How can Telemedicine Benefit both the provider and the patient?
There is no doubt that the face of patient care is changing. Today’s patients are busier, technology savvy, and in need of digital solutions.
Telemedicine-also known as telehealth, is not the only digital innovation in modern medicine. Today’s Electronic Medical Records are adapting digital solutions for convenience, portability, and easy access by patients. Rapid spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) forced an abrupt shift in the traditional North American health care delivery model to meet the needs of patients, staff, and communities.
These challenges, coupled with the rising costs of modern medicine have many practitioners not wondering if telemedicine is the right move, but rather which telemedicine option is the best move for them. However, it is important to closely examine the issue to find out if it is the right solution for your practice and your patients.
Telemedicine Improves Access to Care
Canadians may have universal healthcare, yet according to Statistics Canada, 4.8 million Canadians don’t have a family doctor. Most of these patients are in Quebec, British Columbia, and Saskatchewan. Quebec leads the country in the number of patients without a family doctor with 25.6% of the population without access to care.
The issue is largely geographical as 92% of the country’s doctors work in urban areas, leaving rural areas underserved. In the past it was believed this would be best rectified with offering incentives to physicians to relocate to rural areas. However, today telehealth offers a modern solution.
Telehealth offers a viable solution to this issue by giving patients living in rural areas access to more providers. It also allows patients to access care in their communities without practitioners having to relocate to rural areas.
Telemedicine has many applications over many specialities.
- Enables specialists to consult with remote or inaccessible patients
- Post-acute care consultations
- Chronic disease management and patient monitoring
- Virtual consultations across a variety of medical disciplines, including psychiatry, oncology, maternity and pediatrics.
Care for the Housebound and Elderly
In the recent past many family doctors were expected to provide house calls in order to provide care to those who are unable to travel for in-office visits. The availability of virtual care offers the ability for a physician to provide these ‘house calls’ in a convenient way.
This is an important service to provide. Research shows that compared with the overall older population, homebound elderly patients in general suffer from higher rates of cardiovascular, metabolic, cerebrovascular, and musculoskeletal diseases, as well as more cognitive impairment, dementia, and depression.
Housebound individuals are accessing emergency healthcare. They have higher rates of emergency department use and nearly twice the rate of annual hospitalizations as those who are not homebound. In addition, they also have high rates of chronic medication use
In the United States, this demographic represents at least 1 million individuals and as many as 3.6 million individuals.
In Canada, the numbers are not available, but we could conservatively estimate that there are at least 100,000 older homebound Canadians.
Telehealth is Growing Quickly
While Telemedicine improves access to care, studies show that patients want telemedicine, even when they have other options.
Fair Health did an in depth study of 29 million US private telehealth claims. They discovered claims related to any type of telehealth grew 624% from 2014 – 2018.
Usage of telehealth claims in urban areas increased 1,227%, versus a 897% increase among rural telehealth claims. These numbers show that telehealth is desired even when there are traditional options easily available.
Telemedicine is Convenient for the Modern Patient
Telemedicine is an attractive option for the modern patient. In the past, families often had one parent in a designated stay-at-home caregiver role. Unfortunately, today’s families are often not able to facilitate visits to the doctor.
According to Statistics Canada, the number of dual income families with children has almost doubled in the last 40 years. Canada has seen an increase from 1.0 million to 1.9 million families, from 1976 to 2015.
During this period the proportion of single income families dropped by more than 50%-from 59% to 27%. In turn, the proportion of dual-income families has nearly doubled, from 36% to 69%.
With these numbers in mind, the in office visit is not convenient to the modern family. A traditional in-person visit in the office often requires a patient to take time off of work, find childcare, and rearrange their schedule.
However, a virtual healthcare visit could easily be done during a break in the workday or from the comforts of home. It does not require any travel, childcare or loss of income.
Offering your patients the option to choose a virtual appointment when appropriate gives your patients a convenient way to manage their family’s health. It also offers the flexibility necessary to allow your patients to get care from their primary care provider, rather than having to rely on after-hours walk-in clinics.
Virtual care allows you to service the needs of the modern patient in a way that is convenient and easy both for the patient and the practitioner.
Reducing the Cost of No-Shows
With the many steps most may take in order to make an in-person appointment, no-shows and last minute cancellations of appointments are inevitable.
The UK’s National Health Service revealed in 2019 that a 5% no-show rate cost the system £216 million pounds in a year. The average no-show rate is about 23% internationally.
With Your Doctors Online Virtual Clinic, your patients are able to schedule their appointments within a mobile app and receive push notifications to remind them of their visit. Instead of having to rearrange a large part of their day in order to facilitate their appointment, they can have a virtual appointment in only a few minutes.
Patients Appreciate the Convenience of Virtual Care
This is a convenience that many patients enjoy. In fact, a 2016 National Institute of Health survey of 3,000 patients indicated between 94 – 99% of respondents were “very satisfied” with telehealth. Furthermore, one-third of the respondents stated they preferred the telehealth experience to an in-office doctor visit.
Provide Care where it is Needed Most
However, virtual care is designed to complement office visits and not replace them. By offering a virtual consultation when appropriate, you are able to see your patients in an efficient manner and address serious cases as needed. Virtual care provides an easier access to care for those who really need it.
The virtual care model keeps waiting rooms full of only those with the highest need and lets your patients rest at home when they are ill.
Telemedicine is Secure
One of the biggest concerns to physicians when it comes to a virtual care solution is security. Your Doctors Online Virtual Clinic is compatible with HIPAA and PHIPAA with respect to personal health information storage and transmission of data between user and device.
