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Internal medicine practices are in a unique position as far as being prepared to implement telehealth in how they treat patients. As they see patients for a wide range of concerns, not every visit needs to be an in-office one. This is something to consider as patients report looking to use telehealth more and more when it comes to their care.
By leveraging telehealth as part of your internal medicine practice–not just a band-aid during the pandemic–you can keep patients on track with their care plan, better track their health, and even bill for after-hours visits.
Most internists would agree that it’s easier to get a patient into the office when they’re having an issue than during a well visit. Patients who are on active treatment plans that are working well for them can easily fall off when it comes to check-ins when they’re required to come in for shorter visits.
Telehealth can easily be leveraged in this case to keep these patients on track. In place of making patients come in for short follow up visits, you can complete these check-ins over a video call. This not only saves the medical practice time for the check-in process, and then the cleaning that needs to be done in rooms between patients, but it also saves patients the travel time. When patients don’t have to take time off work, they’re more likely to keep appointments. This will increase the practice’s revenue stream and keep patients healthier long-term.
Another instance where internal medicine practices can save patients time while keeping them on the books is when going over lab results. During patient’s annual check-ups, ordering tests such as basic metabolic panels, complete blood count tests, or thyroid tests are common. It should also be common practice for internal medicine doctors to follow up with patients about these lab results.
In place of making patients come back in to discuss, telehealth is a great alternative. These can be quick visits to discuss improvements or possible changes in patients’ treatment plans. This way, you create a billable event for your practice, and give more flexibility for the patient. Especially in the case of treatment changes, making the follow-up happen is imperative.
Internal Medicine practices can use telehealth to increase their revenue stream, and one way to do this is to offer after-hours visits. This is especially helpful for any issues that might emerge that patients aren’t sure are an urgent issue or not. It can also be helpful for patients who are typically busy during normal practice hours.
Patients will likely contact their doctors after hours with questions, and many times patient emergencies keeps them on the phone, unpaid. After-hours visits, however, are billable events for internal medicine practices when a practice uses telehealth. Leveraging video calls can not only get healthcare providers important face time with their patients – something those after-hours calls lack – it can make the out of office hours consultations quicker. The best part? It increases practice revenue, unlike phone calls.