The pandemic revolutionized the face of modern medical care. New vaccine technology was utilized, contact tracing expanded, and—perhaps most impactful to patients and providers—widespread telehealth became a reality. In fact, providers saw a 78% spike in the use of telehealth services in just two months in early 2020.
Fear may have motivated the initial increase in telehealth services, but many patients found that the convenience of receiving care from the comfort of their own home was something they could get used to.
Urgent care centers are utilizing telemedicine to give patients a best-case care scenario: using virtual visits for low-acuity cases and follow-ups, and prioritizing high acuity cases in person. Striking this balance has another great side effect. Urgent cares are able to balance (and sometimes reduce!) staff workloads by sending patients to the care method that is most impactful and efficient.
The key to success is using a platform that allows patients to schedule in-person or telemed appointments from one place, keeping things simple and streamlined. Here are five ways a hybrid care platform serves you and your patients.
Keep scheduling simple
94% of patients say that they received the help they needed during a telehealth visit, but there are limits to what telehealth can do. Using a platform that includes an integrated queue for both telehealth and in-person visits is important. Using artificial intelligence to manage the waitlist queue can take the stress off of front office scheduling staff.
Patients can choose what works for them while they're scheduling their visit with you. They see options for telemedicine visits and in-person. After their telemed visit, they can also be transferred to a queue to schedule an in-person follow-up if necessary.
Provide services faster
When patients are sick, their symptoms seem like the only ones that matter, no matter how minor. Low-acuity patients will feel prioritized when they receive faster service from you—through telehealth or by finding a less-busy clinic. Hybrid care options allow you to provide excellent patient care without overloading in-office staff.
By decreasing the wait time for initial care, those patients feel valued and satisfaction levels go up. And by funneling those patients to lower traffic clinics or telehealth, busy clinics can fast-track patients that need an in-person assessment. When all patients feel attended to, office staff can focus on care, rather than customer service issues.
Virtual follow-ups create 360-degree care
In a perfect world, every patient would receive a follow-up from their care provider. Studies show that patients that receive a follow-up visit were nearly 11% less likely to be readmitted with major symptoms than those that did not have a follow-up.
Virtual visits are a great way to continue care and monitor concerning situations, without creating bottlenecks in your operations or taking too much provider time. With an integrated platform, follow-ups can be easily scheduled for both in-person and telehealth visits.
Streamline billing processes
The key to diminishing in-office workload is providing an opportunity for patients to input information at the time of scheduling. As patients schedule visits, giving them the opportunity to input a form of payment takes one more thing off your staff’s plate.
Integrating payment options also frees up your billing department for more high-touch issues that need human insight to solve.
Keep compliance top-of-mind
When patients schedule online, safety is key. In order to create a safe platform for financial transactions, your platform should be encrypted. With encryption, patient information is secure and automatically HIPAA compliant, taking one more task off the list for in-person visits.
In addition to secure scheduling and payment, video calls should be encrypted as well, to ensure patient and provider confidentiality.
As the pandemic overloaded hospitals, it pushed patients to utilize urgent care centers more frequently and showcased opportunities for quality care. As urgent care centers continue to grow in popularity, it’s essential that they find a way to balance telehealth and in-person visits to give every patient the care they deserve while offering a pace and environment that urgent care teams thrive in.
Solv's telemedicine platform isn’t just a scheduling and video platform—it creates a care home for your patients while keeping providers busy and fulfilled. As telehealth services continue to grow, Solv Video Telemed can help your staff balance workloads, and provide your patients the care they need on their schedule.