New report from Updox highlights what it will take to transform healthcare practices, keep pace with changing patient expectations and fix reimbursement hurdles
At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, telehealth became the new norm almost overnight. According to new survey data by Updox, while most practices and health systems had already employed some type of technology to manage patient intake and appointment reminders, only 18.7% offered telehealth. Once COVID hit, however, providers saw an urgent need to connect with their patients and provide care in a safe and effective way and doing so was their primary concern. As a result, 93.8% of providers reported offering telehealth.
Today, providers who implemented telehealth via Updox are more certain that they will be back up and running in two to six months compared to those who selected another partner for telehealth (45.9% vs 34.8%). In fact, some practices that leveraged Updox telehealth retained upwards of 75% of their normal patient volume during COVID despite offices being physically closed. Looking ahead, more than 56 percent of Updox survey respondents report telehealth to be very to extremely important to the future of their practice, and more than 95% report they plan to offer telehealth in the future.
“COVID-19 has forever changed the delivery of healthcare. In a post-COVID environment, telehealth is no longer a novelty – it is a requirement to stay in business. But telehealth is just one piece of a successful practice,” said Michael Morgan, CEO, Updox. “Looking ahead, providers must expand their offerings to include a mix of in-person and virtual visits. In doing so, physicians can ultimately be more productive, engage with a larger number of patients and run a highly profitable practice.”
Post-COVID Expectations and the Future of Virtual Care
Moving forward, patient expectations for on-demand, convenient healthcare will continue to take precedent. Practicing healthcare in a post-COVID environment will require a virtual care strategy throughout the entire practice workflow that is not only cost-effective and resource-efficient, but that improves the patient experience both inside and out of the practice. This encompasses all patient engagement solutions such as video chat, secure text, electronic fax, patient reminders and touchless billing.
“Developing a virtual care strategy is imperative to a more comprehensive patient experience, improved outcomes and the long-term success of healthcare practices, but permanent reimbursement of telehealth is key to making this happen,” continued Morgan. “Healthcare has forever changed since the start of 2020, and reimbursement needs to follow suit. Patients are demanding safety, convenience, and choice when it comes to healthcare delivery. Telehealth will continue to play a critical role moving forward, and the industry needs to support their professional associations, contact congressional leaders and speak out about payment reform.”
“As an Updox customer since 2017, I appreciate the value of utilizing a full spectrum virtual care platform in order to provide the prompt, personalized care our patients need and expect,” said Philip Boucher, MD, of Lincoln Pediatric Group. “This is especially crucial post-COVID. It’s no longer just about telehealth – practices must implement additional pieces of the puzzle, including secure text, messenger, appointment reminders, to name a few – to smoothly run a profitable practice that also provides patients with greater flexibility and confidence in their doctor.”
For all the data, additional analysis and ways to support reimbursement, download and read a free copy of the full Updox 2020 Virtual Care Report.
The only place to manage healthcare communications across both in-person and virtual care, Updox offers one consolidated inbox for healthcare providers to manage the entire patient journey and office productivity. Through an all-in-one platform, Updox provides a broad set of capabilities for virtual health, patient engagement, and paperless office efficiency that work together to reduce costs and drive revenue. Updox is integrated with more than 100 electronic health records (EHR) and pharmacy management systems and serves more than 560,000 users and 210 million patients. Updox customers also benefit from an engaged user community for benchmarking, idea exchange and networking. Learn how we simplify the business of healthcare. Visit www.updox.com or follow the company on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.