Pressure on doctors to cut costs, comply with regulations, and maintain daily operations while caring for patients is increasing. To survive in this complicated environment and maintain a work-life balance, operational efficiency and time management is essential.
Patients also feel pressure managing and paying for healthcare. Patients spend an average of 121 minutes per doctor’s office visit. This includes an average of 37 minutes just to get to the appointment, according to a 2015 study from the American Journal of Managed Care. In addition to the time spent to see a medical professional, the out-of-pocket cost per visit is an average of $32. Aside from the monetary and time requirements to go to the doctor, it is often inconvenient. Some patients cannot physically get to the doctor due to commitments such as work and family or health reasons.
The relationship between doctors and patients is evolving quickly, and telehealth solutions have introduced new options for communication that are beneficial to both groups. The ability to connect patients and doctors virtually eliminates the need for travel, increases productivity, allows for working arrangements that are flexible, and drives additional revenue. Let’s explore a few of the major benefits of telehealth:
With mobile telehealth, doctors are unchained from their offices. Mobile appointments can take place almost anywhere with a secure connection, at any time. Medical professionals have control of their work hours and are able to potentially respond to an emergency situation quicker and with greater efficiency.
Having access to and the option of quality healthcare is something that is easy for many Americans, but for others, there isn’t much of an option. Rural communities can require hours of travel to get to a hospital, and some physical limitations make any travel at all out of the question. For these groups of people, telehealth allows them to have easy access to time with a doctor. This is a major advantage, and likely a factor when choosing a provider. For the provider the benefits include the ability to see more patients with teleheath than in an office face-to-face, and the ability to make additional revenue for after-hours care that might have been previously provided without any additional charge.
Time is a luxury for most doctors. Telehealth increases productivity while minimizing wasted time. Since virtual appointments are easier for patients to get to, missed, cancelled, or late appointments due to problems such as traffic and other travel issues are greatly reduced.
Patient expectations are changing as quickly as healthcare. To achieve the long-term goals of better care for patients and work-life balance for providers, investment in technology to increase operational efficiency and patient satisfaction is key.