Telemedicine was a major healthcare trend in 2015. However, the trend is far from over. With over 200 telehealth-related bills proposed last year, increasing patient and health-care system adoption of telemedicine, and rapidly improving reimbursement for telehealth services, telemedicine is here to stay in 2016.
While purchasing a telemedicine solution may cost you a little money up front, the return on investment for your practice could be significant. Telemedicine, when used correctly, can be an effective strategy for increasing your medical practice revenue and improving your bottom line.
Here’s a quick review of the 7 key ways telemedicine can help drive up your practice revenue.
1. fewer no-shows
Do you have a problem with no-shows or late cancellations in your office? If you're like most providers, you have a 5-7% no-show rate. While this may not seem like much, it could cost your practice thousands of dollars in lost revenue each year.
While you can't eliminate all no-shows, giving your patients a convenient way to get care eliminates many of the variables that can lead to missed appointments - traffic on the way to the office, not being able to get away from work, not being able to find a babysitter for the kids...
When you give patients the option to see you from the comfort of their own homes, your no-show rate is likely to decrease. Furthermore, your patients will be happier!
2. Recover Billable Time
When those unavoidable no-shows occur, or an empty block appears on your appointment calendar, telemedicine can help you maximize your billable time. Many providers, for example, use our telemedicine software to queue up same-day appointment requests for the day. While most patients cannot simply walk into your office and wait for hours until you have an open slot, they are content to go about their day and see you when you are. This means you can recoup any billable time lost due to an inefficient appointment schedule.
3. Boost Patient Flow
With an optimized appointment schedule and quick virtual check-ins with patients, you're able to keep the practice running smoothly and get more patients in and out 34 without sacrificing patient satisfaction. Patients are more likely to book another appointment if they know they can easily check in with you or ask a question by scheduling a telemedicine appointment.
4. Bring in New Patients
According to a recent survey, 75% of patients are interested in telemedicine visits for minor ailments. This was especially true for urgent issues that required immediate attention. The phenomenal growth of retail health clinics, neighborhood urgent care centers, concierge doctors, and unnecessary ER visits demonstrates that patients want more convenient, accessible healthcare.
Adding telemedicine to your practice is one way to meet that demand and attract new patients who value convenience. Patients will appreciate that you provide accessible care and may be willing to pay more for it.
5. Provide convenient after-hours appointments
You probably already have off-hours on-call time, the majority of which you spend on the phone and are not compensated for. What if you converted some of those phone calls into billable after-hours telemedicine appointments? You could use on-demand off-hours telemedicine visits to convert urgent patient requests into extra revenue, and you could meet many patients' requests for more flexible availability.
6. Appointments on the same day
Same-day appointments are much easier to schedule when you have a way to offer virtual visits. Simply add the patient to your on-demand list and notify them when a short time slot between appointments becomes available. Instead of waiting all day in your office or going to the nearest urgent care center, the patient can simply go online and see you in minutes.
7. Keep Current Clients
All of the strategies I've examined result in one thing: more convenient, accessible care for patients. This results in happier patients who are pleased with their care. Patients are less likely to go to the retail clinic down the street or end up with a hefty ER bill if they can reach you when they have questions or urgent issues. The bottom line is that telemedicine assists you in keeping your patients satisfied, healthy, and loyal to your practice.