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Benefits of Adding Telemedicine In Premier Primary Care Practices

25 May, 2018

The average primary care specialist treats approximately 19 patients per day, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians. On average, PCPs spend 22 minutes per patient. Even with this type of intense panel, there is daily pressure to increase patient load, identify more billable encounters and treat patients faster. Introducing telemedicine services as a method of treating your own patients is an excellent way to bolster those efforts without sacrificing quality of care.

No, you don’t have to join a panel of physicians.

Solutions like Mend make it possible to connect with your own patients through telemedicine solutions that don’t require you to contract with another physician organization. There are many agencies that hire physicians to treat patients who request services through that agency, but these patients would not become a part of your standing panel. In those arrangements, physicians and patients are connected at random, and there is limited (if any) follow-up or continuity of care beyond the single encounter. Through Mend, primary health care providers have access to simple technology that can be used remotely by both patient and provider. Primary care physicians can treat and follow-up with their own patients through telemedicine solutions as long as the treatment meets the standard of medicine and is delivered in accordance with state law.

How to Introduce Telemedicine

Telemedicine can be an interesting but overwhelming prospect. Physicians and practice managers are often receptive to the idea, but they become stymied when trying to figure out how to implement it and fill their virtual clinic. By working with an experienced platform partner, like Mend, who can help you navigate the implementation waterways, you can skip the stress of implementing a telemedicine solution and move right to the benefits.

Reduce no shows

Primary care telemedicine provides an alternative for late cancellations or no-shows, and it enables providers to capture the encounter without searching for another patient to fill the spot. By working directly with those responsible for managing cancellations and no-shows, your platform partner can assist in implementing a reschedule to telemedicine services policy that encourages patients who cannot make it to an in-person visit to use telemedicine as an alternative. By diverting even half of missed or cancelled visits to telemedicine, practices can recoup hundreds per day.

Divert low-acuity visits

Telemedicine visits tend to be faster, and low-acuity complaints can be treated in minutes. By diverting these patients to telemedicine, either during set hours or on an as-needed basis, providers can free up limited in-person time for more severe cases that require hands on care. Primary care specialists can divert simple prescription refills, routine follow up care and low-acuity complaints to telemedicine for faster visits without sacrificing quality of care. Mend’s implementation specialists can educate on best practices, and our telemedicine triage ensures that only patients who are appropriate for telemedicine services receive those appointments. By working with the right partner, you have an expert on hand who can help develop these workflows.

Turn phone calls into billable encounters

Premier primary care physicians provide a considerable amount of free care to patients after hours and throughout the day. By turning quick phone calls into often-billable or fee-for-service telemedicine services, providers get paid for their after-hours effort. Your platform can collect copays or fees prior to the session, and the time you would have spent on the phone becomes a full visit.

When provider after hours care, phone calls also often go undocumented. Telemedicine is documented like a regular visit, and that ensures that patient records are complete regardless where the patient is located when the support is provided.

Most importantly, telemedicine is not your EMR.

Many providers and office managers are hesitant to embark on a telemedicine implementation because they have had arduous software implementations before. Telemedicine solutions require a small fraction of the effort to implement when you work with an experienced partner like Mend. You won’t have to overhaul your daily workflow, and we can show you how to best work telemedicine into your regular day. Do you want to use a telemedicine time block? Is this a tool for strictly after-hours? Do you prefer to use it for nurse follow ups and to deliver lab results? Whatever the use case for your practice is, there is a workflow and implementation plan that is easy to implement when you’re working with the right partner.

Next steps?

Think you’re ready to get moving? Let us help! We can walk you through the process, get your implementation plan moving and start you on the road to realizing the benefits of introducing telehealth into your practice.

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