Telehealth At PrairieCare

Photo Credit – Nicole Honeywell, Unsplash

Thank you for your interest in telehealth at PrairieCare! Below are some frequently asked questions about how telemedicine is provided in our facilities.

ATTENTION FORMER USERS OF PRAIRIECARE ONLINE – Please note, the PrairieCare Online platform was shut down on October 31st, 2019. All telemedicine sessions are now completed using a new service. If you would like to continue your care online, please contact your provider directly or reach out to us at onlinehelp@prairie-care.com.

What is telehealth/telemedicine?

According to the American Telemedicine Association (ATA), telehealth includes patient consultations via video conferencing (commonly referred to as telemedicine), transmission of still images, e-health including patient portals, remote monitoring of vital signs, consumer-focused wireless applications and nursing call centers, among others. Telehealth has been used in psychiatry for many years and has proven a safe and effective way to provide care.

What underlying system supports telehealth at PrairieCare?

PrairieCare utilizes Skype for Business, a convenient, safe platform that offers assessment and or treatment via online video conferencing.
How do I access telehealth sessions with my clinician?
All patients accessing telehealth must be pre-approved by their clinician before a telehealth session. There are many benefits to for both providers and patients, in particular for those patients or clinicians traveling far distances to offer or receive care or for those who may have difficulty traveling for various reasons. Clients interested in telehealth sessions should discuss the option directly with their clinician.

What are the technical requirements for telehealth at PrarieCare?

You will need a reliable internet connection, a webcam and speakers/headphones (these come with most laptops). Also, you will want to verify your bandwidth at http://www.bandwidthplace.com/. If your download or upload speed is lower than 1 Mbps, the video will work, but it will not be optimal and you could experience some difficulty.

How can I assure my privacy?

PrairieCare Skype for Business is encrypted and HIPAA-compliant. We recommend using a privately owned laptop or desktop computer and a wired internet connection. You will be responsible for making sure that you are in a private and soundproof space for your session.

Do I have to download anything?

You will need to download the Skype for Business web app. When clicking on the hyperlink sent to you via email for your session, you will be taken through the set up process. As this takes time, please login 15 minutes early for your first telehealth session or even the day prior, to be sure you are ready for your appointment.

Will my insurance pay for telehealth sessions?

Effective January 1st, 2016 all private health plans issued in Minnesota, before or after January, 2017, are required to cover telehealth services at the same level as in person services and previous patient location restrictions have been removed. If uncertain, clients are encouraged to contact their insurance company to ask about coverage.

How can I make sure I have a successful online session?

Login early, and create a quiet/private space to prepare for your appointment. If you find PrairieCare’s environment helpful, try to mirror this environment. Also, assure you meet the technical requirements listed above.

*Resources for the development of this checklist include the American Psychological Association’s (APA) Guidelines for the Practice of Telepsychology (July 2013) and the American Telemedicine Association’s (ATA) Practice Guidelines for Video-Based Online Mental Health Services (May 2013)