When the coronavirus pandemic struck, many consumers and healthcare professionals alike looked for new ways to gain access to necessary healthcare without compromising health and safety in crowded waiting rooms and hospitals. The answer presented itself in the form of telemedicine.
Telemedicine or telehealth is a way for patients to connect to healthcare providers online or through a telephone call. By removing the need for in-person visits, telemedicine allows patients to get the care they need from the safety of their own homes. In 2020 alone, the use of telehealth increased 78% over previous years and has since stabilized at about 38% higher than pre-pandemic levels. Experts estimate that nearly $250 billion in healthcare dollars could be spent on virtual care or care that has been virtually enabled.
Private practice physicians can adopt this trend to help expand their practice reach by providing access to a greater number of potential patients and stay ahead of other practices by zeroing in on the significant benefits of such a switch.
The Benefits of Telemedicine for Patients
There are a number of significant advantages of a telemedicine-based practice for patients. A few of the most prominent include:
- Increased convenience
- The possibility of lowered premiums through a “virtual-first” healthcare scenario where a virtual primary care provider becomes the first point of contact and care.
- Expanded access to specialty care, especially in rural areas.
- Expanded access to behavior health care, especially for areas lacking mental health providers.
- Remote monitoring and digital therapeutics that can improve patient outcomes.
Among other benefits, the ability to make and complete a health care visit within a lunch hour or even a break while at work can save patients valuable time and lower the stress associated with physician visits.
Incorporating Telemedicine into Your Private Practice
To be successful in telehealth, you must think carefully about which services you can offer virtually — and then you must ensure that they are convenient, simple, and secure.
- Start with HIPAA
Any method you use must be HIPAA compliant. That means typically free video conferencing platforms such as Zoom and Skype will not meet HIPAA guidelines. Instead, work with a third-party partner to build a secure video conferencing platform to keep patient information safe — and your practice completely compliant with data privacy rules and regulations. Security features and encryption are rare among free platforms and many paid platforms. Only the highest quality video conferencing solutions will offer this level of security, but if you are serious about telemedicine, security is an essential element.
- Choose a Knowledgeable Partner
Most private practices don’t have the resources for an in-house IT department and those that do often have overburdened staff. Take the pressure off by partnering with a third-party service provider that understands how to design and implement a robust videoconferencing platform that fits the needs of your practice.
- Test Your System First
After you have the hardware and software in place to conduct your telemedicine visits, make sure you test the system first by setting up a few virtual visits with staff. These practice sessions will help work out technological bugs and assist practitioners in getting used to providing competent care in a virtual setting. Enlist the help of your third-party partner to smooth out any wrinkles and resolve technology issues and glitches before launching your telemedicine practice.
Look to Blue Technologies to Help You Build a Secure Communication System for Telemedicine
In today’s world of increasingly worrisome cyberthreats, it is essential to have the right hardware and software in place to protect valuable and sensitive data. That is particularly true for private practice physicians and other healthcare professionals that wish to offer telemedicine as a way of reaching more patients and expanding their practices.
At Blue Technologies, we offer some of the most secure video conferencing choices to our healthcare clients. While most standard video conferencing solutions don’t offer HIPAA compliance, ours offers a high level of security that includes not only high-level security features, but also data encryption.
Our knowledgeable team can help you make wise choices to build a cost-effective virtual environment for your telemedicine needs, creating, designing, and assisting with the implementation and maintenance of the final product.
Amplify the profitability of your private medical practice and offer your patients safer, more accessible healthcare. Contact a Blue Technologies consultant and learn how our leading edge communications solutions can work for you — and your patients.