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How to Transition Wellness Clients to Telehealth

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Are you considering taking your wellness practice virtual? If you typically meet with your wellness clients in-person, there may be a time (or a need) to move clients to virtual sessions. Perhaps you’re gearing up for maternity leave, moving to a new city, taking an extended vacation — or have to close your office due to unforeseen circumstances. Regardless of your decision to go virtual, offering telehealth services can allow you to continue working with clients without disrupting client care. 

Whether you plan to work with clients virtually for a short period of time, or indefinitely, having a plan of action will ensure a smooth transition into telehealth. 

Learn how to prepare your clients for telehealth sessions and how to make a plan for transitioning to virtual care with this comprehensive guide.

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1. Notify your clients of your transition to telehealth

The very first step you want to take when taking your practice virtual is to alert your clients. It’s important to communicate with your clients as quickly as possible to update them on changes in your business and cancellation policies, availability, and how you are accessible to them. Being as forthcoming and transparent as possible will help to set the tone for your transition to virtual. For many clients, switching to virtual care will be well received — in fact, recent research shows that 70 percent of patients are comfortable communicating with their health care providers via text, e-mail or video, in lieu of seeing them in person. 

Here are some ways you can notify clients of your transition to telehealth: 

  • Send an email blast to all customers on your mailing list
  • Update your email confirmations and appointment reminders to let clients know to reschedule if they are uncomfortable with a virtual session 
  • Text clients with upcoming appointments to remind them their next session will be via phone or video chat, with an option to reschedule or cancel as needed 
  • Update your website home-page with a notification of the new changes

2. Have your clients sign a Telehealth Consent form

Depending on your state, receiving a telehealth informed consent form may be required for your profession (regulations vary by profession, depending on state regulations). In states without strict regulation for dietitians, nutritionists or other wellness professionals, clients may legally only need to provide their verbal consent for telehealth care.

While getting a patient’s consent for telehealth visits may not be a requirement in your state, you may still want to consider having your clients fill out a telehealth informed consent form regardless of the regulations. It’s also best practice to document in every session note that your client verbally agreed to conduct the session using telehealth.

We have created a sample telehealth consent form for you, free for download.  If you are a Healthie member, this form is already preloaded into your account. If you need help accessing it, you can send us an email at hello@gethealthie.com

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3. Verify telehealth benefits with insurance payers 

In the United States, thirty-two states and the District of Columbia have parity laws that cover private insurers and reimbursement for telehealth services. These laws require commercial health insurance companies to cover services provided through telehealth to the same extent as those services are covered in person. However, variances exist across each insurance payer in what telehealth services are covered and how they pay out reimbursements. 

If you are an insurance-based practice, you must check on your clients’ benefits when it comes to telehealth.  Due to the variance in state telehealth laws, there is also inconsistency in how insurance companies define and reimburse for telehealth services. Many insurance companies are covering services conducted via Telehealth at an unprecedented scale and expanding Parity Laws.

How to check your clients’ benefits:

  • Call the insurance provider of your client (and preferably the client) in advance to verbally confirm telehealth coverage
  • Clarify how the insurance carrier classifies telehealth (is it video-chat only, or does it also include phone calls?)
  • Use a HIPAA-compliant telehealth platform (phone, Skype and Facetime are not considered HIPAA compliant) and double-check with the insurance carrier if they have any specifications on telehealth platforms used. In some instances, insurance companies may require a specific telehealth platform to be used
  • Make sure that your professional liability insurance covers for telehealth services.

If telehealth services are not covered by your client’s insurance providers, there are a few options.  You can offer the services at your self-pay rate (how to calculate here), offer a regular or sliding scale payment plan.  

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4. Offer self-pay telehealth sessions when insurance doesn’t cover

In some businesses, providers charge different rates for telehealth and in-person services; in this situation, we suggest keeping your prices the same.  A quick transition to a new type of technology can be overwhelming in and of itself, there is no reason to change prices on your clients as well.  

As for billing, it is important to ask clients to put a credit card on file if they don’t have one already.  This will make it easier for you to charge clients right after each appointment; again, make sure to get their consent to charge the card on file.  This is much easier than sending clients a bill, waiting for them to pay, having to send late notices or even go to collections. 

If your client self-paid for your services, they may still be able to submit the receipt to their insurance company for partial reimbursement, or credit towards their flex spending or health savings accounts. In this event, you should provide them with a Superbill. This detailed receipt of services provides all of the information the insurance company needs to process a health care claim. 

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5. Utilize a HIPAA-Compliant EHR and telehealth platform

Staying HIPAA-compliant while transitioning to telehealth is extremely important.  Before taking a leap into telehealth nutrition appointments, make sure your intended method of communication is HIPAA-compliant. This will ensure your client’s private health information remains secure. 

