We are all navigating a global pandemic that comes with painfully difficult challenges. Widespread isolation is absolutely necessary but could create a deep, unintended separation between healthcare providers and patients. Thankfully, that doesn’t have to be the case. Providers are using telehealth to answer the call for care.
A couple of years ago, before the presence and pressures of COVID-19, I had my first telehealth experience while away from home on a business trip. As a patient, it changed my approach to getting care.
I ran out of a prescribed medication, as many of us do. Realizing this during an Uber ride, I used a telehealth service to call on a physician. During the ride, we chatted for a few minutes, and he filled and sent out my prescription. The pharmacy near my hotel had my refill ready when I arrived. You can imagine my relief.
Now consider the relief patients need now, and will continue to need, as we fight vigilantly to limit the spread of COVID-19. Whether patients have questions about the virus, need a consultation or care follow-up, or want to keep a pre-scheduled visit, there’s a tremendous reliance on providers at the moment. Clinicians are beacons of calm, advice, hope, and social connection. The provider-patient relationship has never been more vital.
Telehealth is empowering this interaction and has swiftly moved to the forefront of healthcare delivery. But this is not a temporary shift. Telehealth will become a primary component of care today and tomorrow and, as it is for me, the preference for many patients and providers.
We have seen this migration to technology before. Since we started PatientPop in 2014, tech tools have become an integral part of the patient-provider interaction. Online appointment requests, automated SMS appointment reminders, patient feedback via text and email…all are now common and essential for great outcomes and good business. Our latest patient survey data shows most patients now expect the convenience and immediacy of these tools.
Far more important, right now, is what we’ve learned talking to PatientPop practices: about nine out of 10 want telehealth services today. In response, our teams have rapidly worked to meet that need, and ensure that providers can continue to deliver care and run their businesses.
In response to these needs, PatientPop is now integrating telehealth services into our ever-evolving platform. Starting today, PatientPop providers will be able to easily transition a scheduled patient into a HIPAA-compliant virtual visit.
What’s different about PatientPop Telehealth? Many telehealth services are offered as a separate function. Providers are required to login to a server or website, or enter a network of virtual providers, in a queue of available slots for new patients.
PatientPop Telehealth works as a part of your practice, not an extension. It’s integrated seamlessly into the pre-existing PatientPop technology platform, yours to implement as you need and wish.
A good telehealth solution is more than just a video app or delivery service. It helps providers deliver a quality of service comparable to the office visit — before, during, and after the encounter. Within the PatientPop Telehealth service, patients can enter intake information, make payments, and communicate with you via text message. As with our core platform, this is an end-to-end service to enhance and ease the patient experience.
Long after we’ve all come through the COVID-19 healthcare crisis, you’re going to see more patients demanding and preferring telehealth, just as we’ve seen with online appointment scheduling and reminders. Patient preference had already been growing: As AHIP (America’s Health Insurance Plans) reports, the majority of Kaiser Permanente patient interactions in 2017 were virtual. Patient satisfaction was 93 percent.
Just as Amazon redefined the shopping experience and Uber changed our thinking about hailing a ride, telehealth will alter and enhance care delivery. Once patients feel the benefits of convenience and comfort, many will choose it every time they can.
We are here to fulfill what has always been our mission, to help healthcare providers thrive — now during this incredibly challenging time and far beyond into the future of healthcare delivery.
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