Although it’s helping minimize human contact during the COVID-19 pandemic, offering telehealth services can be a challenging endeavor. Consumers have built-in beliefs about seeing a practitioner in-person versus over the phone or video call.
To add to these difficulties, the pandemic that began in early 2020 has affected the number of non-urgent procedures and therefore the bottom line of many businesses, including the health industry.
As a result, you might find yourself short on revenue and therefore needing to cut costs where you can. You might be facing staff shortages due to physician burnout, self-isolation, or had to let someone go to reduce costs.
The question is how you can still provide an excellent service to your patients and keep the practice running during the pandemic and beyond in a new world.
In this article, we will discuss strategies that telehealth practitioners can use to get the most out of their staff, technology, and other resources. That way, you can gain an edge over the competition and boost your revenues now and going forward
Let’s get started!
Automated Scheduling Systems
Scheduling is a complicated task with many hidden pitfalls. For instance, some consultations may take just 15 or 20 minutes, while others require closer to an hour. Figuring this out manually costs time, hassle, and money.
This makes your company less competitive.
There are also ongoing and chronic conditions to consider. A patient may need a checkup for their diabetes or other illnesses, or perhaps a vaccination schedule.
Tasking a team member with this job not only detracts them from providing value in other ways, it holds your company back from serving clients with optimal effectiveness.
Implement automated scheduling systems instead. You can digitally maintain records of all patients — their schedules, their needs, their appointments, and even the allotted time for consultations, automatically.
That way, the people in your organization can do what they do best without getting bogged down by the scheduling.
Automated Billing and Invoicing
Billing and invoicing are often some of the most complicated parts of running a health business.
Each patient will have its own unique mix of payment preferences and your company will have its own specific requirements.
For instance, one client may pay partly with an insurance card, Medicare, Medicaid, or out-of-pocket. One or a combination of all of these payments can become a headache fast, and so can scheduling those payments.
The solution is to implement an automated process.
Set up a system so that you can link up with providers to receive the appropriate information that allows you to bill the insurance company or your patients directly.
If you lack the in-house talent to construct a system like this, it can be a worthwhile investment to hire an outside firm with the necessary expertise.
What if you could automatically renew prescriptions for patients with chronic diseases on a monthly or weekly basis? This used to be impossible.
However, with the technology that exists today, you can do so easily. A doctor does not need to be present for this, which is the best part.
Leveraging AI, telehealth companies can predict exactly when a patient’s prescription will run out and whether or not they need a new one, while also cutting costs.
If they do, you can prescribe it digitally and certify it securely.
That way, your patients can get the medicine they need without coming into contact with other people or increasing their exposure to the ongoing pandemic.
Of course, some prescriptions must still be handled in person. With proper sanitary distance and safety protocols, you can minimize these interactions and make them as safe as possible.
As a result, you save time and effort both for you and the patient, which is why patients will also like, trust, and use your company more.
Making things easier for your patients is generally a good idea. Luckily, AI has evolved to create chatbots that emulate human interaction without needing someone there at all times to speak with them live.
This can save your company time, money, and other resources that are better dedicated to other areas.
For instance, a chatbot can be programmed with questions and answers that are common for patients, from runny noses to allergies.
Chatbots won’t completely eliminate the need for live agents. However, they will drastically reduce the human resources needed to answer basic questions that would otherwise overload your team.
And during a pandemic, with less staff, this is crucial.
You can also use chatbots to recommend or schedule consultations.
As long as there is no sign-off needed by an agent, the chatbot can direct patients to online portals to complete their scheduling with a no-touch approach by your team.
Automated Data Collection
In any medical practice, you are going to have a lot of data to manage. Physicians will gather data about patients and enter them into their systems to maintain for future use and better help for the patients.
Gathering and analyzing data over a longer period of time can be time-consuming, however, this data can be invaluable to quickly respond to changes in your patient’s wellbeing.
Custom mobile apps come to the rescue here. Apps are beneficial for any type of business, let alone the health industry. If you offer your patients a mobile app solution where they can track and input some data on their own, such as regularly monitoring their blood pressure, glucose levels, or weight, this saves you and the patient a lot of time.
Collecting data through an app allows you to personalize your approach to each patient — providing better care and winning long-term patients and trust in your company as a result. Your physicians and caretakers can make faster, more accurate decisions to bolster your ability to be the premier provider in a saturated field of telehealth providers.
Running any business is always a challenge. However, telehealth has its own set of roadblocks to deal with. Without the right strategies, this pandemic could cause your business to suffer and even go under.
However, staffing shortages, revenue cuts, and other challenges are difficult but not impossible to overcome.
If you work hard and smart, you can leverage the techniques above to improve your workflow, even if you have fewer team members at the helm.
So implement the steps above, and ensure that you are not leaving potential patients and revenue on the table. That way, you can position your company for more growth instead of losing profits during the pandemic and in the future.