We all know telemedicine brings huge benefits to patient care - from improving care accessibility to reducing medication noncompliance and hospital readmissions.
But telemedicine can also be a path to better practice profitability. Adding telemedicine services to your practice can actually drive up your revenue.
It’s true that investing in a telemedicine program and purchasing the right telemedicine software can take some upfront time and money. But the initial costs can pay off in a big way for your medical practice once you launch a successful telemedicine program.
And here’s how: these 5 key benefits of offering telemedicine can get you to a healthier bottom line.
1. Telemedicine appointments help reduce no-shows.
While you may not think those few no-shows or late cancellations make a difference to your bottom line, they could actually be costing you thousands in lost revenue. According to the MGMA, the average no-show rate for medical practices is about 5 – 7%.
While it’s obviously impossible to eliminate no-shows and late cancellations 100% of the time, offering telemedicine appointments to your patients can go a long way in driving down your no-show rates. When patients can get easy care from their homes, they’re less likely to get stuck in traffic on the way to your office. They don’t need to find someone to watch the kids. They can even use the time it would take to sit in your waiting room or travel to your office to work or catch up on their other tasks. The more convenient it is for them, the less variability in your appointment schedule.
2. Telemedicine can help you optimize patient flow and recapture billable time.
Similarly, telemedicine can help you optimize your appointment schedule and get more patients in and out of your office on time. Say you do have a no-show, or just a patient who shows up late. When an unforeseen time slot opens up in your schedule, you could simple open up your on-demand telemedicine queue and let the next patient know you’re available for a virtual visit right now.
Telemedicine enables you to do quick check-ins with patients and also fit in on-demand virtual visits when you have time – making the most of your billable hours.
3. Telemedicine gives your practice a competitive edge and helps attract new patients
According to a recent survey by Software Advice, 75% of patients were interested in doing telemedicine appointments – especially for urgent, minor issues. More and more patients are demanding accessible care, or they’re ending up with expensive ER and urgent care bills when they can’t get in to see their doctor on time.
All this adds up to telemedicine visits being a huge bonus for your patients. As patients look for a new doctor, they’ll increasingly be looking for someone who offer telemedicine services like after-hours or same-day virtual consults.
In other words, adding telemedicine is a marketing strategy in itself.
On top of that, telemedicine visits simply expand your reach, allowing you to do consults with patients who are farther away, and otherwise might not travel to your office. And that means you’ve just expanded your potential patient population.
4. Telemedicine allows you to provide at-home, after-hours care, and get paid for it.
Right now, you probably have on-call hours after the office is closed to answer any urgent patient requests. Chances are, you also generally can’t bill for that time spent on the phone.
What if you transitioned some of those after-hours phone calls into on-demand virtual visits that you could bill? Not only would you increase your revenue, your practice could advertise that flexibility to do appointments outside of normal business hours.
5. Telemedicine enables you to offer same-day urgent care, and helps retain patients who
might otherwise go to a retail clinic or urgent care center.
Want to stop losing your patients to retail clinics and urgent care centers? Offering telemedicine appointments on an on-demand basis can help you fit in those urgent same-day appointments and keep your patients loyal to your practice. You retain your current patients and get happier patients who are more likely to refer you to their friends and family.
The bottom line about telemedicine? It may take a little upfront investment, but it can bring incredible benefits to your care program and your practice’s finances.