Popular telehealth methods, such as Facetime, Skype, text messages, and many more are not HIPAA-compliant and could leave your client’s private health information vulnerable. You must create a Business Associates Agreement (BAA) with the third-party communication service provider to require that they uphold HIPAA compliance within their own secure system. 

Healthie’s EHR and telehealth platform is HIPAA-compliant, and for members, a BAA can be accessed here

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6. Determine what virtual wellness services you will offer 

If you are quickly switching over to telehealthcare, it will probably be easiest to keep appointment types and times consistent.  Insurance policies could cause this to change, but try to keep your business as close to usual as possible. If you don’t usually offer other virtual check-ins like food journal reviews and accessibility on chat features, decide if you want to include these in your offerings.  

Tip: Offering additional services like in-between session chat support and food journal review can be a good source of additional income.  Create a monthly subscription package that your virtual clients can sign up for if they want extra support during times of virtual care.  

Working from home could mean setting new availability, as well.  Make sure you communicate with your clients your new hours, and what the sessions will look like.  Where will they take place, how long will sessions be? 

It is also important to decide if you will be taking on new clients at this time.  As you work on transitioning your practice to telehealth, you may not have the capacity to take on new clients. You may also want to take the time to establish your new virtual workflows with existing clients prior to bringing on new clients.  If you decide to put a hold on new clients, you may want to create a waitlist to ensure that you’re capturing information from new prospects.   

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7. Create a telehealth FAQ guide for your clients

As you transition to working together virtually, your clients may have questions. To help support your clients, you may want to create a telehealth FAQ guide tailored for your practice. This can not only help you quickly respond to clients’ questions but also set expectations for working together virtually. 

Generally, your client FAQ guide will answer client questions surrounding: how telehealth sessions will happen, what technology they will need for telesessions, how to test their technology to ensure video and microphone are working, and what fees are associated with telehealth calls. 

For Healthie members, you can visit and print our “Telehealth FAQ Guide for Clients” here to share with clients. 

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How Healthie Supports Virtual Wellness Services

The Healthie Telehealth platform allows you to easily connect with your clients for virtual nutrition and wellness sessions. Even more, virtual care goes beyond video-conferencing. Whether you meet with your clients virtually or in-person, you can utilize the Healthie Telehealth platform to chat, review photo-based food journal logs and share e-documents to support your clients between sessions. 

Explore what’s possible with Healthie’s Telehealth platform: 

✨ One-on-one video calls

Through Healthie, you can create appointments designated as “telehealth.” When clients book a virtual session, they are able to login to their Healthie client portal on a desktop or the mobile app to easily launch a video chat. These high-quality and HIPAA-compliant video chat sessions allow you to easily connect with your clients for virtual nutrition sessions, or between session check-ins.

✨ Group video-conferencing (Integration with Zoom)

Do you want to reach a broader audience without the hassle of renting space and organizing large events? Easily do so by providing group counseling sessions or support groups with telehealth.

Within the Healthie platform, you’ll have the ability to create a new appointment type and indicate that it is a group telehealth nutrition call. Easily add this new appointment to your calendar, and allow clients to enroll or manually add them. To join the call, clients will simply click the “launch” link included in their appointment reminder.

✨ Screen-sharing during video sessions

When working with clients virtually, it’s important to have the same, quality experience, as if you were meeting in-person. One way to ensure there are no laps in care is through screen-share capability during a video call. You, or your client, will be able to click the “share-screen” icon during a call, and easily see the other person’s computer screen. Walkthrough the Healthie platform together, review documents or food logs or trouble-shoot challenges.

✨ Take notes during your client video-call

Take notes on the same screen (not visible to the client) during a session, and save time spent on documentation. Your notes during a call are automatically tied to a client’s chart note, streamlining how you conduct charting.

✨ Host group webinars 

Do you want to reach a broader audience without the hassle of renting space and organizing large events? Easily do so by providing group counseling sessions or support groups with telehealth.

Within the Healthie platform, you’ll have the ability to create a new appointment type and indicate that it is a group telehealth nutrition call. Easily add this new appointment to your calendar, and allow clients to enroll or manually add them. To join the call, clients will simply click the “launch” link included in their appointment reminder. 

✨ Create an online program or educational series

Programs enable you to build, compile, and distribute resources on a specific topic, to an audience of your choosing. The core tenant of a program is that it drips content out over the course of weeks and months, rather than sharing all information at once. Content in a program can include videos, e-mails, documents, surveys and quizzes, and links to external websites.

Ready to get started? 

Healthie’s integration services can help load client info, intake forms, and other business information into the platform.  This will save you time, and you can focus on making sure your clients have a seamless transition to your new communication method.  

Make more time to grow your business.

Use a platform that automates the administrative, so you can focus on growth and care.

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Healthie is the complete practice management and telehealth platform for health and wellness professionals. Healthie makes it easy to run a successful business and build long-term relationships with clients.

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