Telemedicine has Perks for Parents, Patients, and Providers
Although telemedicine has been available for many years, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought it into the spotlight. During a time when the only reliable factor we have is uncertainty, virtual appointments have become common, convenient, and dependable for many patients and their family members.
Maybe you have integrated telemedicine into your practice or perhaps you are still waiting it out, hesitant to try something new. Our Anytime Pediatrics team asked 787 pediatricians about telehealth, and 92 percent of them agreed that telemedicine will be around for the long haul. Telehealth allows patients to have continuity of care — before and after office hours — and in the instance that they cannot come into the office because of illness or quarantine.
But the benefits of implementing telemedicine into your practice go beyond that. Telehealth plays a significant role in convenience, even allowing you to accommodate parents at peak times. Here are three ways virtual visits enhance the healthcare experience.
Telemedicine Shortens Wait Times
We are living in a world where people want what they want now. And doctors’ appointments are no exception. Telemedicine decreases the wait time for a patient to get in for an appointment when they request one. When parents call about a sick child, they are probably hoping to be seen that same day. However, if the next available in-person appointment is the following day, families will likely be happy to accept a same-day virtual visit.
When it comes to follow-up appointments, we’ve all had the parent who allotted only 10 minutes for their child’s visit from start to finish when we know it will take at least two to three times that long. This is where telemedicine can really shine. The average telemedicine appointment time is 10-20 minutes from beginning to end. Therefore, more patients can be seen in your practice without sacrificing quality of care and simultaneously improving patient satisfaction.
In addition, quarantines are forcing many families to reschedule in-office appointments. Integrating telemedicine into your practice decreases the need for rescheduling when quarantines happen because telemedicine can be done from anywhere.
Telemedicine Provides a Streamlined Patient Experience
Of the 787 pediatricians we surveyed, 72 percent of them reported that their patients find telemedicine easy to navigate. For example, patients can take care of their co-pay by entering their credit card information prior to the appointment to complete the check-in process. Meanwhile, many practices have encouraged their patients to have a telemedicine kit that includes a thermometer, scale, and pulse oximeter. Parents are able to take their child’s vital signs prior to their telehealth appointment and provide information needed for their treatment plan. This helps the appointment move along smoothly and decreases the provider’s workload.
Secondly, your pediatric patients can receive care from anywhere that they have electronic access. Mom just got off work and is 45 minutes from your office? No problem. She can open the app on her smartphone and connect with you. Dad away on business but wants to be involved with the appointment? He can attend virtually, allowing you to provide family-centered care.
Finally, there are better patient outcomes when your patients are seen by you, a pediatrician who already knows them and their medical history, rather than a hospitalist in an emergency room setting who does not.
Telemedicine Offers Convenience for Parents and Providers
You probably have some families who like coming into the office, and they are still able to do so in many cases. When you offer both in-person and virtual appointments, parents are empowered to choose what works best for them.
Convenience is a factor in all of our lives. Patients and parents are not the only ones who benefit from convenience; providers can, too! You can expand your office hours by seeing patients “after hours” from your home office to accommodate parents who work outside the home. Practices have also successfully integrated virtual walk-in visits before their office opens in the morning.
The likelihood that your patients will go to the emergency room or urgent care decreases when they can be assessed by you before or after hours. This improves patient care and reduces overall health care costs. Win-win!
The pandemic may have brought telemedicine to the forefront, but our need for convenience, efficiency, and outstanding patient care are likely going to keep it here. After-Hours Pediatric Care can help you seamlessly integrate telemedicine into your practice. To find out how the Anytime Pediatrics telehealth platform can benefit your practice, contact us today!