From 2015 to 2018, wave of telemedicine has increased 340%. With people being busier than ever, telemedicine is something that makes logical sense as an option.
In fact, many providers have embraced the idea, for example, Kaiser Permanente has been offering video and telephone doctor visits to their members since 2015.
I tried my first video annual visit with Kaiser Permanente a few years ago when they rolled it out, and I absolutely loved it! They were able to do essentially all the exams they would at the facility, including asking me to cough and move certain ways for them to see and hear how I do. At the end of the session, the doctor asked me to go get my labs done which obviously cannot be done remotely, but as soon as the lab work was done, I received my report via email and was able to review my test results from home.
Compared to 2 or 3 office visits which can take up to 3 or 4 valuable work hours each visit, I ended up saving so much time!
According to survey by Sage Growth Partner as reported in Forbes, 25% of consumers had used telehealth prior to COVID-19, and 33% of consumers even left their current physician for a provider who offered telehealth. As a consumer who experienced telehealth, I totally agree with that 33%.
Here’s more good news!
- Regulatory barriers have been lowered due to COVID-19
One of the hurdles providers went through to provide telehealth was regulation and HIPPA. Well, COVID-19 has changed all that. Regulations have not only been loosened, you can even use ZOOM or SKYPE to consult with your patient! Eventually providers will need to get a HIPPA compliant telehealth system, but now is a great time to try out different options!
- Financial Impact
One of the reasons physicians did not adopt telehealth as readily in the past was because of reimbursements. Medicare & Medicaid offered lower rates for telehealth compared to office visits. But once again, COVID-19 has changed all that. In many cases, you can now receive equal reimbursements for telehealth and in-person visits.
With the advancement of technology and availability of internet & smart devices, telehealth is the natural next step which would improve access to care for patients, reducing urgent care visits by untreated illness. According to The Do:
- More insurers are covering telemedicine
- Physician use of telemedicine has jumped 340% between 2015 and 2018
With the combination of being able to save patients’ time along with new doctors being available who are trained in using telemedicine, the change is inevitable. When preparing for this obvious path forward, your next action items should be making sure your website is up to date and well-managed, and you have a consistent social presence. As patients are looking for telemedicine you want to make sure you show up where they are looking, front and center, and to make sure you have all of the ‘digital’ standards (mobile friendly, stylish website and engaging social media pages as starter) that are expected by the consumer.
Need help? Check out our ‘Solutions’ page for more information. We would love to discuss how we can help your transformation into the era of telemedicine!