Telehealth lets your members “visit” their providers remotely, replacing in-person visits with audio and video appointments. This creates new opportunities that members, providers, and health plans can all appreciate.
Most people are accustomed to going to a provider when they have a health issue. But they may also be accustomed to avoiding going to a provider because of the inconvenience. For those members, scheduling an in-person appointment can mean:
- Taking time off work
- Paying for childcare
- Paying for gas, parking, or other transportation costs
Not to mention, when you’re sick or injured, getting yourself (and possibly your kids) to the doctor can be a pain.
Telehealth lets your members meet with a provider from the comfort of their home. Without the added time of traveling members can even meet with a provider during a break at work. And since many providers are only open during typical working hours, this may be the only way they can schedule a visit without taking time off.
And your members don’t just appreciate the convenience, they’ve come to expect it. A survey by Software Advice found that 77 percent of patients were interested in telehealth and were more likely to select medical providers who offer this service.
So, it’s not surprising that health plans are building telehealth into their overall mobile engagement strategy. Here are three more things to consider when creating yours.
1. It benefits your providers
Telehealth comes with several major benefits for your providers, including more reliable appointments, the ability to serve more patients, and greater flexibility. All of this serves to help providers deliver better, more efficient care.
A single missed appointment or a series of late patients can throw off a provider’s entire day, and it can frustrate other patients. When your members don’t have to coordinate childcare, travel, work, and other commitments to visit a provider, there are fewer opportunities for them to be late, miss their appointment, or have to cancel.
Making appointments via telehealth also means providers can use the flexibility of telehealth to make appointments after hours, when the office would normally be closed, allowing them to bill for appointments that would normally be lost.
2. It improves health outcomes
When going to the doctor is about as convenient as going to the emergency room, members often delay seeking care, and choose where to go based on how serious they think something is. But when your members can meet with a doctor from home, it’s a lot more convenient to talk with their provider at the onset of symptoms and before deciding what (if anything) needs to happen next. This is especially true of patients with chronic conditions, who providers can easily monitor utilizing telehealth visits.
Some schools and assisted living homes have fully embraced telehealth and use it to help parents and residents decide if a hospital visit is necessary. And reducing unnecessary hospital visits and readmissions means reducing the cost of care.
3. It adds value to your health portal
If your health portal facilitates telehealth, suddenly your members have a lot more reason to use it regularly, allowing them to discover it’s other benefits.
You’ve already spent time, money, and energy to build or buy health tools to help your members manage their care. But until they experience that value for themselves, they may not embrace your digital solutions. “Visiting” the doctor from home or work could be just what your members need to get plugged in.
Learn what the Healthx enterprise platform can do for you
With the ability to provide efficient, quality care while reducing costs, more and more health plans are seeing the benefits of adding telehealth to their services. In a systematic review and narrative analysis, BMJ Journals noted that telehealth makes quality care more convenient and engages members, while decreasing missed appointments, wait times, and readmissions.
The Healthx enterprise platform makes adding telehealth to your mobile strategy easy, so you can focus on the health of your members and the health of your bottom line. Talk with one of our experts today.