September 13, 2019
What are Telemedicine’s benefits and how can they have a significant impact on your business’ bottom line?
Are you considering the costs and benefits of implementing telemedicine in your organization or clinic? A virtual care platform includes tools such as online video appointments, self-booking tools, online payment processing, as well as a central location to store patient information. Here are some of telemedicine’s benefits:
As a healthcare leader or provider, you know that no-shows are inevitable. In Canada, 10-30% of patients are not regularly attending scheduled healthcare appointments. To put it in perspective, if you were a therapist that charges $150 a session, one missed appointment a day may not seem like a big deal, but this could be a loss of $4200 over a month. A missed appointment also throws off an entire day’s schedule, wasting time for both a provider and their other patients. As a solution, many organizations and providers now charge no-show fees that usually don’t cover the full cost of the appointment and can be difficult to obtain from patients. By decreasing no-shows with telemedicine, healthcare organizations and clinics can increase revenue and recapture lost billable time.
Telemedicine offers a convenient solution for patients who would otherwise cancel their appointments by allowing them to attend appointments remotely. Patients often cite transportation as their number one reason for no-showing, but with an online appointment they can easily attend their appointment from a location that’s convenient for them.
Healthcare accessibility means that providers can still maintain their daily caseload while preventing revenue loss. It also improves providers’ and administrators’ ability to easily bill and collect payment for no-show appointments by allowing patients to enter payment information into the telemedicine solution, meaning that providers and administrators can easily collect fees without repeatedly asking for payment.
Provider time is valuable to both the provider and the patient. By incorporating a telemedicine program into an organization or clinic, leaders can better allocate provider resources and save on costs lost to inefficiency. Tools such as patient self scheduling and patient-provider matching enables patients to be proactive in selecting their appointment times and choose the provider that best suits their healthcare needs, and eliminates the time administrators spend contacting patients manually. For large clinics, better staff utilization means that staff can be distributed in a way that maximizes the number of appointments. For example, a patient with a tight schedule can select from multiple providers to book appointments that are convenient for them.
Organization is key when it comes to reducing wasted time and costs. Administrative tasks like manually gathering patient information and chasing down contact information accumulates to a significant loss of time on a day-to- day basis. A telemedicine program offers a central place to store and access patient information in one convenient platform to keep providers and administrators organized and on schedule.
Working remotely with telemedicine saves money by allowing providers to work without needing to travel, and for some providers, it may even remove the need for an office space altogether.
Certain types of care do not require any in-person appointments, such as most types of counselling. Conducting these appointments through a secure video platform allows providers to deliver the same standard of care without the need for travel. Telemedicine’s benefits are long-lasting, by helping healthcare organizations and clinics save costs. In fact, large healthcare enterprises are able to leverage telemedicine to drive better operational efficiencies and improve their bottom line.
Telemedicine increases revenue by attracting new patients and serves as a competitive edge over other clinics and organizations. A study done in August 2018 by Ipsos found that over 7 in 10 Canadians would take advantage of a telemedicine visit if it was available. However, only 1 in 10 Canadians have had one due to lack of availability. “Clearly consumers are not only becoming aware of telemedicine but starting to demand access to it,” says American Telemedicine Association CEO Jonathan D. Linkous. Provider adoption of telehealth tools is lagging behind consumer demand, indicating that organizations and clinics that use such tools have a competitive edge over ones that do not.
The Ipsos study also found that Millennials are the largest group of those who would choose a virtual health visit for more than half of their appointments if it was an option. Healthcare organizations should expect increasing demand for virtual visits from Millennials as their demand for digital healthcare grows.