Due to the persistence of COVID-19, today’s healthcare environment relies heavily on telehealth as a viable – and often preferred – option for routine patient care. It’s no secret that the onslaught of the pandemic prompted providers nationwide to transition from in-person healthcare services to telephone and video exchanges. With safety top of mind, the concept of telehealth was broadly embraced by both patients and providers, and organizations are now increasing emphasis on telemedicine as a viable option in the medical industry.
Initially popularized as a provisional safety net during the early throes of the pandemic, virtual health is a new standard of care that is both expected by patients and popular with providers. Health systems made tangible investments in telehealth, realizing that virtualization across the patient access space drives cash flow, patient satisfaction, and patient loyalty. Furthermore, extending virtualization from clinical care to revenue cycle functions such as eligibility screening makes it easier than ever for providers to help the uninsured secure healthcare coverage, thereby boosting revenue while maintaining the general health of their communities.
Further, by virtualizing certain aspects of the patient journey, health systems can also readily facilitate advanced patient segmentation efforts to ensure more tailored, targeted, and effective care delivery.
Virtual healthcare eligibility and enrollment programs necessitate a modern set of best practices to ensure patient satisfaction, patient engagement, and patient consent. Presenting appropriate disclaimers, addressing the validity of electronic signatures, and providing the ability for patients to opt out of text messaging are just a handful of examples of how we can maintain a primary focus on the patient, even as we look to further incorporate technology into our programs.
Ideally, the service delivery model should appropriately integrate a mixture of people, technology, and processes. For hospitals and healthcare organizations that care deeply about putting the patient first while optimizing procedures, virtual health is not meant to replace the human touch within the healthcare space, but rather to enhance productivity and efficiency while meeting patient needs in an easy-to-use setting.
Patients appreciate the flexibility and accessibility of the virtual experience, from convenient online scheduling to secure payment portals and electronic medical records, receipts, and documents. Meanwhile, providers can leverage telehealth to reduce costs and eliminate the need for additional onsite personnel. What’s more, virtual technology enables consistency across patient intake, even as hospitals struggle with staffing shortages and high patient access turnover rates.
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