Jun 1, 2021 3:26:52 PM | 7 Min Read

Benefits & Challenges of Telehealth in 2021

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Vitel Health
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Benefits & Challenges of Telehealth in 2021

Telehealth has grown exponentially during the pandemic, but it was already on a meteoric rise. The ability to interact with patients at a distance, overcoming issues associated with mobility, pain, or the ability to travel is a huge benefit for physicians and clients. Telehealth is connecting all of the aspects of a patient’s treatment plan delivering healthcare better and faster than ever before.

While telehealth provides a tremendous amount of flexibility and remote access to patients, some difficulties are inherent to telehealth, for example connectivity and using advanced technology devices. While these challenges may seem daunting at first, most can be overcome with diligence and training, as recent advances in telehealth technology is making it easier everyday to see patients online delivering faster and better outcomes.

Benefits of Telehealth

For patients, telehealth allows them to stay at home when they are sick,  and prevents the spread of disease when they're infectious, while still receiving high-quality healthcare. Telehealth also helps make your practice more efficient in general, benefiting each step in your patient treatment plan. Remote medicine is great for your practice, as it provides additional ways to treat your patients, increasing productivity and helping your bottom-line being able to see patients who have difficulty coming into your office for one reason or another.

Optimize Physician Time

Your time is extremely valuable, and you'd prefer to spend it treating your patients. Every extra step that is spent on intake, billing, patient communication, or other tasks can be a drain on your and your staff’s time reducing productivity. A well-developed telehealth platform in combination with clinic visits as needed, can help make your time more focused by streamlining the mundane steps of running a practice. From patient intake and billing to sourcing medical supplies, telehealth simply makes your business run more efficiently, optimizing your time. Telehealth has matured from a convenient way to see a patient online to technology that can help you manage and run your entire practice. 

Additional Revenue Streams

Telehealth allows you to treat patients that may otherwise be inaccessible to you, due to location or other factors. You can build your telehealth practice from the ground up, or you can partner with an existing telehealth service provider to complement and expand your practices services, for example after hours coverage. The former allows you to craft your business how you see fit, but the latter allows you to provide the benefits of telehealth to your patients without spending a lot of time and resources to add telehealth to your practice.

Telehealth is ideal for initial visits for most illnesses and non-life threatening injuries and routine follow-up visits. Using telehealth reduces patients in the waiting room, reducing the spread of infectious diseases and facilitates increased efficiency and productivity. In addition, telehealth technology has expanded to include many of your practice’s daily tasks from e-prescribing, scheduling appointments, or specialist referrals. Using technology to automate daily tasks and improve patient communication makes your practice more productive, efficient, and financially stronger.

Streamlined Data & Credentialing Processes

Credentialing your new hires can be a pain. The process, when run through the typical human channels, can take a long time and is potentially rife with errors. Getting accurate information from multiple learning institutions and hospitals, practices, and licensing boards, there's bound to be some human error. 

Using a telehealth platform with digital credentialing technology built-in is faster, more efficient, and more accurate than typical manual credentialing processes. The information is up-to-date, with recertification dates noted and logged for convenient reminders to insure everything is always up to date. You won't have to worry that a license is expired or that the employee who did the verification left a part of the file on the scanner.

Gathering data from your patients is faster and more accurate as well. ViTel's AI-driven intake process gathers information and helps with diagnosis based on patient-provided information and symptoms. This makes visits faster and better for you and your patients.

Helpful for Acute & Chronic Concerns

When your patients have a child who is sick  in the middle of the night, not having to visit the ER or Urgent Care to get treatment brings convenience and peace of mind. Being able to interface with clients and determine if a stomach virus or sinus infection can wait, or prescribe medicine without them having to come to the practice  is a huge relief for sick patients.

Likewise for chronic disease patients who have mobility issues, not having to come into your office for weekly or monthly visits can save them a lot of time and hassle. Patients with chronic care conditions where you are monitoring blood glucose, blood pressure, or other chronic conditions remotely have shown an increase in patient compliance and outcomes.

The Future of Telehealth

The Technological Learning Curve for Physicians & Patients

There's a lot of technology involved in telehealth—webcams, computers, microphones, and a good internet connection are the bare minimums. You will also need to train your patients to take vitals remotely as well.  The good news is, telehealth technology is rapidly expanding and becoming easier to use as telehealth has now become an accepted and fundamental part of healthcare today.

Implementation & Management of Platforms

Partnering with a reliable telehealth technology platform is critical for proper implementation, and working with a trusted advisor guiding your practice on implementing telehealth is key to success. Like opening a new brick-and-mortar practice, telehealth has several steps to fully implement and manage telehealth services and working with an experienced telehealth service provider will insure your success.

Patient Adoption & Communicating Value

Despite the increase in awareness and access, patient adoption of telehealth can be a challenge for some patients, especially in the older population. Additionally, many people simply prefer the hands-on approach to medicine and do not like communicating over the internet. They might not be as open to sharing their problems via a webcam. You need to engender confidence in your patients to get the telehealth model to stick. Telehealth is changing healthcare and more patients will see their doctor online vs. face-to-face in the future.

Maintaining Bedside Manner Over Video

It can be easy to get distracted when you're not in the room with your patients. Likewise, many clients report that doctors seem distant or cold when communicating over video. Much warmth is lost when you're talking on a cam or the phone, so you need to be extra inviting, kind, and concerned.

ViTel Helps You Overcome Telehealth Hurdles

We strive to make sure our telehealth platform is the best it can be. We link doctors, specialists, medical suppliers, marketing agencies, and patients together to improve a practice's ability to deliver high-quality healthcare remotely, and we'd love to show you how. Schedule a free demo and see how ViTel can take the guesswork out of branching into telehealth, boost your revenue, and improve your and your patients’ lives.

Topics: Telehealth, Practice Management

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