Furthermore, patients are validated through two-factor authentication to ensure that the doctor is indeed talking to the respective patient.
Data preparation and backups of data are regularly maintained with active integrity checks enabled. Data between the patient and physician is encrypted during transmission and at rest leveraging AES 256-bit encryption keys.
In addition, to better help keep up to the latest standards, Your Doctors Online conducts regular penetration testing using external third-party testers.
Telemedicine is Easy
One of the biggest complaints amongst physicians is that their EMR/EHR solutions are not user friendly. Physicians are reluctant to put the time into learning yet another program, even if it is a good idea for their practice.
Fortunately, Your Doctors Online Virtual Clinic offers an encrypted and secure solution that is user friendly for both the physician and the patient.
Your Doctors Online combines an easy to use online platform with our proven smartphone app.
Your Easy to Use All-in-One Solution
Connecting with your patients has never been easier. Patients are answering the phone less and less. Instead of wasting time and resources playing phone tag, you can connect with your patients effortlessly and instantly.
Your Doctors Online reduces administration costs by allowing your patient to book their own appointments from our smartphone app, which will also provide push notification appointment reminders.
Setting up your clinic takes less than 10 minutes. Our user-friendly interface allows you to batch invite your patients to easily onboard your patients in minutes. Inviting patients to your virtual clinic is as easy as sending an email. Your patient list is always secure and your patients are locked to your virtual clinic.
Become the primary care physician your patients want and need with our easy to use system.There is even an instant chat to help you along the way in case you run into any issues.
Telemedicine Improves ROI
2020 has drastically changed the landscape of modern medicine. From the additional costs of PPE (personal protection equipment) and the hesitation of many patients to seek medical care, virtual care is an opportunity to increase billings while reducing costs.
With easier access to your clinic your patients will have less reason to visit walk-in clinics. Most issues can be easily discussed from the comforts of home and visits are able to work within your patient’s busy schedule. Your patients will appreciate the ability to avoid the waiting room and you will be able to capture the revenue lost to walk-in clinics.
One case study is provided by the Veterans Health Administration who ran a pilot program in between 2000 and 2003 in which 900 patients used telehealth services.
Within this pilot program, the VHA saw some very promising results:
- 40% reduction in emergency room visits
- 63% drop in hospital admissions
- 88% decrease in nursing home bed days of care.
The VHA also saw a dramatic decrease in their cost per patient. While the average annual direct costs per patient averaged to be $13,121, with the virtual program it dropped to just $1,600 per year. This is important to note, since many rural hospitals are facing many financial disparages and are seeking new solutions to care.
Your Doctors Online Virtual Clinic is appealing to your patient’s schedule and desire for virtual consultation. However, it also offers countless benefits to you as a physician. Our all-in-one system increases efficiency by over 20% by setting up virtual appointments in real time, allowing on call notation and improving consultation times.
Decrease Administrative Costs
With Your Doctors Online Virtual Clinic patients are able to book themselves into your appointment calendar virtually. Patients are also given the option to wait in a queue to speak to an available doctor in real time. This type of real time access to a doctor allows your patients to have quick consultations when issues arise to better monitor their health as well as increase your revenue.
This system allows for a shorter consultation time (as patients are more likely to address issues as they occur rather than wait for their next appointment), a streamlined administrative process and less missed appointments.
Reduced Costs for Patients
While virtual care represents a reduction in costs for providers, it also offers savings for patients.
In 2017 a report was released by The Rural Broadband Association released which estimated national average financial impacts of virtual care. This showed a significant financial impact of implementing this new technology.
- Savings for the patient – Rural patients face the dual financial impact of travel costs and lost wages. The study estimates that telemedicine could save rural patients $9,149 annually per facility, in travel costs and lost wages.
- Savings for the hospital – The study found a potential annual savings of $20,841 for hospitals converting radiology and psychology consultations to telehealth services.
Your Cost Saving Strategy
Your Doctors Online Virtual Clinic all-in-one solution is an easy to use scheduling, teleconferencing and notation system that increases both efficiency and revenue while lowering costs.
Patients can be easily onboarded in minutes. There is an opportunity for patients to fill out their own personal information, set their own appointments, queue for real-time consultations, and get push notification reminders about their appointments.
Your Doctors Online Virtual Clinic is able to provide a snapshot of your patients vitals to save valuable time as well as provide the necessary insights that are often not available during a virtual consultation.
Effortlessly Integrates into your EMR
Save time with Your Doctors Online Virtual Clinic’s SOAP templates which allow for real-time documentation. These templates integrate seamlessly into your current EHR. This makes billing easy and requires less time per patient.
Telemedicine is the Future
While telemedicine offers a great opportunity for practitioners to modernize and streamline their practice, it also appeals to the modern patient.
Claims related to any type of telehealth grew 624% from 2014 – 2018. This is a staggering number, especially considering all of these claims were pre-COVID.
Today’s patients are even more drawn to the safety and security virtual consultation provides in safeguarding their health from any potential exposure. The potential for virtual care growth in the future is endless.
Women drove this rapid growth making up 65% of the telehealth claims. In addition to appealing to females, telehealth is also popular with the younger demographic. In fact, 21% of all the telehealth claims between 2014 and 2018 were people in the 31 – 40 age range. This means that modern women are taking charge of their health and are looking for virtual solutions. Capturing these patients will require modern solutions.
The Best Choice for Virtual Care
The needs of your patients are changing and so is the modern model of primary care. The Your Doctors Online Virtual Clinic is the perfect all-in-one solution to streamline care, increase efficiency and capture lost revenue.