Is telehealth a financially smart decision for physicians?
All signs point to yes. We know telehealth can bring a wide variety of benefits to your patient care, including more accessible, convenient care, better medication adherence, and a reduction in hospital admittance, to name a few.
But telemedicine can actually also make your practice more profitable. While there are some costs associated with getting set-up, if you get your program launched effectively, you’re likely to see big returns.
Here’s how – the top 7 ways telehealth will help you increase practice revenue.
Bill for uncompensated phone calls.
Patient questions, refill requests, after-hours urgent calls – they all can add up to a lot of unbillable time. The good news is that replacing some of these phone calls with virtual visits, allows you to document and bill for that time. So you could increase revenue without even increasing your office time.
Attract more patients with convenient care.
Patients are looking for convenient, accessible care wherever they can get it. In a survey by X, 76% of patients said they valued convenience and access to care over in-person interactions with a doctor. 75% of surveyed patients said they were interested in doing a telehealth visit in place of an in-person visit.
This means adding telehealth to your practice is a marketing strategy in itself! With so many patients frustrated by long wait times, patients looking for a new provider are more likely to go with a practice that offers an easier way to get care.
Once you have your telehealth program up-and-running, you can use virtual visits to drive patient referrals and ask patients to post online reviews about their experiences. It all adds up to a better, bigger practice.
Retain your current patients.
As we all know well, satisfied patients are loyal patients. Studies have estimated that patients pay an average of $42 just in lost time to go to the doctor’s office. Being able to do a virtual visit from home, or grab a same-day online appointment instead of walking to the local minute clinic is win-win for your patients. And will help you stop patient leakage.
Compete against local retail clinics and urgent care.
The average national wait time for a doctor’s appointment is 18 days. That’s a long time to wait for patients, especially when they have an urgent issue.
More and more patients are ending up at retail clinics, urgent centers, and even the ER unnecessarily, because they can’t get in to see their doctor. That means more difficult care coordination and losing potential revenue from simple appointments.
A telehealth solution doesn’t solve all of this, but it can give you a better way to offer same-day or on-demand appointments. Simple queue up those requests online and then do the visits when you have an opening in your schedule. Or offer after-hours telehealth visits from home without actually extending your practice hours.
You might not think no-shows matter that much. But even if you only have a few here and there, no-shows can costs your practice tens of thousands a year!
MGMA has found the average no-show rate is 5 – 7%. Let’s do a quick calculation to see how much that could cost. If your average co-pay is $30 and carries with reimbursement of $100. If you had only one no-show a day, that could cost you upwards of $32,000 a year!
While it’s impossible to complete eliminate no-shows, patients are less likely to no-show, cancel late, or show up late if they can do appointments conveniently from home (no traffic, no time off work).
Optimize practice efficiency and patient flow.
Less no-shows and late appointments means a more efficient practice. Offering on-demand telehealth appointments can help fill in gaps in your appointment schedule. Plus having some patients check-in online can reduce front office staff time in getting all patients ready for their appointments.
Offer extended hours or after-hours services, from home.
Extending your practice hours is a good way to increase revenue and attract patients, but it’s not always feasible (operating costs, staff availability, work-life balance). With telehealth you could get the best of both worlds.
Consider replacing after-hours calls with telehealth visits, or offer on-demand afterhours appointments from home. You’ll be able to extend care and monetize afterhours – all without keeping your practice open late.
There you have it – 7 of our top reasons why adding telehealth to your practice can make good financial sense.
Want to the hard numbers on telehealth revenue? Check out our telehealth ROI calculator to see how much revenue your practice could generate from telemedicine.