Telemedicine is a tool that makes health care more cost-effective and accessible. It uses information technology and telecommunications technology to deliver health care and clinical services to patients. With telemedicine, physicians can share health information with a patient using state-of-the-art EHR systems or a video conference tool compliant with the U.S. Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
Many health care providers are incorporating telemedicine into their organizations. According to the American Telemedicine Association, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting medical care through telecommunications technology, more than half of all hospitals in the country use some form of telemedicine. Millions of patients across the globe also use telemedicine to stay healthy (and out of the emergency rooms).
If your medical practice has yet to adopt telemedicine, consider the following reasons for doing it today:
- Makes Health Care More Accessible to Patients
Telemedicine platforms expand the reach of your practice by improving patient access to medical care. With this technology, you can easily deliver treatment to patients with disabilities and individuals living far away from your practice. Instead of asking doctors to visit the patient’s house in person, physicians can do a “virtual house call” and perform consultations and treatments.
- Reduces Clinical Wait Time
Wait times have a major impact on patient experience and satisfaction. A report from Patient Engagement Hit revealed physician offices tend to get lower patient satisfaction ratings when the wait time is long. Three out of ten patients who experience long wait times leave before seeing a physician. Additionally, 20 percent of patients are switching to a different health care provider due to extended wait times.
Telemedicine is an effective way to cut down on clinical wait times. Patients won’t need to allocate extra time in a doctor’s office or clinic to wait for an available physician. With telemedicine, doctors and hospitals can use virtual platforms to see their patients online.
According to a study conducted by researchers from the University of Iowa, hospitals that employed telemedicine services decreased patient wait times by six minutes (on average) compared to health care facilities that didn’t use this tool.
- Improves Patient Engagement
Telemedicine encourages patients to take an active approach in their treatment. Virtual visits engage patients and make positive health outcomes more likely. Patients are also less likely to miss doctor’s appointments if they have the option to see a doctor remotely.
Telemedicine is also ideal for patients who are experiencing mental health conditions. Individuals suffering from anxiety, for instance, can take advantage of this form of technology and proactively see a doctor without leaving their house.
- Decreases Costs for Medical Providers
Telemedicine helps health care providers generate cost savings. A report published by HealthLeaders Media revealed that the net cost savings for telemedicine per patient visit are in the range of $19 to $120.
This innovative tool also reduces the cost of medical services. Health care specialists, for instance, can serve more patients with telemedicine.
- Reduces Physician Burnout
The work-related syndrome involves a reduced sense of personal accomplishment, mental and emotional exhaustion, and negative or cynical attitudes toward patients and medical staff. Many physicians across the country are suffering from this condition. A survey from The Physician’s Foundation revealed 78 percent of doctors experience feelings of burnout.
Telemedicine may help decrease physician burnout. This telecommunications technology offers more flexibility in a doctor’s work schedule. Physicians, for example, can designate “telemedicine days” (specific days of the week when they can see patients remotely) to combat burnout. Instead of driving all the way to the doctor’s office or clinic, physicians can see patients from the comfort of their homes.
- Increases Your Bottom Line
Telemedicine can play a role in increasing the revenue of your health care practice. With this tool, you can extend your clinic hours to accommodate more patients remotely. And you need not spend extra on office utilities and staffing.
Another way to generate revenue with telemedicine is to use physician extenders in a virtual environment. A physician extender is a certified and trained professional who delivers basic medical services under the guidance of a licensed physician.
Both the patient and the health care provider are not required to travel during these medical visits, helping you cut costs and making your medical service more convenient for both parties.
Remote care doesn’t have to apply only to patients in remote places. Thanks to cutting-edge technology, innovative health care facilities can provide much-needed services to the public.
The right systems can decrease costs and simplify processes for clinics and hospitals. Primary care physicians, from infectious disease doctors to pediatricians, can also provide the best possible care for every patient. Moreover, health care providers can secure the stability of the business and continue to serve its communities.
In adopting telemedicine for your practice, you can enjoy the benefits it has to offer without sacrificing patient satisfaction.