Routine follow-up visits are an important part of high-quality healthcare. They allow patients to ask questions, ensure that a condition has been adequately treated and hasn’t worsened, and help patients remain compliant with their provider’s recommendations. For some patients, the hassle and expense of following through with follow-up (pun intended) visits can be too much. That’s why more providers are introducing telemedicine technology and offering follow-up care via video.
Types of Visits
The following types of visits are excellent candidates for remote follow-up.
Medication Management – One common reason for a follow-up visit is to ensure that prescribed medications are working to treat the condition, that the right dose was prescribed, and that there are no serious side effects. In many cases, this can easily be done via video.
Test Result Review – Whether there are abnormal test results that need additional investigation, or everything came back within range, there is usually no need to have the patient come into the office to discuss the results.
Counseling – Often the recommendations following an acute care visit include lifestyle changes such as weight loss, or smoking cessation. Providers can help patients tackle these difficult challenges by following-up with advice and counseling provided via video.
There are many benefits to this approach for patients.
- No missed time from work
- No need to make childcare arrangements or bring children to the office
- No wasted time traveling or transportation costs
- No exposure to other patients who may have communicable infections
Providers benefit as well.
- Office overhead associated with in-person visits is eliminated
- Remote visits take less time than in-person ones, so more patients can be seen each day, increasing revenue
- No-shows and cancellations are eliminated or reduced
- Patient outcomes are improved
Video vs. Phone
Providers who currently provide follow-up services via telephone, often do so without reimbursement because most payers don’t provide payment for telephone-only encounters. On the other hand, many payers do offer payment for visits conducted via telemedicine. In fact, many states require parity for video visits. Shifting from the phone to telemedicine for follow-up visits is an easy way to increase revenue without much additional effort or expense.
Patients have a lot of options these days when it comes to healthcare. Practices that offer the flexibility and convenience of remote follow-up care will be best positioned to earn the loyalty of current patients and the business of new ones.