The next frontier in advanced communications technology is already here—video conferencing. Video conferencing is fast becoming a normalized part of business communications and a tool for a wide variety of industries, including healthcare. Known as telemedicine, video conferencing technologies have found utility in the medical research field for things like medical training, education and credentialing, and in the field of patient care delivery.
Whether you are operating in a large urban hospital or a small rural healthcare facility, investing in telemedicine video conferencing solutions will yield measurable benefits on the managerial, educational, and patient care sides of the business. In this blog post, we will explore the top advantages of telemedicine and video conferencing that a healthcare facility or healthcare services provider can accrue by using these tools.
#1. Telemedicine Video Conferencing Saves Time and Money
Traditionally, for health services providers to render their expertise, or for patients to receive health services, one of the parties has had to travel to the other’s location. For the patient, this meant traveling from home or work to the doctor’s facility. In the case of the doctor, this meant leaving an office or facility to go to the patient’s location.
As you might imagine, these imperatives created a lot of wasted time and had negative cost implications associated with the travel. Patients traveling to a healthcare provider could miss work or have to handle the expense of childcare in addition to the cost of getting to a physical office. There are often parking costs associated with these trips, not to mention gas, train, or bus fare.
The COVID-19 crisis further added to this, as going out in public, or entering a sick patient’s home, came with its own host of risks.
Now imagine you are the patient recovering from a painful medical condition. The added stress and pain of getting to a medical practice is neither convenient or welcome for many patients. Doctors often complain of the no-show rates in their practices. But is it any wonder when the patient is ill, that they are less likely to show up for a type of routine care that is more convenient for the provider to give than it is for the patient to receive?
This is especially true for those routine wound care checkups that come after a surgical procedure. Patients grow frustrated by traveling to see a doctor, waiting for a half hour in the waiting room, and then seeing their doctor for a five-minute visit that tells them they are “healing well.” There has to be a more efficient way to do this, especially when you consider that all of these scenarios wind up pushing the cost of medical services higher.
When a clinician meets with their patients via a telemedicine video conference, they eliminate the need for their patients to take time off to travel. The same applies to the doctors and other clinical providers; a telemedicine video conference allows you to provide care from anywhere. Medical video conferencing solutions are perfect for routine consultations and post-surgical follow-ups that do not need extensive tests and examinations. Everyone saves on travel and time, and the clinician lowers office overhead in the process.
As far as the advantages of video conferencing go, time and cost-savings are important. With telemedicine video conferencing, there is no need for a doctor to travel back and forth to the patient's location to see them in the ER or inpatient unit or even their regular healthcare practice. For the patient, they can receive care in the comfort of their own home. This means doing away with the travel costs, which in turn reduces the overall cost of healthcare for patients and providers.
#2. Telemedicine and Video Conferencing Offer More Effective and Reliable Communication
In an industry where effective communication is not only necessary but also critical, it is of utmost importance that you communicate with your patients quickly, effectively, and reliably.
Voice calls have long been the standard method of remote communications between doctors and their patients. It should be noted that many times healthcare providers could not bill for patient encounters that occurred by phone, creating a loss leader for a medical practice.
Over time, telemedicine and video conferencing along with secure forms of messaging have gradually become a more reliable and efficient way to communicate with patients. Many hospitals have purchased expensive patient portal software that allowed patients to email back and forth with their providers.
However, with today’s telemedicine video conferencing solutions, clinical and administrative providers are in a position to interact with patients securely and in a much more effective, reliable manner. Far from being the expensive services hospitals installed in the past decade, today’s telemedicine solutions are low-cost, fully HIPAA-compliant, and reimbursable by private payers and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
Today, not only does telemedicine video conferencing enable you to see the visual cues that are inherent when patients speak, but you can also interact in-person with your patients wherever they are. The patient can hold their digital device to show you how their wound is healing or walk across their living room so you can see their gait. They can describe their condition in the same way they would have had they traveled to your office. As such, your communications with your patients are more effective and reliable. Importantly, neither the doctor nor the patient has to leave their current location to give and receive care.
