5 Reasons Why Orthopedic Practices Need a Telemedicine Platform
Posted by Paolo Gabriel Demillo
Just a couple of years ago, having telemedicine and orthopedic medicine in one sentence would have been an oxymoron. How can a branch of healthcare that almost always requires physical interaction with patients work in a remote setup?
However, when the pandemic struck, practices across all specialties were forced to adopt remote care, and orthopedics was no exception. Almost overnight, having a telemedicine platform became vital in keeping their doors open and minimizing care interruption.
Fast forward to 2022, many orthopedic practices have fully embraced telemedicine despite the return of in-person visits. Not only did telemedicine successfully integrate with existing workflows, but it also introduced several new benefits. What was initially thought of as an unfeasible combination turned out to be an effective solution.
Why You Need a Telemedicine Platform
If you are still on the fence about remote care, here are five reasons why your orthopedic practice needs a telemedicine platform.
1. To Encourage Patients to Seek Medical Help
How often have you seen cases where a minor injury worsened because the patient didn’t see a doctor immediately? It’s common for patients with non-life-threatening injuries to put off seeing a doctor due to distance, time constraints, and other persistent healthcare access barriers.
Driving or commuting to the clinic and waiting their turn in the waiting room can discourage patients from getting the help they need. Plus, going to an appointment could also mean missing work. With telemedicine, patients can conveniently see an orthopedic specialist without the usual hassles and impediments of in-person appointments. The convenience and cost-effectiveness that telemedicine offers encourage patients to seek medical help right away.
2. To Add an Extra Income Stream
Many practices are still reeling from the adverse financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now more than ever, you want to maximize your cash flow and capitalize on every opportunity to add to your income stream.
Telemedicine is an excellent way to increase compensation and improve your revenue. A significant portion of orthopedic visits are follow-up appointments, which tend to take longer if conducted in person. Most of the time, patients put off follow-up visits, especially if they are no longer in pain or seeing any symptoms.
This could lead to negative care outcomes and subsequently hurt your bottom line. However, with the convenience and accessibility telemedicine offers, you can shorten the gap between visits and ensure that patients go through your entire prescribed treatment plan while also improving your bottom line.
3. To Improve Healthcare Accessibility
As much as you’d like to help everyone in your community, there are limitations to the people and areas you can reach. With telemedicine, though, you can meet with patients from remote and underserved areas without additional offices or staff.
Patients from rural communities suffering from orthopedic injuries often find it challenging to find an orthopedic specialist within their immediate proximity. This leads to adverse conditions that could have easily been prevented.
Telemedicine can bridge the gap between you and underserved patients. It is beneficial to both the patients and your practice because it brings medical services closer to them while expanding your reach. While there may be a need for those patients to see you in person at some point, something as simple as touching base can get the ball rolling.
4. To Reduce No-Show Rates
According to the Medical Group Association (MGMA), U.S. medical practices average between 5 and 7 percent no-show rates. This translates to a $150 billion yearly revenue loss for the healthcare industry.
Individually, canceled appointments may not seem like such a big deal, but added together they can significantly hurt your bottom line. Since telemedicine eliminates travel from the equation, patients who are wary about missing work or have limited transportation options are more likely to attend their appointments. And when you factor in convenience and affordability, you can be sure that your no-show rates will drop considerably.
5. To Attract Younger Patients
Millennials and Generation Z (Gen-Z) are the largest generation segments in the country, together making up 42% of the population. Tailoring your services to this age demographic can boost your revenue and expand your potential patient base.
Dubbed the “digital natives,” Millennials and Gen-Zers aren’t just adept at online and digital transactions, but they also expect the same convenient experience when getting healthcare services. So there’s no better target audience for telemedicine than younger patients.
Offering telemedicine services means appealing to the biases and expectations of the largest potential market for your practice. It’s an opportunity you don’t want to miss.
Embrace the Future of Orthopedic Care
Telemedicine is here to stay. To shy away from it is to lose a vital element for growth in a digitally enabled healthcare landscape.
While telemedicine will never replace the conventional care setting, adopting a blended care approach is ideal for catering to patients’ varying needs and preferences.
Incorporating telemedicine into your practice may seem daunting, but with the proper electronic health record (EHR) system, the process won’t even interrupt your workflows and operation. An orthopedic EHR software with an integrated telemedicine platform, like Meditab’s Intelligent Medical Software (IMS), makes telemedicine adoption a breeze.
As an all-in-one EHR, practice management, and medical billing software, IMS comes with all the tools you need to run your practice from a single platform. With its fully-integrated HIPAA-compliant telemedicine solution, Televisit, IMS makes remote visits even more convenient for you and your patients.
If you wish to stay competitive in a rapidly evolving healthcare landscape, embracing change is a necessary step. Just like how providers were initially skeptical about integrating telemedicine with orthopedic care, you’ll never know what lies on the other side of the fence if you won’t take the leap.