Telemedicine expands access to healthcare and increases convenience for patients, especially in rural areas. Due to its numerous advantages and spreading popularity, telehealth adoption among hospitals and health systems has grown 31% in the last five years.
As Jason Krantz, CEO of Definitive Healthcare, said in a FierceHealthcare article, “with healthcare moving from fee for service to value-based care and with the increased focus on population health, patient engagement and more personalized care delivery, telehealth solutions and services can help bridge numerous gaps that exist in the current healthcare landscape.” Even though there are plenty of benefits for patients, you may wonder if it’s equally beneficial for your facility.
Although video/webcam technology, text messaging, and other tech-related tools have grown in use over the past few years, it’s important to ensure that you’re covering your costs when offering these options. So, what should you be considering as your ROI? Each hospital’s needs and resources differ, but there could be some benefits you’re overlooking. Read on to discover three less obvious ways your facility can maximize the advantages of using this technology.
See increased efficiency
Ultimately, you want to streamline the entire patient/physician relationship. Each touchpoint can become more efficient with telehealth. Your facility can reduce costs and increase data accuracy through monitoring and storing data electronically. In addition, telehealth decreases emergency room visits by allowing fewer non-urgent admits. By alleviating patients’ travel burden, your no-show rates are likely to decrease as well, leading to fewer cancelations and lower costs for your facility.
As Healthcare Finance reports, efficiency can be achieved by notifying several doctors “Uber-style” that there is a request for a patient consultation. Then, the doctor with availability can choose to accept the call. Many telemedicine offerings also enable easily integrated follow-up appointments. Since patients are often unlikely to keep up with their follow-up care, telehealth helps ensure continuity and encourages a continued relationship.
Reach new patient populations
Telehealth opens the doors for a variety of new patients. In addition to improving the timeliness of healthcare delivery, facilities in certain locations may greatly benefit from the ease of scheduling. In heavily trafficked urban areas, patients may struggle to get to a medical office or facility, which may deter them from going. Offering telemedicine can help alleviate office appointment overbooking and makes appointments easier for patients to keep. Patients who may otherwise overlook your practice may find the convenience of telemedicine attractive.
Positive patient experience enables you to expand and provide additional care without needing to build a new facility. Even if your in-patient facility is full and you don’t have the capacity to add face-to-face consultations, telemedicine enables your facility to book visits without impeding office traffic.
Additionally, patients can receive answers to questions about ailments and treatments without the hassle of travel. Broadening your reach without creating new facilities will surely help improve your bottom line and allow your hospital or health system to provide superior care to your surrounding communities.
Expand brand recognition
You may not see this benefit immediately, but offering telehealth services can help boost brand recognition. Your priority is delivering quality care to patients, and to do so your facility must come to mind when patients require care.
Increasing access to medicine through virtual visits helps patients use your practice or facility as a consistent resource. By increasing efficiency and continuity of care throughout the patient journey, you solidify your brand and show patients that you’re invested in their care. Then, patients are far more likely to see your hospital as a knowledge resource for answering questions, and they may even be more apt to report early warning signs of health issues, helping you deliver quality care.
Telemedicine is a real value-add. At a time when healthcare is becoming increasingly consumer-focused, the convenience of telemedicine services may encourage patients to recommend your practice to others, broadening your outreach and network. Think of telemedicine as being similar to a billboard on the side of the road—it attracts attention but also offers a wide range of tools to make a difference in patients’ healthcare.
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