As health care becomes increasingly customer-centric, telemedicine services are gaining momentum as a popular alternative to traditional medical care. Recent tech innovations, including utilizing mobile devices for video-based doctor visits and advancements in IoT for remote patient monitoring, have assisted with the increase of telemedicine service popularity in recent years among patients.
For health care providers, the changes in mandates regarding how they can be reimbursed for telehealth visits, including CMS recently finalizing its plan to expand telehealth access and coverage in Medicare Advantage plans, have assisted with the rapid implementation rates. According to recent reports, the use of services increased as 1 in 5 physicians now offer telemedicine services. Properly integrating telemedicine service is crucial for expanding a practice, increasing profit margins, and driving efficiency.
Expanding Geographical Reach
The rapid adoption of telemedicine has also assisted in addressing recent U.S. population growth and a larger patient pool with aging demographics and an increase of chronic conditions. By allowing providers to have a larger geographical reach, communities with limited specialized physicians or even basic health services options can now have the access to the care they need to easily manage their conditions with less travel time and expense.
The virtual office setting created by telemedicine, grants providers increased flexibility by offering appointments over an extended time period, including same-day appointments. By properly leveraging this capability, providers can improve their work-life balance while remaining accessible to their patients.
Ensuring Practices are Prepared
With the capability to assist with addressing physician burnout and the current strains on the health care system by minimizing the number of nonemergency in-person visits at ERs, providers need to invest in technology infrastructure and solutions that improve the overall efficiency of their practice. Efficiency is essential for not only assisting with delivering quality care to patients but a profitable return by securing proper provider reimbursement and creating patient loyalty by ensuring financial satisfaction.
As providers look to invest in their practice to include telemedicine as part of their portfolio of services, they need to consider addressing value-based care contract requirements and ways to remain compliant with HIPAA, in addition to laws and regulations that may differ from state to state. To ensure that they are able to provide patients with a quality experience, features practices need to thoroughly research beyond video solutions include:
- Support for low bandwidth
- EHR integration
- HIPPA payer management services
- Patient management systems
As more patients begin embracing telemedicine services, it is vital for providers to implement solutions and services that will assist with long-term financial success. Failing to thoroughly understand how to incorporate telemedicine services puts providers at risk of lower profit margins and stagnant patient growth.