Strategies to Ensure Telemedicine Success in a Physically-Distanced World

By Rebecca Jones | April 17, 2020

DALLAS TX – April 17, 2020 The effects of COVID-19 on our health system infrastructure have been overwhelming. Non-essential care has ceased, hospital and physician practice volumes and revenues are way down, and health systems have not adequately pivoted to offer virtual care both now and during what will be the new normal.

It is no secret that health care organizations are facing an existential challenge. Hospital and physician practice revenues have plummeted – in some cases, dropping 40-75 percent over the last month. The shutdown of more lucrative lines of service, increased (and in many cases unused) capacity to treat COVID-19 patients, has healthcare organizations looking to new care delivery methods to utilize their providers and help offset the mounting losses.

In the post COVID-19 world, where physical distancing is the “new normal,” a better digital experience for consumers, patient access teams and referring providers alike is no longer a nice to have, but is an imperative, must-have capability. Telemedicine is emerging as the necessary care delivery choice in the present and may well remain the preferred method of the future, as more consumers enjoy the convenience and availability of providers on-demand versus the wait-for-many-weeks-to-see-a-provider-in-an-office experience of today. The future of healthcare is online and the pandemic has us racing toward it at accelerating speed.

Provider Data Management in a Physically-Distanced World

In an era of rising telemedicine consumerism, health systems must transition their complex physical care delivery assets into a single digital hub to easily engage consumers and connect them with the appropriate providers. This means that digitizing provider data is a must.

Providers are the care delivery foundation of a healthcare organization. As the mix of in-person to virtual care rapidly shifts, the notion of care locations now must include both brick-and-mortar and web-delivered care. If provider attributes by which consumers and referring staff search (i.e., “Does Dr. X offer telemedicine consults?”) aren’t digitally organized and searchable:

  • the health system operates with decreased provider utilization and revenue

  • Providers may be under scheduled because their profiles don’t correctly list them as supporting telemedicine

  • Providers will see lower paychecks due to this lower volume

  • Consumer satisfaction will fall

  • Opportunistic care providers (read: CVS, WalMart) may muscle in with greater provider telehealth accessibility and steal patients.

Provider search expectations must now be raised to allow patients to not only search by condition, health plan, physical convenience and network participation, but also virtual visit availability, including whether e-visits are either on-demand or can be scheduled, and by what telemedicine platform or service that provider delivers e-visits.

A Provider Data Management Platform Makes Pivoting to Telemedicine Simple

Relying on a central provider data platform makes tracking and managing these new attributes simple and straightforward.

Phynd is the chosen and trusted vendor for provider data management for over 300 hospitals and 35 of the nations’ largest health systems.

As strategies become increasingly telemedicine-dependent, Phynd enables health systems to enroll new providers, track which providers offer telemedicine, offer Google-like provider search for consumers, patient access and referral teams to find telemedicine providers, and boost search parameters to reveal telemedicine-supportive providers first. Finally, Phynd outreach enables providers or delegates to update their profiles with telemedicine related settings.

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