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A transformation of telemedicine can improve patient loyalty

A transformation of telemedicine can improve patient loyalty

  • October 18, 2021

A transformation of telemedicine can improve patient loyalty

Amy Miller

By Amy Miller, Regional Director of Growth, AMD Global Telemedicine.

Even before the pandemic, fewer Americans were visiting family doctors.

According to a long-term study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, the number of US adults with a GP has decreased from 77% in 2002 to 75% in 2015. It is a seemingly slight decrease that nonetheless accounts for millions of patients. And because of the pandemic, the fear of entering hospitals will further exacerbate the problem and cause healthcare systems to miss out on long-term income-generating relationships. Fortunately, virtual care can fill the gaps if health organizations implement it appropriately.

COVID-19 made people wary of non-essential face-to-face interactions, but it also encouraged them to try new technology solutions ranging from shopping for groceries online to telemedicine visits to doctors. According to Kyruus’ “Patient perspectives in the virtual nursing report“72% of patients surveyed had tried virtual care for the first time during the pandemic, and more than 75% of them were“ very satisfied ”. In fact, nearly three quarters of respondents would like virtual care to be an option in the future, and half would switch providers to make sure they had that choice.

Advancing telemedicine

The video conferencing model of telemedicine, popular during the pandemic, was incredibly effective in expanding access to care, but it has its limitations. In particular, virtual video-only care does not allow real-time transmission of diagnostic data from medical devices, including stethoscopes, EKGs, and ultrasound machines. By offering virtual models of care that integrate medical devices, clinicians can more accurately diagnose and treat a wider variety of patients. Facilities can also expand treatment to include the treatment and billing of patients with increased visual acuity.

Patients and providers currently use telemedicine primarily for one-time appointments, but organizations can leverage a more adaptable telemedicine program across the continuum of care and at multiple touchpoints. To achieve this goal, health systems need to view telemedicine as an important part of health care rather than an exception. To leverage telemedicine and reap the benefits of improved quality of service and patient loyalty, healthcare leaders should follow three key steps:

  1. Fill in service gaps.

A recent analysis of American telemedicine use during the pandemic found that many patients sought help with behavioral health problems. Many health systems have responded by doubling the audiovisual technology required to connect these patients to behavioral treatment options.

Now hospitals need to identify new performance gaps and expand their programs to close them. In this way, they can build on an existing foundation to provide better care in a wider range of diseases. When patients have all of their primary and specialty services in one place, they have fewer reasons to look elsewhere.

  1. Keep it simple

According to JD Powers second annual “US Telemedicine Satisfaction StudyConvenience is a major reason for the introduction of telemedicine. Without an easy-to-use telemedicine platform, patients are unlikely to continue virtual care. Make sure appointments are easy to schedule and attend, and patients don’t have to spend time learning to navigate complex software. An intuitive, easy-to-use solution will help hospitals and healthcare systems retain more patients over the long term.

  1. Improve flexibility.

Not all patients feel comfortable waiting for an appointment to be available. By giving them the opportunity to see their doctor when they need it, they can build trust and encourage patients to rely on virtual services.

Many patients, particularly in pediatric or geriatric settings, also require the presence of a relative or legal guardian. Additional care providers or specialists can also be a valuable presence, so telemedicine platforms with the flexibility to involve more than two participants are crucial.

The pandemic has accelerated the adoption of telemedicine, but health systems cannot take this development for granted. If they want to retain patients in the future, they need to develop flexible, adaptable virtual care programs that improve the quality of service delivery and promote long-term patient loyalty. Telemedicine has tremendous potential, and current implementations only scratch the surface. It’s time healthcare leaders dream bigger when it comes to virtual nursing.

Healthcare jobs

by Scott Rupp AMD Global Telemedicine, Amy Miller, Patient Engagement Strategies, Use of Telemedicine

Thank You For Reading!


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