Improve Physician Efficiency With Telehealth

Telehealth Needs Better Workflows To Improve Physician Efficiency

During his keynote address at the virtual ATA2000 conference on Monday, June 21, 2020, the president of the American Telehealth Association pointed out the need to improve physician efficiency when using Telehealth. The continuing imbalance between the number of available providers and the number of patients that need to be taken care of. One of the areas where telehealth can be expanded is to better address this imbalance.  The “one-to-many” models of care that exist in physical offices needs to be extended to telehealth.

Through software, he said, “Our patients will feel cared for and we’ll be able to extend our doctors and nurses across more patients.”

 

The One-To-Many Workflow

 

Many real-time video appointments are still managed on a one-to-one basis. This model fails to leverage current workflows of medical offices that allow additional clinicians and administrative personnel to interact with the patient before and after the visit with the practitioner. Some solutions also lack the ability to have more than one person in the video session with the patient. Without a nurse or other clinician in the session, the provider is responsible for taking notes and other administrative tasks that would usually be assigned to the support person in a physical exam room.  All this cuts down on the providers efficiency and how many patients can be treated by an individual provider. Fixing these workflows within the telehealth platform will improve physician efficiency.

 

Dealing With Missed Appointments

 

Another area that needs to be addressed is appointment reminders and the virtual waiting room. Many providers are seeing an increase is in missed appoints as more of their day is spent seeing patients via video. Missed appointments when using telehealth are often exceed 30 percent. That is twice the rate as in-person visits.

 

Reasons for missing telehealth appointments

Many patients don’t view a telehealth visit as a “real appointment.”

Without the process of having to travel to an office, it is often easy to become distracted and simply “forget” an appointment.

If the process of connecting to the telehealth platform is cumbersome, patients “give-up” when they cannot connect quickly and easily to the telehealth platform.

 

Solving These Issues

 

Telehealth systems providers need to look at the reminder and engagement process that used for video meetings and webinars.  The reminder and engagement process is much more robust, often reminding people multiple times about their upcoming meeting. Many systems remind attendees 3-5 times prior to the online meeting.  These notices may start as early as 3 days before the event, then again 1 day before, then the morning of the meeting and finally an hour before the meeting.  Some even send a reminder just before the meeting is about to start.

This same type of schedule should be used for telehealth to address the issue of patients forgetting appointments.

The telehealth solution should also have “one-click” access for patients to join the telehealth environment.  Anything more than that can confuse or frustrate the user and cause them to abandon their appointment.

 

The Remote Care Partners Solution

 

The RCP Platform addresses all of these issues.  By supporting the familiar workflows associated with the physical office, the “one-to-many” model can be supported with the RCP Platform. Providers time can be spent on the highest priority tasks, while other support functions can be delegated to other clinicians and staff.  This is all done without requiring any additional input or “clicks” from the patient.

The interactive notification system in the RCP platform can better engage with patients.  This cuts down on missed appointments and helps to keep appointment books full.

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