#3. Medical Video Conferencing Breaks Down Geographical Barriers with Your Patients
Modern-day, browser-based video conferencing solutions are simple to use and readily accessible on a wide variety of devices from anywhere, as long as a high-quality internet connection is available. The WebRTC standards that make secure browser-based telemedicine video conferencing possible also enable video conferencing from any digital device.
The capabilities of telemedicine video conferencing technology truly break down geographical barriers that have, for a long time, impeded patient access to high-quality medical services. With telemedicine, you can interact with your patients in person and in real-time via a video conference call, no matter where they are across the globe. As long as the patient and doctor have access to a reliable internet connection, you can offer consultations and make diagnoses whether patients are in the next town or on a different continent.
This is a huge benefit for your patients in rural areas, where medical facilities are often few and far between. By using video conferencing solutions, patients can receive high-quality medical services when needed. In fact, when patients face certain medical emergencies, video conferencing can help save lives by allowing you to offer proper triage and diagnosis early enough for treatment to start in as timely a manner as possible.
#4. Higher Productivity and Efficiency Means You Can Help More Patients
Given that neither you nor your patients have to travel, and you can diagnose patients right from your healthcare facilities regardless of their location, you can serve more patients easier and faster. Telemedicine and video conferencing allow you to schedule a consultation with patients no matter where they are located. This reduces patient no-shows and cancellations quite considerably, saving your practice lost revenue and time. Additionally, you can service far more patients given the time efficiency benefits that come with video conferencing. What could happen to your practice if you cut no-shows and increased the volume of patients you see each week? Improved revenues and better convenience for patients and providers means a better experience for everyone involved in today’s healthcare systems of care.
The net result of using telemedicine video conferencing is an increase in productivity and efficiency. Consequently, you can take care of far more patients than you normally would.
#5. Telemedicine and Video Conferencing Helps You Sustain a Competitive Advantage
Being able to meet with your patients in a flexible and reliable manner is a competitive advantage that any healthcare service provider will want. Given that telemedicine video conferencing usage has exploded in the medical field, it should be assumed to be the gold standard for any practice seeking a competitive advantage over their peers.
Telemedicine video conferencing solutions allow you to reach out to your patients no matter where they are located. They also allow you to dedicate more time to each of your patients without losing time in the overall schedule. The technology allows you to carefully listen and provide care to your patients in a virtual house call—something all your patients will appreciate.
#6. Telemedicine Helps Improve Service Quality
Among the many advantages of telemedicine video conferencing, allowing you to communicate in person with your patients much more frequently and more effectively is crucial. Should your patients need your help with a medical issue, you are readily available on the nearest digital device. If you have a sick patient, you can check in with them while they are resting at home. Overall, video conferencing allows you to improve the quality of services you offer quite significantly, something your patients will appreciate.
#7. Remote Telehealth Leads to Increased Patient Retention
Healthcare services require a personal and personalized touch. With the worries and stress that arise from suffering and recovering from ailments, diseases, and injuries, patients need regular updates with regards to their health. Traditionally, this has required sick or recovering patients to travel to healthcare facilities quite often for checkups and updates.
This is, however, time-consuming, expensive, and in some regards very stressful, especially where long distances are involved. Your practice can use telemedicine video conferencing solutions to reduce the need for your patients to travel long distances for checkups. While telemedicine won’t work for all visits, it can greatly improve the patient experience. This improves patient satisfaction, which in turn improves patient retention.
When you use medical video conferencing with your patients, you can consult with them, no matter their location. As such, you can meet with your patients despite being located a long distance from their location. This increases patient retention, as your patients will know that should they need your help, you are just a video conference away.
The advantages of video conferencing for the healthcare field are plenty and varied. If you work in healthcare, you should consider adopting a HIPAA-compliant telemedicine video conferencing tool. Contact MegaMeeting today for a free consultation to learn more.
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