Telemedicine is a wide market with hundreds of choices covering dozens of different applications and medical fields. The best service for your practice, therefore, will depend on the kind of care you deliver and the types of services you want. Below we’ve called out several of the best options for different kinds of telemedicine uses, including those for general practice healthcare providers, hospitals and select specialists.
Is Telemedicine Right for My Practice?
Before introducing your telemedicine into your practice, you should be aware of how this shift will change your practice and determine if it’s even a right fit for you at all. Telemedicine comes with several benefits that can boost your practice’s efficiency and expand your clientele; however, you will have to decide how invested you will become in this new direction, especially if you plan to also maintain your physical office and in-person appointments.
Telemedicine is a scalable platform that can be as simple as talking with patients over text messages or as expansive as setting up remote offices, each with its own staff. You’ll need to decide how much time and money you will dedicate to telemedicine, while weighing how much time and money it can save you in return. According to a Geisinger Health Plan study, the estimated return of investment was $3.30 for every $1 spent on a telemedicine program.
Whatever you decide, you and your staff should be prepared to go outside your comfort zone, as any method of telemedicine can change your office dynamic. For example, you may need a staff member dedicated to organizing your online appointments, or have a nurse dedicated to fielding online patients’ concerns before handing them off to you. If you have a smaller practice, you may be capable of handling the telemedicine side of things while your staff takes care of in-house patients, but you’ll want to beware not to undertake too much through telemedicine at the expense of your in-person clientele. On the other hand, you may decide to transition to being a full-time virtual doctor.
Telemedicine in its current form is not without complications, and depending on where you are located, it may be impractical for the time being to implement telemedicine. Laws on telemedicine surrounding licensing, insurance reimbursement, malpractice liability, prescribing medications and privacy are not entirely established and vary from state to state.