Posted January 22, 2018 by admin in articles

Telemedicine – Adding a service and revenue to your practice


Exclusive Article by Alex Tate at EMRIndustry

Physicians have long misunderstood the cost of an office visit.  Copays, generally not more than $20 seem like a limited disincentive to an office visit.  But the cost of an office visit was never just the copay, it includes the cost of the patient’s time, and hassle to schedule, the interruption their day, travel to and from an office visit of say 20 minutes.  To the patient, what are nearly 3 hours of their time worth? A complete morning or afternoon lost to a physician office visit.  And now add to that deductible, large deductibles.  All motivating patients to find a way to access care for less.

And patients are, the use and acceptance of urgent care centers continue to grow.  While studies show that most patient understands that the use of an urgent care center is episodic and that some even say they go because they don’t want to bother the physician when they are not really that sick, convenience is the greatest draw of the centers to patients. And now with most health plans providing coverage, convenience trumps continuity of care.

Is Your Practice Perfect or Does It Need Improvement?

Since it is unlikely that you can compete with walk-in convenience in your practice, you can offer your patients the convenience of a telemedicine appointment.

Telemedicine should be considered for your practice in response.  Scheduled audio/visual appointments can provide patients with your professional care from a convenient location, and revenue to your practice, revenue that might be missed as patients seek care at other lower cost, less inconvenient locations.

This enhanced access for patients is more and more desired and acceptable, and a service, which while not reimbursed by most health plans, is one that patients are willing to pay a reasonable rate.  Less costly than an office visit, and less costly than the usual alternative, the urgent care center.  In addition, for the physician, this added access improvised patient loyalty and continuity.  And if your telemedicine visit indicates a need for more care, in personal care, you have likely captured that patient’s continued loyalty.

In some cases, physicians are reporting that their patients are using telemedicine for inquiries that in the past they would seek to have answered by a phone call to the office, one that was answered without charge.

Additionally, telemedicine can be a market advantage for your practice over your competition in the community.   It is an added means of capturing patients, maintaining their loyalty, and improvise patient satisfaction.

Introduce the availability of telemedicine on a scheduled basis to your patients, and through your website.  Schedule online appointments.  These generally take less time than in office appointments and have little of the overhead of processing a patient through your office. Set a reasonable price, you can change it based on demand and feedback, some practices charging in the $35 to $50 range, and have their site collect credit cards at the time the appointment is scheduled.

While you are not physically seeing the patient, you still need to establish a medical record for each encounter.  It’s your professional judgment if you believe that a physical visit is warranted, although, for most, they are not.

Consider the opportunities in telemedicine for your practice; a service in demand, and a new revenue source.

Author Bio:
Alex Tate has been part of the healthcare Industry for over 6 years. He has been writing and analyzing content pertaining to healthcare. His particular specialty is regarding his research and works regarding specialized EHR. Specifically Oncology EHR.  His belief in technology, compliance and cost reduction have opened new horizons for people in the healthcare industry.horizons for people in the health care industry.

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