“Viewing in-person physician visits as a last resort sounds radical, but it just represents a deepened commitment to patient-centered care.” – NEJM
I have wondered for the past decade when telemedicine would finally “go big” – that is the point in time when telemedicine becomes just medicine.
A recent article in the New England Journal of Medicine is the latest signal that this shift is real and facing a steep and radical growth curve. Other research supports that patients and physicians are ready for efficient solutions. I hear frequently, and I paraphrase, “when reimbursement catches up, telemedicine will catch on.” But, what if there is a cash only option? Why wouldn’t it work now?
The answer is it can and does work now. So, what do you do?
- Understand your options for telemedicine services to be added to your existing practice – it is not necessarily disruptive nor expensive if you choose wisely.
- Embrace that patients want it already. Beckers and The Advisory Board have already reported that approximately 3 out of 4 patients desire telemedicine options. How many calls per day does your office manage for basic care requests? What if you could change how you management of these requests and generate income?
- Establish your strategy. The first step is to know what will work for you and when you are planning to take the plunge. Based on my recent experience, if you do not already have a plan, you are falling behind in the next great care frontier.
Plan B as the office visit? Maybe not quite yet. But, it is only a matter of time. Just ask yourself – when was the last time you walked into a bank branch?
Dr. Tom McDougal
Dr. McDougal is an author, professor, thought leader, and founder of Synct, an asynchronous and synchronous telemedicine solution that is changing how traditional office-based physicians view telemedicine. You can learn more at Synct.md.