What are Some Benefits of Telehealth for Physicians?
Learn how telemedicine video conferencing can help enhance your medical practice especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
This post was originally published on March 28, 2019 and updated on March 20, 2020.
During this time of unprecedented crisis, telemedicine can play a vital role in preventing the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Its importance has even been recognized by President Trump and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) with the expansion of telemedicine benefits on a temporary and emergency basis.
Electronic health records (EHR) systems, patient kiosks, portals and telemedicine software are just a handful of the tech-centric products that can help revolutionize your practice and aid in the increasing importance of patient engagement while still maintaining social distancing and reducing the risk of COVID-19 transmission.
There are several EHR systems, patient engagement tools and telehealth software options available, including all-in-one solutions that provide all of these features and more. But for simplicity’s sake, this article will focus on types of telemedicine software that physicians can choose from, and benefits of telemedicine video conferencing.
Types of Telemedicine Software
Each type of telemedicine has a certain audience and appropriate use cases:
- Asynchronous telemedicine, also known as store-and-forward, where a patient shares their health information with the healthcare provider, who can review it at their convenience
- Remote patient monitoring (RPM), which collects health information from a patient in one area, then electronically shares that information with a caregiver or provider in another location
- Live telemedicine video-conferencing, where the patient and provider “meet” in real-time via a high-resolution two-way video connection with audio
All of these methods come with their own benefits, but telemedicine through live video conferencing may offer physicians the most benefits during the current COVID-19 crisis and beyond.
The Benefits of Telemedicine Video Conferencing
In the midst of a national health crisis like COVID-19, it can be difficult for doctors to provide patients with the care that they need. Vulnerable patients may isolate themselves to reduce the risk of spreading illness, and some office staff may be concerned about exposure to the virus. Telemedicine video conferencing can help you and your practice:
- Minimize risk of exposure for you, your patients and your staff
- Offer patients personalized care as you would in an in-office clinical setting
- Care for and potentially screen patients remotely, whether your office is open or closed
- Help patients understand when their health concerns constitute a medical emergency
- Reach vulnerable patient populations—especially those with chronic illnesses or mobility challenges, and those who live in rural areas
- See patients prior to sending or renewing prescriptions, without requiring an in-office appointment
Physicians can continue to see benefits of telehealth software even after the COVID-19 crisis has passed. During normal circumstances, a telehealth solution integrated with your EHR and patient engagement tools can help you:
1. Maximize your time.
Time is one of your most precious resources, and telemedicine software can help you make the most of it. Video conferencing gives you the ability to see patients right away even when you are on the road, or if your patient is unable to leave home.
Another plus: if a patient misses their in-clinic appointment, that can give you time to respond to a telemedicine patient, making you more efficient with the time you have.
Especially if it integrates with your current EHR, a telemedicine platform should have a simple setup and minimal learning curve. That way, you can easily get up and running and not get bogged down by adding this service to your practice’s offerings.
2. Help increase patient volume.
Telemedicine can help your practice expand its reach to patients who live in rural areas, have transportation challenges or time constraints. They don’t have to come into the office as frequently, but you can still care for them virtually “face to face,” instead of trying to diagnose them over a phone call or text.
Telemedicine video conferencing can also help you provide care for patients with mild cases or routine follow-ups, also potentially allowing you to see more patients in clinic.
3. Help improve convenience.
Often, when your EHR vendor also offers a telemedicine solution, the information integrates directly into the patient’s health record, which can help keep data all in one place. This brings added convenience because you don’t have to try to piece together incompatible systems or re-enter data.
It provides your patients with greater access to you, and it gives you the convenience to practice and treat patients whenever you’re available. Incorporating telemedicine software enables you to “see” and treat patients on your schedule.
You may be able to provide further convenience with patient engagement tools that can get patients more involved with their care. These tools include automated appointment reminders, self-scheduling, surveys and online patient portals, as well as mobile apps.
4. Stay ahead of the competition.
With the vast number of medical practices out there for patients to choose from, any way you can differentiate yourself from the competition works in your favor. Incorporating the latest technological advances, such as telemedicine software, is one of the many ways to reach a growing tech-savvy population that’s constantly on the move and set you apart from other practices.
Overall, telemedicine can help you provide a better patient experience while expanding access to see more patients, both in the office and digitally at your convenience. Offering a telemedicine solution in your practice can benefit you, your practice and patients, too. It’s a win-win-win!
Help Flatten the Curve with Telemedicine Software
Current and future users of Modernizing Medicine®’s #1-rated EHR system can get access to our real-time video and audio telemedicine platform, modmed® Telehealth. This solution can help enable physicians to remotely evaluate vulnerable patient populations while reducing risk of COVID-19 transmission.
Additionally, our specialty-specific EHR system, EMA®, has been populated with medical content for COVID-19 related illnesses, and more content will be added as CDC guidelines are updated.