As the world continues to change, and technology becomes more prevalent, it becomes increasingly important to integrate it with healthcare. Technology and healthcare are already interlaced and they have together saved and improved lives for many. Telemedicine or remote care is another such aspect of technology that focuses on serving the needs of people of any age or at any location.
If you haven’t incorporated telemedicine into your practice, you might be wondering if it’s worth it. And for just about every practice, the answer is a resounding “yes.” But if you’re still not sure, this article will convince you why implementing telemedicine services in your practice can help you deliver a better patient experience.
It’s Much More Efficient
Effectiveness can come from multiple levels, and telemedicine wins almost all of them. Telemedicine destroys the barriers traditional medicine had. Many patients who visit their Internists have ailments that aren’t that serious, and it’s often the case that rest and recuperation are the best medicine. In such a scenario, telemedicine will be highly beneficial.
#1 – Time
Nobody wants to be waiting for hours when they are unwell, just to speak to their doctor. The advantage of telemedicine is that the appointment set up can be quick, the appointment times run for no more than 20 minutes.
There is also the added benefit that a telephone appointment cuts out other time-consuming issues, such as patient mobility, and the propensity for conversation.
#2 – Convenience
Think about the role convenience plays in all our lives these days, and how smartphones and digital health tools – wearables and online health trackers, play a massive role. When it comes to health, people look for convenience. They want to connect with their doctors on phone or on a video chat, in the comfort of their home and at any hour of the day.
Think about how many medical issues could be quickly resolved through a video chat and without the need for a person to physically visit the doctor’s office. Statistics suggest that around 90% of telehealth outcomes were equal to or better than in-person visits. With telemedicine, patients don’t need to worry about taking time off from work or school. Visits can be scheduled during lunch hours or before or after school or work, depending on your hours and availability. Consider a scenario where a mother can quickly schedule a telemedicine session, in the middle of the night for her infant suffering from a cold and cough.
#3 – Money
Another reason why your patients most probably want telemedicine is because of the fact that it is cost-effective. First, It saves your patients time and money because they don’t have to leave the house, or work, to travel to an appointment. Secondly, it saves you and your practice money because you can meet with patients via a quick phone call, reducing the need for hiring staff, or working long hours in your office.
#4 – Transport
Speaking of saving on transportation, telemedicine also makes care a lot more accessible to people in more remote or rural areas, as well as patients who don’t have ready access to a car or other transportation. When care is more accessible, it’s easier for patients to get the preventive and proactive care they need to avoid illness and manage chronic conditions. That’s great for patients’ health, of course. But it’s also a lot easier for physicians to provide the best possible care, for both acute and chronic illnesses.
#5 – Recovery
Research shows that for some elective surgeries, telemedicine provides a viable alternative to in-office follow-up visits, offering similar outcomes as in-person follow-up visits for many groups of patients. Obviously, you can’t have staples or sutures removed via telemedicine, but for more general follow-up, telemedicine earned high marks in patient satisfaction, according to this review.
For “regular” (i.e., non-postop) patients, avoiding an office visit means less exposure to germs from patients with the flu, colds, and other contagious illnesses, which in turn can help them stay healthier.
Patients like it
Implementing anything new can always be nerve-racking when you’re not sure if patients will accept and adapt to that new thing. But with telemedicine, the patients have already spoken — they want and like telemedicine. That means implementing it in your practice is almost a no-brainer. How much do patients like it? Here are just a couple of surveys that show clearly how popular telehealth is for today’s patients:
- Statistically, 77 percent of patients are willing to conduct a virtual care encounter, and 19 percent of patients have already done so.
- This survey of patients who’ve used telemedicine found that about 70 percent of those patients rated their experiences at either a nine or a 10 on a 10-point scale. For those rating less than nine, the researchers said nearly all lower scores were due to a technical glitch that was resolved prior to the end of the visit. Despite those minor technical hiccups, 62 percent of the survey respondents said the quality of care they received during their telemedicine visit was the same quality of care they received during an in-person office visit, and one-fifth said the quality of care was actually better with telemedicine solution.
- What about patients who haven’t tried telemedicine? As it turns out, it’s not because they’re worried or concerned about the quality of security; it’s more about not having access to a telehealth system. In fact, in one survey, about three-quarters of patients who have not tried telehealth said they’d like to use a telemedicine option instead of an in-person visit if it were available.
- Numerous studies show that when patients are satisfied with their healthcare experience, they’re more likely to remain loyal to their physician and more likely to provide positive reviews and referrals. That’s especially true among younger patients. Word-of-mouth recommendations are like gold when it comes to building your practice’s brand, authority, and trust. Simply by offering telemedicine as an option, you show you’re in tune with your patients’ needs and preferences and position your practice as one that’s caring and forward-thinking.
Getting started is easier than you think
We have just presented a few powerful benefits, all focused on improving the quality of care and the quality of the healthcare experience. With so much to offer, why don’t all practices offer telemedicine for their patients? A lot of it has to do with reluctance on the part of physicians. Many physicians are unwilling to give up any in-person visits with patients, partly because they worry telemedicine will cut into their revenue.
The fact is, telemedicine is offered as an “add-on” to in-person services; the two complement each other rather than being mutually exclusive. Many physicians also worry about how difficult a telehealth system will be to implement. And still, others are concerned about HIPAA compliance and related security issues. Obviously, the key to successfully implementing a system is based in large part on choosing the right system. Selecting a provider with a proven track record in all these areas makes the move a lot less stressful.
At PrognoCIS, our telemedicine system is designed for seamless incorporation and hassle-free implementation, with robust security features to keep you compliant and keep your patient’s information safe and secure. Plus, our system is completely configurable for your needs, so you can start using it without taking time away from your practice and your patients. It’s a win-win solution for your practice and your patients.