In the past year, telehealth has proven an invaluable tool for maximizing patient access. Telehealth claims have grown nearly 3000% in the past year. Virtual visits, in particular, have been a saving grace for patients and providers alike during the pandemic.
What happens post COVID-19? How will we effectively balance in-person with virtual visits while keeping our schedules full?
We know to stand out and win patient loyalty in the long term, providers must continue to offer telehealth services, including virtual visits, to meet the demand post-Covid.
As visit volumes continue to grow to pre COVID-19 era levels, however, there will be little room for inefficiencies in scheduling and completing a blend of telehealth and in person services.
Effective strategic and operational integration with virtual services will be critical.
Without an intentional, well-coordinated integration strategy, telehealth programs could inadvertently create barriers to patient access resulting in reduced capacity, volume and revenue.
An effective telehealth program strategy should optimize effective financial and operational performance while balancing patient demand and provider preferences.
Here are 3 steps for continued outpatient growth in the post COVID-19 era:
- Define the scope of services offered virtually versus in person and how that scope may change over time as your needs and capabilities change.
Consider which specialties, types of service and locations are telehealth priorities for you and your communities. Start there and expand or modify scope over time.
Facilitate equity in health accessibility through telehealth for the underserved and rural populations.
- Optimize provider schedules to maximize both patient accessibility and provider productivity by aligning patient demand with organizational goals and provider preferences.
Gather provider input and preferences to define models that support productivity, quality and efficiency at the group, specialty, or department level.
Incorporate clear and consistent schedules for virtual versus in person visits with inherent flexibility to accommodate provider preferences.
Implement standardization and consistency to drive efficiency and productivity, while allowing for provider level flexibility to enhance satisfaction and wellbeing.
- Maximize the investment made in telehealth technology while supporting efficient staffing models.
Staff for the ideal process, not just for the technology you invested in, and…
Challenge the technology providers to offer automated solutions to repetitive, expensive to staff processes. (Staffing the virtual waiting room? Educating patients on how to download and use the app? There are technical solutions for these issues.)
To explore how Intersect Health Systems can help you optimize your telehealth program for patient access and productivity, contact us today.
The expansion of telehealth is changing the way we deliver healthcare in a big way! Providers who can adapt quickly and effectively will win the loyalty of patients, secure their position in the market and thrive into the future.
Telemedicine use has soared to 29% in the US as of May 2020, up from 8% in December 2019, according to a United HealthCare Group report. The Covid-19 pandemic, of course, facilitated this rapid adoption with stay at home orders and a relaxing of regulatory rules, including security and privacy requirements.
The response from both patients and providers suggests telehealth isn’t going anywhere. We’re already seeing CMS respond favorably with proposed continued coverage for services. Pundits now forecast that telehealth will account for up to 50% of all healthcare encounters in the post-COVID era. Provider organizations shouldn’t wait to ensure that they will be able to fully participate.
Here are 3 key optimizations for the future of your telehealth program…
1. Optimize Financially
CMS is proposing significant reduction in the physician fee schedule for surgeons, anesthesiologists and select other services. In addition, though CMS has maintained equal payments for in person and virtual visits, we anticipate that payments for virtual visits may be reduced over time.
To optimize financially, consider…
- Strategically defining the size and scope of your telehealth services with intentional, manageable, and supported growth plans
- Aligning provider incentives by incorporating telehealth goals into your provider compensation plans
- Identifying opportunities for reduced overhead expense in the long term to prepare for potential reduced telehealth revenue.
2. Optimize Operations
Our staffing models will likely be impacted in the long term. We also need to provide clear direction on who, when and for how long physicians should engage in virtual health versus in person care. After all, we still to provide services onsite.
To optimize operations, consider…
- Defining physician schedules onsite and virtually
- Optimizing and/or flexing staffing levels to support onsite and virtual visits
- Refining scheduling, documentation, and follow up process flows
- Integrating data to optimize tracking and reporting
3. Optimize technology solutions for long term sustainability
CMS relaxed regulations around security and privacy, making it easier to adopt telehealth services using services like Zoom and FaceTime. We expect these regulations to tighten back up soon resulting in a likely shift in service providers.
To optimize technical solutions, consider solutions that…
- Comply with HIPAA requirements
- Place the patient at the center with easy to access and easy to use tools.
- Incorporate innovative tools that reduce dependency on staff, helping you save time and money
- Can grow with you beyond video visits to real-time remote monitoring, documenting, tracking and reporting
- Integrate with your existing scheduling and EMR systems
Intersect Healthcare Systems offers remote patient care solutions with transformational care-delivery capabilities. To learn more about how Intersect can help you design and implement a thriving telehealth program, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Remote+Care is HIPAA compliant, developed by a physician and grows with you.
- No more chasing down the patient for the virtual visit when the provider is ready to see them. Simply notify your patient with our text and email enabled video solution. (And…no app for the patient to download!)
- Improve early intervention via real time remote monitoring capabilities with an intuitive dashboard and population health analytics.
- Simplify scheduling and documentation via online scheduling coupled with an easily customizable digital patient intake form and EHR that mimic your existing care pathways.
- Maximize telehealth adoption, optimize your program, and plan for the future with expert consulting solutions.
To learn more or schedule a demo, please contact us today at email@example.com or (888) 772-2685.