If given the choice most of your clinic’s patients would probably welcome the option of having house calls from their doctors. They could avoid travel time, long waits in the waiting room and additional costs. This is particularly pertinent for elderly patients. But how would this impact your clinic revenue?
Despite the many benefits of house calls for patients, the reason many doctors do not choose to do it is due to its impact on clinic revenues. Doctors visiting one patient at home means missing out on consulting a lot more patients at their clinic. While it may be useful for you to ensure personalized care for your patients, house calls may not seem like the most practical option for many clinics.
Technology is a game changer
Imagine being able to consult patients at their homes, without having to leave your clinic. Technology helps your combine the best of both worlds – offering personalized patient care while growing clinic revenue.
With healthcare IT services like online consultations, which are supported by the added capability of collecting online payments, health providers can be assured of thriving business. This is because, in addition to their clinic appointments, providers can also take time to answer patient queries online. Much like replying to an email or text message, online consultations only require providers to spend a few minutes to address their patient’s health concern. Unlike email and text messaging, these consultations can be charged, thereby reimbursing the health provider for their time, improving clinic revenue.
Essentially, health technology has allowed clinics to cater to more patients daily and offers a simple means of growing business without any infrastructural requirements or advertising costs.
How dependable are online consultations with doctors?
Of course, the question that is bound to come up is whether it is feasible for doctor consultations to take place this way. Online consultations have received a bad reputation for attempting to completely do away with face-to-face interaction. While this is true to some extent, the skepticism is unfounded as it has several benefits to the practice.
Online consultations, like asking doctors questions, is primarily meant to be an option for you to consult with existing patients of your clinic. Most providers already receive follow-up questions and provide clarifications to patients they have met or those whom they see regularly. The issue is that these questions stream in through text messages, emails, instant messaging platforms and even social media, none of which are secure or ideal for private doctor-patient interaction. Rather than communicating through these platforms, online consultation software like the Virtual Practice allow for confidential doctor-patient engagement while maintaining a record of all communication, be it questions, answers, health records, prescriptions, medications etc.
Online consultations provide you with more details about a patient (sometimes more than face-to-face interactions) as a comprehensive record of all previous communication is available. This limits misdiagnosis, reduces patient non-adherence and thereby improves health outcomes. For these reasons, it is much more dependable than any other virtual form of healthcare communication.
The success of online consultations lies in its adoption
The question is not whether it works. We know it does. It is only a matter of adopting this new technology for patient engagement. Much like the Internet and mobile technology, its success lies in its simplicity and convenience. If clinics and providers drive adoption and meaningful use, this will spur more innovation and growth in healthcare IT, improving user experience.
For successful adoption, clinics need to invest in technology that will bridge the communication gap between their health providers and patients. This also means that providers need to be educated on the capabilities, benefits and use of these technologies so that they can then instruct patients to properly utilize its features.
Being able to ask questions, share health reports, and get second opinions or clarifications regarding medications or prescriptions without having to make a trip to the clinic is a huge benefit for your patients, one that they would readily utilize if informed.
Taking it one step further with mobile consultations
With the growing adoption of mobile applications, in particular, the billion-dollar health app industry, it comes as no surprise that patient engagement platforms are now being supported by mobile applications. With platforms like the Virtual Practice, consultations with patients are also possible through its mobile app. Health providers have the option to answer health queries on their mobile, much like a text message or IM. You can even view attachments, like health reports or lab tests, to help them advise your patients better.
As for clinics, the benefits are aplenty. Better health outcomes, patient satisfaction, better time management, the ability to cater to more patients and increased clinic revenue. Supporting online consultations could also give your clinic that added edge over your competition.
Doctor house calls have taken on an entirely new meaning with technology. What is needed is for is for health providers to move away from the thinking that they are too busy to consult online or on the mobile. It is precisely for this reason why they need virtual consultations.