As the COVID-19 crisis swept the country, telehealth services became a must-have for many medical practices. When asked what initiatives helped most amid the pandemic, 60% of healthcare leaders pointed to adding or expanding telehealth services, a Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) Stat poll found.
Aside from enabling your practice to “see” patients even if your physical office is closed, how can telehealth improve care — and benefit your practice?
Read on for five ways.
Provide convenient access to care
Practices can expand access to care — and provide care for more patients — through virtual visits that patients can fit conveniently into their schedules. Practices can also use telehealth to encourage preventive care appointments, which contribute to long-term health benefits.
Telehealth can even provide a means to overcome healthcare disparities affecting underserved populations. Patients in rural areas face obstacles to care, including longer travel times to healthcare facilities and limited availability of specialists. But if rural patients have the necessary internet connectivity for telehealth, practices can ensure they have easy access to the care they need.
There are benefits for elderly patients, too. Telehealth offers a way to receive care from the comfort of one’s home, without having to arrange transportation or risk exposure to COVID-19 or other illnesses.
As practices focus on bringing care to more patients and expanding access to new populations, they can benefit from greater patient volume and increased revenue.
Manage chronic conditions more effectively
Alongside patient engagement solutions, telehealth can play an important role in remote care management programs for patients with chronic conditions. Through telehealth visits, providers can remotely manage care for patients who may be at higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19.
Taking advantage of the Chronic Care Management program developed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) can provide your practice a new revenue stream, in addition to improving patient outcomes.
Patients with chronic conditions aren’t the only ones who could benefit from improved outcomes because of telehealth. Integrate virtual visits into your practice’s patient engagement strategy to increase patient involvement in their healthcare.
Having patients fill out forms on the patient portal before their virtual visit is one way to introduce them to the portal and prompt them to create or access their account. This can point patients to the portal for resources, educational materials, test results, appointment scheduling, and more.
Additionally, you can leverage patient messaging to send reminders for upcoming telehealth visits and any information needed to set expectations beforehand. After the visit, patient messaging can help you follow up with patients and remind them to schedule another appointment, if needed.
Through telehealth, your practice can ensure care continuity and prevent gaps of time between appointments.
Patients who must still receive care in person will have greater satisfaction when your office isn’t crowded, and those who can take advantage of virtual visits will appreciate the time savings and convenience of not having to travel for their appointment.
Increase practice efficiency — and revenue
Telehealth also presents the opportunity to boost efficiency and cash flow. For instance, your practice could add telehealth appointments outside your current office hours to expand your billable time, while reducing overhead such as exam rooms or staff needed during these extended hours.
Another way that telehealth can help your practice is by reducing revenue lost to no-shows, especially those related to transportation issues. Since telehealth visits enable remote care, last-minute car problems or traffic won’t prevent your patients from getting the care they need.
As practices follow social distancing guidelines, some have staggered appointments on their providers’ schedules to reduce the number of patients in the office at one time. To make up the difference in patient volume and maintain revenue, practices can fill the gaps between in-person appointments with virtual ones. Read this blog on balancing provider’s schedules with telehealth.
Looking to get started with telehealth? Greenway® Telehealth™ — coming in fall 2020 — is our new virtual care solution, designed with the provider and patient in mind. With this secure, HIPAA-compliant telehealth solution, you can provide care remotely, increase engagement, and improve workflow efficiency with an easy-to-use interface. Find out more here.
CLICK HERE to learn why high-performing practices across specialties choose Greenway Revenue Services. Or watch our 3-minute overview video HERE.