eVisit healthcare strategist expands on her recent interview with Healthcare IT News
Telehealth adoption skyrocketed almost overnight in the early days of the pandemic as providers looked for safe alternatives to delivering care. Not knowing how long the pandemic would last, many reached for whatever solution they could find to answer their short-term needs.
And patients fell in love with it.
Never before had they had access to care this convenient from such a broad array of specialties. However, as I discussed in my conversation with Healthcare IT News, patients now take technology-enabled care encounters for granted. In much the same way online banking did when it first arrived on the scene, virtual care has greatly accelerated the pace of consumerism within our industry.
While early adopters quickly understood the value of making telemedicine a permanent part of their care delivery mix, others have questioned whether it will continue to make good business sense after the public health emergency ends.
The answer is yes, I think. Here are three ways hospital systems and large healthcare organizations can increase long-term return on their telemedicine investment in the areas of efficiency, capacity, and patient experience.
Integrate patient assessment and triage into workflows
Virtual visits aren’t an appropriate care delivery mechanism for every patient, but the technology can and should be used during intake to quickly assess patient acuity and determine the most appropriate environment for care. By ensuring this type of digital-first interaction and care navigation is integrated within their care delivery platform, providers can increase patient satisfaction and reduce the number of patients who go to the ER unnecessarily—both of which pay big dividends long-term through patient loyalty and higher value-based care incentives.
Integrating a telehealth solution with complementary technologies such as an artificial intelligence-enabled symptom checker can further streamline triage and care navigation. Determining the patient’s condition ahead of a visit allows providers to offer personalized health services while lowering costs and improving access to care.
Let technology address your staffing shortages
Healthcare providers are increasingly struggling with provider burnout and a talent drought. Limited staff combined with increased patient demand is creating wait times of several weeks to several months.
With the right care delivery platform, however, integrated scheduling of both in-person and technology-enabled encounters based on physician availability and patient preferences allows hospital systems and large healthcare providers to effortlessly supplement their brick-and-mortar volume with virtual capacity. By doing so, providers add revenue by increasing visit volume. It might also keep patients in-network by preventing them from seeking alternative care options.
The right technology can also increase the productivity of your administrative staff—a cohort that is also experiencing a talent shortage and high levels of burnout. Beyond the scheduling example above, today’s advanced care delivery platforms can quickly and easily collect copays and bill insurance companies—a godsend to small-but-mighty back-office teams across a wide variety of care specialties.
Prioritize the patient journey
Far too often, patients are left to their own devices when it comes to coordinating follow-up care. Placing the burden of care on the patient not only creates a poor experience, but can also lead to patient leakage. Ensuring your care delivery platform can facilitate a seamless patient journey from intake to treatment and beyond is a demonstration of customer service—something healthcare professionals have known for years to lead to higher patient adherence and better outcomes.
Integrated communication tools are another area where providers can see return on their telehealth investment when it comes to the patient journey. We all know that patients often fail to communicate important details to providers on their own, and these omissions often lead to repeat tests that contribute to wasteful spending. Platforms that help care teams stay in touch with one another across specialties (e.g., endocrinologists and nutritionists) on behalf of their common patient ensures all that the vital details are communicated and that nothing gets lost in translation.
Learn how eVisit’s care delivery platform was designed to help hospital systems and large healthcare providers see a return on their investment in virtual care technology. Set up a consultation today.