated the daily death toll is slated to reach about 3,000 on June 1. That figure is nearly double the current daily total of about 1,750 deaths. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) forecasts about 200,000 new daily cases of COVID-19 by the end of May. This is an increase from the approximate 25,000 daily cases the country currently sees.
Importance of Medical Credentialing:
With all of that in mind, physicians need to be prepared ahead of and during the next wave of COVID-19 cases. Physicians may likely be called upon to travel to other facilities to assist with the massive spike in patients, in which case they would need all of their medical licenses, education, malpractice insurance history, and other documents verified for every and any facility they would work at.
This is the case for all health care providers that will inevitably be called upon, such as travel nurses and primary care providers.
Learn how Ready Doc™: Expedites the credentialing process, helps physicians maintain compliance, makes all of your medical documents readily accessible in a secure repository.
Importance of HIPAA Compliance:
All health care professionals must adhere to HIPAA. This focuses on protecting the patient’s health information.
With the increase in electronic use, this task has become more complicated. Hackers and scammers are a constant threat to HIPAA security. Medical and hospital data are attractive targets for cyber theft and virus attacks.
The act of losing your smartphone or computer can result in a breach. Most people use these devices to communicate via portals, email, or text. These interactions may include protected health information. Failure to comply with HIPAA can cost physicians tens of thousands of dollars, with annual maximums ranging between $250,000 to more than $1 million. There is also the possibility of a physician losing their license to practice medicine or spend time in prison.
Intiva Health offers a HIPAA-compliant messaging solution for desktop workstations as well as Android and iOS mobile devices. Ready Doc™ Messaging is a secure, encrypted application that protects patient information and meets HIPAA guidelines. Users are able to manage digital protected health information (PHI) correspondence and streamline care team coordination via one accessible, user-friendly platform.
Ready Doc Messaging offers a key feature set including:
- Secure Messaging: Messages are kept private with a fully encrypted, end-to-end, secure communication solution.
- Priority Messaging: High priority messages stay at the top of the recipient’s inbox and specify a unique alert for instant differentiation.
- Message Forwarding: Messages can be forwarded to other colleagues with ease.
- Custom Groups: Customizable forum type discussions can be created for open and ongoing dialogue between colleagues and specific topics.
- Delivery Confirmation: Receive notifications instantly when messages have been sent. Check read status and more.
- Message Recall: Recall messages and attachments before they have been read.
- Secure Attachments: Securely attach and share instantly any type of media.
Learn More: Read our White Paper: How To Stay HIPAA-Compliant in The Digital Age
Importance of CME:
All physicians must meet Continuing Medical Education (CME) requirements to maintain licensure and practice privileges. This can present a challenge in terms of time and finances. However, you can find free CME courses to complete online when your schedule permits. Continuing Medical Education requirements ensure that physicians practice in a responsible, effective, and efficient manner. It improves patient outcomes, decreases health care costs, and increases the quality of care.
CME topics recommended for physicians include:
- Physician management responsibilities
- Education about teaching methods for medical school faculty
- Physician practice management strategies to improve patient services
- Coding and reimbursement for medical diagnoses and procedures
CME increases physicians’ awareness of actions that cost billions of dollars in lost health care income each year. They also emphasize the increasing rate of inappropriate payments and exploitation. Very few physicians set out to abuse or defraud the health care system. Yet, almost all physicians add to the waste. Lack of correct documentation, medical necessity, and coding errors led to $30 billion in overpayments in 2011.
Tips for Choosing the Best Free CME Credits
- Seek Activities That Are Relevant Over Time
Look for programs that provide broad, lasting information and reference material. Medical knowledge changes frequently. Therefore, programs that offer ongoing updates make the offering more valuable and long-lasting.
It’s helpful to review webinars, podcasts, or other materials when you need them.
- Look for CME That Will Improve Your Performance
During your daily rush, it’s easy to continue old patterns that may have more productive solutions. Attending performance-improvement CMEs can show you ways to work efficiently.
You will learn about evaluating specific performance measures and how to improve. The course will provide a roadmap for achieving these goals. It also helps enhance the structure and process of your practice benefits for patients.
- Find Programs That Address Medical Ethics
Medical ethics CME is part of many states’ licensure requirements. These programs address issues related to organ donation, patient confidentiality, and physician well-being.
Informed consent is a hot topic inside and outside of medicine. Businesses now must get consent before they store or use personal identifiable information. The medical community has practiced informed consent for decades.
Still, it’s important to remain vigilant when obtaining patient consent. Attending CME offerings helps keep your knowledge current. You will also learn about the impact of technology on this process.
- Seek Out Offerings that Make You More Tech Savvy
The medical field is now infused with technology. Paper charts are becoming a thing of the past. Physicians now receive test results via online portals.
If you are not comfortable with technology, it’s time to make the change. Breakthrough information is now delivered via electronic media. Colleagues interact through email, text, conference calls, and webcams.
Decision-support tools are part of the diagnostic and treatment process. This technology uses algorithms to aid in the detection of abnormalities. They also offer information related to treatment plans.
These innovative strategies increase the quality of care, decrease errors, and detect early signs of adverse events. It also improves efficiency and patient satisfaction.
- Find Programs About the Current and Future Direction of Your Specialty
Advances in health information and technology doubles at a faster pace every year. Physicians must act to ensure their knowledge remains current, which in turn improves the provision of safe, effective, and current care for patients. Physicians who practice life-long learning have increased job satisfaction and productivity. It allows you to play a vital role in implementing new policies, practices, and technology.
- Attend Pharmaceutical CMEs to Stay on the Leading Edge When Prescribing
In 2017, entities that credential controlled substance prescribing instituted new CME requirements. This applies to all medical professionals who prescribe controlled substances.
The goal is a safe, appropriate, and consistent standard of care when prescribing. These rules apply in particular to opioid prescriptions.
Advances and changes in FDA approvals, formulations, and side-effect profiles change often. New immunotherapies and biologics are in the market and offer new treatment options. It’s important that physicians remain current so that their patients receive state-of-the-art care.
Do You Need to Complete CME for Your License?
Many health care professionals wait to complete CME courses at the last minute. It takes discipline to keep up with CME. This is especially true if you must take time off and spend money on travel and conference fees. Intiva Health is here to help ease your CME burden. We have developed an online platform to allow you to get your CME at no cost. We offer information on career management and current medical topics.
Once you complete a program, you will receive instant verification. You can upload and share the credentialing documents. It all happens in one place and gets you back to work faster.
Contact us today to learn more and start earning free CME credits.