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Practice Management

7 Tips for Increasing Patient Adoption of Telehealth 

By February 1, 2022May 24th, 2024No Comments

When the pandemic hit in 2020, it forced many private practices to close their doors. For many providers who wanted to continue to see their patients and earn revenue, they had to quickly pivot to a telehealth platform. This proved logistically and technically challenging. Providers had to quickly figure out how to use their telehealth platform while concurrently educating patients on how virtual care visits work. 

Those days have since evolved. Patients and practices are back to in-person visits; and the need for telehealth has shifted, becoming less of an absolute necessity. However, patient adoption and demand for telehealth has increased, and more have expressed their preference for virtual care visits. According to a recent study that Anytime Pediatrics conducted with over 1,500 patients, 50% of patients (754 respondents) said they prefer virtual visits over in-person visits due to its convenience and time effectiveness (65%).   

A Larger Telehealth Strategy for Enhancing Patient Satisfaction  

Legislation continues to focus on telehealth use and provider reimbursement, which means more practices may soon have greater opportunities to use virtual visits as a key aspect of their business. Telehealth continues to be a great patient retention tool that provides patients with the convenience and flexibility of connecting with a provider from the comfort of their home.  

Those who are looking to strengthen their telehealth program should review their current telehealth experience—and take steps to improve it. Look beyond those initial days of choosing the first available platform that provided a simple audio-video connection with a patient. Consider a larger strategy of using telehealth to enhance patient satisfaction and evaluate if your practice is effectively promoting and communicating its benefits to your patients.  

Take for example patient understanding when it comes to insurance coverage for virtual visits. According to our patient survey, patient awareness of whether their insurance covered virtual care revealed that 72% of respondents (1086 of 1500 surveyed) knew their insurance would cover the cost of a virtual visit. Meanwhile, 27% of respondents (407 of the 1500 surveyed) were not sure if their insurance would reimburse for telehealth appointments. This suggests an opportunity for practices to educate and promote these benefits.  

Another finding from the survey asked respondents if they had ever requested virtual care from an urgent center or outside of their normal pediatric office when their child’s primary care physician was unavailable. 75% (1122 respondents) had never asked while 25% had inquired – suggesting an opportunity for practices to better promote their after-hours care services, as well as educating patients on the availability of their virtual care services.  

Other considerations for strengthening patient use of telehealth include: 

  1. Align virtual care visits with in-office scheduling. Implement a strategy for what kind of visits can be seen virtually during office hours, how many patients can be seen virtually each day, and reserve a window for telehealth visits. 
  2. Support your front office staff by providing them with training and, if needed, additional staff to manage the extra scheduling tasks. Also, provide them with the resources needed to guide new patients through a telehealth visit and how to answer any technical questions from your less-tech-savvy patients. 
  3. Educate your patients and staff on what kind of appointments can be seen virtually. Not every person is a candidate for telehealth services and not every type of care can be effectively conducted remotely.  
  4. Keep in mind your best advocates for promoting and educating your telehealth services are your providers and staff. Encourage your providers to have conversations with patients about the benefits of virtual care and what kind of visits can be seen remotely.  
  5. For those patients who are candidates for virtual care, ensure that they can easily access and make a telehealth appointment either from their phone or a computer. 
  6. Promote your telehealth service across all your online marketing and patient communication channels, such as your website, email, text messaging, social media, patient portal, flyers and signage, and any online advertising.  
  7. Evaluate how you are currently handling your after-hours nurse triage. An excellent revenue opportunity is using Virtual Nurse Triage when your office doors are closed – such as in the evening, during the weekend, or during holidays. Virtual Nurse Triage takes video technology from telehealth visits and allows nurses to see the patient and conduct the visit in real-time. Nurses can see what the parents are seeing, and it adds a visual component to the triage process. Virtual nurse triage also uses the same Schmitt-Thompson protocols as Anytime Pediatrics standard nurse triage system with audio calls but elevates the nurse’s ability to triage by adding a visual element. 

There are many obstacles within the healthcare system that make it difficult for you to satisfy all your patients’ expectations. However, virtual care visits continue to be a valuable tool for strengthening the patient experience and providing them with the convenience and flexibility they desire.  

Are you interested in taking your telehealth solution to the next level by offering the convenience and flexibility that meets your patient’s needs? To request a consultation, contact us today!