Once novel concepts in healthcare; telehealth and virtual care have become a common practice throughout the industry. Not only do these care options simplify the patient’s healthcare journey, but they present numerous opportunities for physicians to maximize the possibilities of care they can provide. The sudden onset of COVID-19 pushed these means of patient evaluation and treatment to the forefront of medicine, reinventing older concepts of personalized care and getting necessary treatment- fast.
While there are numerous benefits virtual care solutions bring to healthcare, it’s time to evaluate maximizing these within a small practice. It's important to note that each step of implementing virtual care services must be planned with expert guidance.
Virtual Care Benefits For Smaller Medical Practices
Telemedicine, especially over the last few years, has brought accessibility to healthcare like never before. Busy patients no longer feel the need to put off an unplanned sick visit for themselves or family members. And patients in rural areas do not have to weigh travel time and cost with the value of receiving care.
The virtual care solution offers immense benefits for a smaller medical practice by keeping patients at home and doctors busy providing the best possible care.
For starters, virtual sick visits mean there are now fewer contagious patients coming in and out of doctor’s offices. It’s easy for a physician's busy day to fall behind, but by incorporating virtual visits with their everyday in-person visits they can see more patients effectively and efficiently.
A happy, healthy patient is the goal for all medical practices, especially smaller medical practices that recognize the value of individualized healthcare. Having more opportunities to bring care to the patient is important, while still competing with larger health networks. Ultimately, being able to grow a practice and increase patient volume is reliant on proper virtual care management.
Physician Management Organizations and Best Practices for Executing Virtual Care
One of the most important factors when properly managing virtual care for smaller practices is proven processes. Virtual care for smaller medical practices can’t just be implemented, but must be rather rolled out carefully with a set of best practice guidelines that have been established by the experts. This is where having the guidance of a physician practice management expert is vital. They have seen firsthand what works from both a patient care and business perspective and can evaluate the best operational plan for each unique practice.
What are the 6 best virtual care processes for a practice to follow?
- Understanding how and when to schedule patients
- Having an established workflow, including roles and responsibilities
- Establishing and executing pre and post-visit tasks
- Patient visit, diagnosis, and treatment education
- Executing scheduled visits, patient feedback, and next steps
- Concrete billing processes
Successfully practicing telemedicine takes a combination of all six steps listed above, on top of the steps in between that can’t always be planned. Because each medical practice is unique in its skillset, specialty, and business structure; often the physician practice management company can step in to address and resolve any challenges that arise. Tracking how well these steps are working is also part of the implementation and evaluation process.
Electronic Medical Record Systems and Virtual Care
The other important part of implementing and maximizing virtual care within a smaller medical practice is the proper use of an Electronic Medical Record System (EMR). Whether a practice is already using one or is new to this process, this needs to be an optimized and heavily utilized system. The fiscal success or failure of a smaller medical practice is dependent on a properly functioning EMR.
It’s often difficult to assess how well an EMR system is functioning from simply a provider or office staff perspective. Understanding what the EMR system is capable of, how it should be used, and the change management required to incorporate it into a medical practice takes a specific set of experience and expertise. Part of a Physician Management Organization’s role is to figure out which workflow is best for the individual physician and staff alike. This is also why partnering with the right practice management company matters, especially when integrating your EMR with virtual care.
Telehealth Wrap Up
A smaller medical practice stands to benefit from both patient care and patient volume perspective with optimized virtual care. The more efficient a medical practice operates, the better treatment it can provide. Eliminating the guesswork and establishing a workflow, while also operating a successful virtual care system, should be a priority for any medical practice.
Looking to learn more about physician practice management? Use the resources below 99MGMT has put together as your one-stop medical practice management guide: