When COVID-19 first hit, practices in nearly every vertical of medicine rushed to incorporate telemedicine into their business model. The numbers are clear, telemedicine appointments experienced a significant increase during the pandemic, and although they are declining in frequency, they remain far above pre-pandemic levels. Every medical practice needs to understand how behavior trends are changing and why they will never return to the way they were in the past.
Here is a basic summary if you’re not already aware of what telemedicine or telehealth platforms are. The system uses software such as webcams, integrated chats, and file transfers to ensure that a doctor or physician can provide quality services while minimizing patient wait times. There are independent options that operate as stand-alone software, and there are alternatives that are native to your website—host depending. Many offer virtual “waiting rooms” for your patients where you can log on and wait for you to see them.
Depending on your patient demographic, telemedicine may or may not make an enormous impact on your business. If you primarily serve an aging demographic getting your patients to adapt to telemedicine quickly may be more complicated than if you’re helping people below the age of sixty. Still, no matter who you serve in the immediate present, you should understand that your practice will eventually serve a significant majority of people who are well versed in technology. Even better, adapting to the latest trends will help you attract more tech. savvy patients quicker than those who hesitate to change.
With Telehealth, it is possible to send and receive digital medical images and reports faster. Patients can receive digital images on a local area network, wide area networks, virtual private network, dial-in date, and secure communication. Report delivery can be as fast as 10 minutes for an MRI, 60 minutes for a veins report, and 1 hour and 15 minutes for a hearth report. What this means to the patient is getting the necessary medical care and results as soon as possible.
Telemedicine can significantly increase the ease of healthcare communication. With the ability to communicate with your doctor in real-time, there is less need to send or get separate records. This makes it possible to enter the same telemedicine session with the doctor via the Internet and save time typing and reading. Save time is essential to your medical provider, as this increases the likelihood of getting the proper diagnosis or medical opinion.
Telemedicine offers the ability for patients to telecommute or leave work to receive healthcare. Paying for a doctor’s visit can require traveling to the doctor’s office, wasting time and money. This traveling can also harm patient care as doctors are not always up to date on medications, especially in larger cities. With Telehealth, doctors can see and diagnose patients from the comfort of their own homes, saving time and money. Hospitals that have implemented telehealth programs have seen their patient caseloads increase. Of course, not all medical care providers have the opportunity to implement telehealth programs, but those that do often see better results than those who are only in-clinic attendings.
Telemedicine technologies such as WebEx are allowing our medical professionals to engage patients in their digital healthcare conversations. With instant messaging, blogs, video conferencing, and screen sharing, sharing clinical information can be incredibly simple. One can imagine how exciting it will be for hospitals, clinics, laboratories, pharmacies, medical schools, training institutions, and practitioners to be able to provide access to their digital patients anywhere, anytime. We predict that within five years, telemedicine will be the most critical medical application.
It is easy to see that telemedicine will significantly impact hospitals, clinics, laboratories, training institutions, and physicians. As technology enhances and integrates, we will increasingly see positive changes in our health verify, from the individual to the public; and enjoy the benefits widely upon these regions. Therefore, we will likely see many more innovations, introduce and improve many more breakthrough technologies, and disrupt the medical system as we transition into the knowledge age.
The first step for any organization is embracing the shift to telemedicine. Therefore, anything pertaining to reaching out to potential patients must now consider telemedicine’s importance or face the reality that they must be online. The shift enables you to improve response times, improve overall registration, get rid of non-paying patients, and also enables you to increase marketing efforts, coordination with clients, and also allows you to be transmitted 24/7/365.