Patients are rethinking the way they view their personal care – even if their providers have not quite caught up with the times. They are looking at their smartphones, laptops, computers, and other pieces of technology and forming an expectation that the healthcare portion of their lives are soon going to be more integrated. Patients are on the move, reaching one another in an instant, communicating face-to-face from different buildings, and forming relationships online. While individuals still want in-person human interaction, that does not necessarily apply to their medical care. Providers must begin thinking about this when they are brainstorming ideas on how to improve relationships with their patients now and in the future. A tool that is no longer new to health care but is continuously changing how care is delivered to patients is telehealth. Providers who add telehealth to their practice could change how their practice functions forever. Here are four reasons to add telehealth to your practice in 2019.
1) Making the switch
“Making the switch” is not referring to providers making the switch by choosing to add telehealth, but rather patients making that switch. It has been reported that 20% of patients with young children will switch to a practice just because it offers them the option of a telehealth visit. While this may seem like a shocking number at first, it makes complete sense. For a parent with a young child, having the option to keep their child at home in bed instead of trekking them all the way to the doctor’s office is a seemingly life-saving alternative. This, or having the option to quickly visit with a provider who has made the decision to add telehealth to their practice may give them the opportunity to still make it into work that day, helping them keep their job. For parents with young children, if a provider has not “made the switch” and chosen to add telehealth, then they will make the switch in the end to a different provider.
2) Increased Compliance
Providers understand the struggle that comes with trying to get a patient to attend a follow-up visit. It can feel like pulling teeth. A follow-up visit is important for multiple reasons. It helps a provider check-up on patients to make sure they are staying on top on their medications, following their care plan, and assess the patient’s overall well-being in response to their diagnosis. Not only this but follow-up visits bring in vital revenue to the practice. Providers who add telehealth see an increase in patient compliance with follow-up visits for a number of reasons. The biggest one being that patients feel a follow-up telehealth visit is less of an inconvenience to their routine, therefore more manageable. With this increase in patient compliance, providers who add telehealth will see improvements in many areas of their practice.
3) Add Telehealth = Add Visits
While there are patients who come to their doctor with every symptom, big or small, it is far more likely that most patients only come in when absolutely necessary. This happens because they do not want to interrupt their routine for what seems to be a cold or a minor symptom. While it may just be a cold, sometimes symptoms are the root of a much larger issue. Providers who add telehealth will see patients start to increase the number of times they visit in a year, whether it be for major issues or a seemingly small symptom. This is because when providers add telehealth they create an atmosphere that helps their patients feel like it is no big deal to quickly get checked out by their provider. Adding telehealth to your practice will quickly increase the number of visits you see from your patients.
4) Quality Payment Program
Under the Clinical Improvements category of the Quality Payment Program, providers who choose to add telehealth have the opportunity to earn more points, and better reimbursement rates. By expanding how patients can interact with practice, providers offer patients new opportunities to engage with their providers. Telehealth not only offers patients a new way to engage with their providers, but it offers them the options to conveniently and securely access them without disrupting their day.
Providers who add telehealth offer patients the technological aspect they are looking for in their healthcare, increase patient compliance with follow up visits, increase the number of visits they see, and increase earnings through the QPP. Add telehealth to your practice today.