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How Telemedicine Helps Practices Succeed

telemedicine successThese days it seems like there’s an app for just about everything. You can use an app to control the temperature in your house, turn on your robot vacuum, book a flight, or even pay your friend back for lunch. It turns out there’s also an app for improving the bottom line of your medical practice. It’s called telemedicine. Offering video visits as an alternative to in-office care to patients is an effective way to delight your customers and help your practice succeed.

Keep Your Current Patients (And Keep Them Happy)

Patients have an increasing number of options for getting care. There are retail-based walk-in clinics, free-standing urgent care facilities, and a host of online options. These alternatives to traditional care are popular with patients, particularly for routine issues like colds, flu, urinary tract infections, skin conditions and the like because they are convenient, fast, and cost-effective. Practices that offer telemedicine give patients the benefits of seeing their regular provider, with the added convenience that video provides. That’s why more and more patients report that the availability of telemedicine is a key factor when choosing a provider.

See More Patients Each Day

Remote visits using telemedicine are more efficient than in-office care. Practices that leverage telemedicine can see more patients each day with the same number of providers in the same timeframe. Many states require insurers to reimburse providers for video visits at the same rate as in-person care, and many insurers do so even where it is not required. This means that increasing the number of daily or weekly visits can have a dramatic impact on revenue with very little added expense.

Reduce Cancellations and No-Shows

Missed appointments are terrible for profitability. They are also bad for patient outcomes. Many of the reasons that people fail to show up or cancel at the last minute are eliminated by video visits. People don’t have to worry about transportation, missing time from work, child care, and many of the other issues that get in the way of a doctor’s visit.

Increase Flexibility and Improve Work/Life Balance

Many practices that offer telemedicine find that the flexibility it allows has a positive impact on provider satisfaction. You might work from home a few hours a week, or shift some appointments to the weekend. Patients appreciate the opportunity to see their provider outside of regular business hours and providers enjoy the chance to take care of personal business during the work week. Because the visits can happen from anywhere, there is no need to add office expense when hours are extended.

Improve Health Outcomes

Video visits make it easier for patients to follow provider follow-up recommendations. They are also a useful tool for medication management, lifestyle coaching, and post-hospitalization care. Increased patient engagement and compliance leads to better health and fewer unnecessary complications.

Delight Your Employees

Medical office workers get excited about video visits because they make the office run more efficiently and remove some of the administrative burdens of having every patient come into the office. With fewer patients physically in the office, waiting rooms are less crowded and calmer, there is less risk of catching an illness from a patient, and office workers are free to work on projects that add value to the practice. The staff also benefits when the practice is more profitable and growing.

Get Paid for Telephone Follow-ups

Most payers do not reimburse providers telephone follow-up. Things like reviewing test results and medication checks typically go unpaid if they are done only via the phone. However, by adding a video component, many of these encounters become reimbursable. Using telemedicine also makes these conversations more likely to be understood by the patient.

Take Advantage of the Medicare Chronic Care Management (CCM) Program

Medicare generally does not yet reimburse for most visits via telemedicine from the patient’s home, but there is an exception. The Chronic Care Management program provides a monthly fee per patient for providers who care for people with two or more chronic conditions. The program requires 20 minutes per month of documented clinical care, for which a video visit qualifies. The CCM program is a simple way to increase practice revenue and provide a valuable service to patients.

Telemedicine technology can really be a game changer for practices that embrace it and implement an effective program. Patients, providers, and office workers all stand to benefit from the approach.