Telehealth is revolutionizing the way health care professionals treat their communities and has surged in popularity as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. While telehealth isn’t designed to replace in-person care, it can act as a supplement providing greater access to care, improving treatment, and granting healthcare professionals the opportunity to treat and diagnose their patients remotely.
In this blog post, we’ll discuss the benefit of telehealth services at your practice both in the short- and long term.
What is Telehealth?
Telehealth is defined as the delivery of care, or health-related services via telecommunication technologies and electronic information. Through these technologies, patients can access treatment and professional medical advice across vast distances, without ever having to visit a health facility or leave their homes. The range of specialty services available through telehealth is quite varied and often includes patient education, behavioral treatment, physical therapy, and general health information.
Boost Cost Effectiveness and Profitability
When implemented properly, telehealth programs can be both affordable and provide significant profit. For starters, SaaS telemedicine systems are significantly cheaper than other intricate medical systems. According to the University of Pittsburg Medical Center (UPMC), healthcare practices can save up to $86.64 whenever a patient chooses to connect virtually through a telehealth platform rather than in person. While a number of your patients may still require in-person treatment, funneling some of your appointment load through a telemedicine system can significantly trim your practice’s spending.
Telehealth can also improve spending efficiencies by reducing appointment cancellations, which typically cost a practice money. A study performed during the COVID-19 pandemic found that in a 10-week period, only one out of 825 telehealth visits were canceled, whereas, in this same 10-week period a year prior, 527 in-person appointments were canceled. This reduction in cancellations can save practices money, as patient no-shows can waste valuable resources and take time away from physicians.
Improves Clinical Workflows and Overall Efficiency
The implementation of telehealth processes also has the potential to improve clinical workflows and boost overall efficiency. According to a report by the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA), practices with the lowest operating costs, and the highest percentage of revenue per-physician use telehealth services to treat their patients. These telehealth tools boost efficiency by allowing healthcare teams to communicate more effectively and access patient data with ease.
Spurs The Development of New Business Models
Telehealth systems are shifting the way many practices structure their workflows and treatment methods. These digital tools allow health care providers to widen their patient base as they can issue care at a far greater distance. Additionally, healthcare practices can use telehealth to design more convenient and accessible treatment processes that, before networked systems, would’ve been challenging to implement. According to mHealthIntelligence, “Specialists are now finding that they can launch their own telehealth platform to consumers, offering their services online much like a banker, real estate agent or other businesspeople.” Additionally, telehealth systems can give your practice a competitive edge against local retail clinics and attract a broader range of patients. Practices that implement telehealth services can offer extended hours of care to their patients, which in turn can provide greater access to those who may not be able to make an appointment at normal operating hours.
Improves the Quality of Patient Care
Telehealth can provide a significant boost to patient treatment and satisfaction. According to a study of ICU nurses, 79% of them agreed that their tele-ICU system led to better patient care. Another study by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality found that virtual ICU consultations moderately reduced mortality rates. When implemented properly telehealth services can greatly assist those who suffer from chronic conditions, by reducing the number of times a patient needs to visit in person health care, and instead conduct the majority of care via virtual appointments.
Lastly, a study performed on New York City healthcare providers, found that telemedicine use during the COVID-19 pandemic led to a surge in patient satisfaction. While telehealth and remote patient monitoring services may not fully eliminate the need for in-person care, this evidence shows that it provides greater awareness of a patient’s ongoing condition, which in turn can lead to improved treatment.
Reduces Physician Burnout
Telehealth can positively impact your practices’ physicians as it is proven to reduce stress, optimize schedules, and provide an ample boost to overall work-life balance and mental health. For instance, in a study by Dr. Michelle Alencar, telehealth appointments lasted only eight minutes, whereas an in-person appointment could last up to 20 minutes. Thanks to shorter appointments, physicians and clinicians can benefit from optimized schedules, and patients can enjoy greater appointment efficiency. Additionally, telehealth services can reduce or even eliminate commute times, lessening stress on physicians. A 2020 case study showcased how one physician’s six-hour commute could be completely removed as they used telehealth solutions to monitor patients remotely.
How CNECT Can Help You Expand Your Health Office’s Telehealth Services
As a group purchasing organization (GPO), CNECT can help your facility save on the products and solutions required to implement telehealth services. From remote patient monitoring devices, smartphone cheduling systems, video conferencing, and secure medical messaging platforms, CNECT can help you save on supplies and expand your telehealth services. When you become a member of CNECT you’ll also gain the guidance and expertise of a team of nationwide representatives dedicated to supporting your organization and providing custom savings strategies. With CNECT as your GPO partner, you can extend telehealth to your patients with confidence.
Contact a CNECT representative to learn more about becoming a member today.