The most successful modern medical practices leverage technology in a number of ways. Everything from Electronic Health Records to online scheduling and patient portals assist in the delivery of care these days. Medicine, like every other type of business has been impacted greatly by advances in internet and mobile technologies. Vendors who supply technology solutions to medical practices often focus their messages on practice efficiency and patient convenience, both very important pieces of the equation. Today we want to take a look at how technology can impact another critical business metric, revenue.
Increased Case Volume
The obvious limiter on practice revenue growth is the provider’s time. You can only see so many patients in a day, after all. Technology that improves practice efficiency opens up the opportunity for individual providers to see more patients in a day. Adding just a few extra patients a week across all providers can have a big impact on practice income. Telemedicine is one technology that has enabled many practices to work more efficiently, and increase case volume, without hurting the provider’s work/life balance. It also opens up the possibility of seeing patients during non-standard office hours. Providers can pick up a few cases in the evening or on the weekend, offering a valuable service to clients while increasing revenue at the same time.
Fewer Cancellations and No Shows
Although some practices charge patients for missed appointments, many don’t. (There are valid arguments to be made for each approach.) If your practice doesn’t charge patients for no-shows or last minute cancellations, this common problem can take a big bite out of profits. Technologies that notify patients about upcoming appointments via telephone, text message or email, go a long way toward solving this problem. Offering the option of video visits is also a big help, eliminating the challenges, such as missed time from work, childcare and transportation, that cause patients to miss appointments in the first place.
Protection from Competition
The healthcare landscape is rapidly changing. Patients have many new options for receiving care including retail walk-in clinics, and online physician services. These competitors could be eating into your profitability per patient without you even knowing it. Advanced technology may be one way to combat this challenge. People choose these other options because they are convenient and cost effective. By leveraging telehealth technology, you can offer them the same advantages, with the added benefit of consistent care from a professional who knows their history.
Reimbursement for Follow Ups
If you are currently doing follow up calls over the phone, you could be missing out on a big reimbursement opportunity. Most payers don’t reimburse for telephone (audio only) calls, but many do for video visits. Turning some of those calls into reimbursable encounters is a great way to improve the bottom line. It is also a higher quality interaction for patients. The best telehealth technology solutions offer reimbursement verification, so that you can rest assured that you’ll receive payment for each telemedicine encounter. (Chiron Health takes this approach to the max, with our Reimbursement Guarantee.)
There’s no one silver bullet that guarantees practice profitability, but the right technology can make a significant difference on both the expense and income sides of the equation.