By Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer
Guest Post contributed by JT Ripton
Telemedicine is a significant technological and business trend that is influencing medical practice marketing, patient engagement and revenue.
Industry estimates report over 800,000 telemedicine consultations in 2015, and the president of the American Telemedicine Association (ATA), Dr. Reed Tuckson, declaring telehealth a mainstream slice of healthcare.
Advances in tele medicine technology have reduced operating costs with substantial savings for all types of organizations that utilize medical professionals in some capacity. As a medical professional, how can you benefit from the increased usage of telemedicine in the workplace today?
Telemedicine Attracts New Patients
One of the biggest benefits of telemedicine is how it helps patients by streamlining their day. For a busy parent or for a patient who can’t seem to make time for an appointment due to their busy work schedule, telemedicine allows them to interact with a trained physician more conveniently.
In addition to the time-saving benefits, telemedicine offers two primary benefits to the patient. Not only can they minimize the disruption that a doctor’s visit adds to their day, but they are also more likely to address small or early indications of medical problem.
Adding telemedicine to a practice mix attracts many patients to the substantial “convenience benefit.” According to an HIMSS study, less than 60 percent of practices are currently using telemedicine. A jump ahead of the competition is an opportunity to improve new patient growth by capturing patients from the 40 percent of practices that are still on the sidelines.
Reduce Costly Patient Cancellations
Cancellations and “no-shows” can dramatically reduce revenue. A cancellation rate of five to seven percent is considered typical by the MGMA. One study reports “no-show” reasons include logistical challenges with work schedules, taking care of a child, and not having available transportation.
While it will never be able to completely eliminate no-shows from a practice, it can help save thousands of dollars by reducing a fraction of patient no-shows.
Improve Patient Flow
When you have a heavy patient load, one of the biggest bottlenecks that can affect your practice is the speed at which patients are seen every day.
For example, if you find that your schedule is relatively light during the middle of the day, scheduling a number of telemedicine “check-in” appointments during that time can let you connect with patients in quick succession. Fast visits increase the number of patients seen in a day.
Improving Revenue During Off-Hours
Just because your practice is closed for the day doesn’t mean that you have to stop seeing patients. The use of telemedicine allows for after-hours care when it is convenient for both provider and patient.
As telemedicine becomes mainstream in healthcare delivery, it provides a valuable win-win opportunity for practices and patients alike.
Guest Post contributed by JT Ripton, a freelance healthcare, technology and business writer out of Tampa. He loves to inform, educate and provoke minds. @JTRipton
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