Jul 22, 2019
Why Virtual Care is a Tool Every Health Care Provider Needs
Apr 15, 2019
Thousands of health care providers are using virtual care to expand their practice and improve access to their services. Technological advancements have enabled almost every industry to streamline their workflow and deliver better products and services to their customers, and the health care industry is no exception. Virtual care is capable of improving patient-provider relationships, reducing a provider’s cost and improving a practice’s return on investment (ROI).
Virtual care can improve patient-provider relationship by increasing a patient’s overall satisfaction with their care. Instant messaging and one-on-one or group video conferencing allow patients to engage in services like online mental health counselling, lifestyle coaching, medication monitoring, and the management of chronic conditions at their earliest convenience. The convenience of telemedicine increase a patient’s likelihood to comply with a provider’s recommendations long-term.
A study that observed applications of telemedicine for chronic disease management found that more than 80% of patients reported satisfaction with these remote services, better capability to manage their care, and measurable improvements in clinical outcomes. OnCall Health also found that 84% of consumers reported that they want to communicate with their provider over video or email and 92% of patients were highly satisfied with their virtual care. When patients are happy with their quality of care they’re loyal to their health care provider.
In addition to greater patient satisfaction, platforms like OnCall Health offer practice management features that were designed to streamline a provider’s workflow and allow providers to focus more time and energy on their patients. Platforms like OnCall Health let providers automate their practice with online appointment requests, advanced scheduling, branded reminders, payment processing, and the ability to easily export data. As a result, providers are able to spend less time on logistics and more time focusing on their patients; this extra time and attention further strengthen the patient-provider relationship.
Telehealth can significantly reduce business costs for providers by reducing wasted time, minimizing no-shows or cancellations, and protecting the provider’s practice from the always-present competition.
Travel time adds up fast. Providers can use telehealth for a portion of their appointments instead of travelling to see their patients. According to the Pan Canadian Telehealth Benefits Report, “in three reports of provider time saved, 25 clinicians saved 496 days of provider travel time that was then available to be reallocated to providing other health care services.”
Time is money, and virtual care is already proving to significantly cut costs for providers. One application of telehealth concluded that virtual care has resulted in annual health system cost avoidance of approximately $55 million and personal travel cost savings of $70 million in Canada alone.
Not only can virtual care save money by reducing travel time, but virtual care can also minimize patient cancellations. Platforms like OnCallHealth notify patients about their upcoming appointments and offer flexible video calls, which minimizes the chance of last-minute cancellations. Patients avoid challenges presented by inconvenient work hours or transportation issues, and providers don’t have to eat the cost of a no-show.
Finally, virtual care decreases the probability that a patient will abandon a provider’s practice for the competition. Health care can be competitive, and patients are constantly seeking the most cost-effective and convenient option available. Offering virtual care strengthens your patient-provider relationship and presents patients with advantages they wouldn’t receive elsewhere.
Telehealth is capable of increasing revenue for providers by using efficiency to increase case volume, attracting new patients, and encouraging patient loyalty.
Health care providers can see more patients in a day when appointments are easy for patients to request and access. According to the Pan Canadian Telehealth Benefits Report,
“If it is estimated that 20 days of travel could be saved for each provider using Telehealth, resulting in approximately 400 more patients being seen, then only 25 providers need to experience this benefit for Canada to realize 10,000 additional visits annually.”
Not only does increased efficiency increase the frequency of existing patient visits, but the convenience of virtual care is effective at attracting new patients, especially millennials. A recent survey found that only 43% of millennials were willing to visit a Primary Care Physician for non-emergency treatment, as opposed to seeking a more convenient option. Virtual care is a more appealing option for the tech-savvy generation that now makes up the largest population in today’s workforce.
Finally, a health care provider’s growing list of patients are more likely to engage in consistent appointments or counselling sessions when they’re able to access these appointments from the comfort of their home. Naturally, a higher frequency of regularly engaged patients will help increase revenue for providers.
Learn more about OnCall Health’s Virtual Care Platform
It’s evident that adopting virtual care can help strengthen patient-provider relationships, reduce the practice’s business costs and increase revenue. If you’re ready to improve your practice and leverage telemedicine technology, schedule a demo with OnCall Health to learn more.