Whether you’re a practicing medical doctor or not, you’ve probably heard something about telemedicine by now. After truly getting to understand what telehealth is and how it works, naturally, any physicians’ next questions might be: Why use it? or Why does my medical practice need telehealth?
There is a reason telemedicine is projected to be worth more than $66 billion globally by 2021. Here’s what you should know if you haven’t jumped in already:
1. Get Paid for Services Already Provided for Free
If you’re a caring and concerned physician with adequate bedside manner, you have probably taken a house call at one time or another. From post-op follow-up to answering the questions of concerned patients, every doctor spends a hefty part of their workday on the phone. Not only does this pose an interruption in the physician’s schedule, it also causes unnecessary backups in the waiting room. When you’re splitting your time between phone calls and in-person appointments, you aren’t satisfying either patient to the fullest extent, and you aren’t getting paid for half of the services you’re providing. With telehealth services in your practice, phone calls and HIPAA-secure video visits become a routine part of your day. Now, you can commit more time to handling patients’ phone calls, they will be more satisfied with the visit, and you get paid for the calls you once made for free. After all, time is money.
2. Expand Your Practice
One of the most obvious benefits of telehealth is its added remote access. Your current patients who live far from your office will have an easier time scheduling appointments with the ability to see you over the phone. By offering telehealth services in your practice, you can expand your patient reach beyond the close vicinity of your office, and keep your existing patients happy by adding convenience to their lives.
3. Improve Clinical Outcomes
Research shows that patients who actively participate in their own healthcare have significantly better outcomes. Telehealth helps facilitate patient compliance to medications and physicians’ instructions by making the patient feel more connected to the physician and engaged in all aspects of their own care. Moreover, telehealth reduces hospital readmission rates and unnecessary ER visits by providing patients with the resources to access a doctor promptly at their convenience without resorting to urgent care.
4. Manage Your Schedule
Telemedicine in basic terms means “anytime, anywhere.” Whether you’re traveling or you just want to work from home, if you have a laptop or a smartphone, you’re in business. Not to mention the fact that offering telehealth services to your patients will significantly reduce the number of last minute appointment cancellations and “no-shows.” Telemedicine helps physicians make the most of their time by improving patient flow and maximizing the workday.
5. Lower Your Liability
Without telemedicine, those calls that you are generously servicing your patients with become a liability on your end. Often, off-hour consultations become laissez-faire. If you aren’t documenting every patient interaction, you are putting yourself at risk for malpractice lawsuits. With the use of telemedicine in your practice, all doctor-patient interactions are documented and safely stored in an encrypted database. Telemedicine will protect you from erroneous lawsuits by making documentation of online visits commonplace and helping you inform your future care decisions with your patients.
Everyone knows that doctors are overworked and underpaid. If you are looking to get reimbursed for the care you provide, make your patients happier and healthier, and improve your own quality of life, telemedicine in your practice is the obvious solution. With telehealth, everyone wins.