How Telemedicine Defines the New Normal of Patient Access
Telemedicine adoption has surged during the ongoing coronavirus, with Forrester projecting 1 billion virtual visits by the end of 2020. To learn more about the successful implementation and benefits of telemedicine, DocASAP hosted guest speakers from South Bend Clinic and OBGYN West to discuss their insights in a free webinar, “Telemedicine: The New Normal for Accessing Care.”
Moderated by Jordan Pisarcik, VP of Growth and Customer Engagement at DocASAP, the guest speakers discussed their lessons learned from rolling out telemedicine and how virtual visits will define healthcare’s new normal.
South Bend Clinic Expands Patient Access to Telemedicine
Shannon Hubler, Chief Operating Officer at South Bend Clinic, shared that the multispecialty healthcare group already had telemedicine services available before the pandemic reached American shores. However, South Bend needed to scale their telemedicine operations from 6 providers on platform to all 150 in only 10 business days to meet patient demand.
“Patients are becoming more consumer-driven and we hear often that they want an Amazon-like experience,” Hubler explained.
Since South Bend wanted to grow its market share and expand scheduling 24/7 without hiring new staff, they implemented DocASAP Online Appointment Scheduling to provide accurate, real-time online scheduling for virtual visits across the health system’s five specialties. According to Hubler, one key component of online scheduling was being able to schedule “real appointments.”
“It’s not asking for an appointment and we’ll give permission a couple days later,” Hubler said. “[Patients] request an appointment and secure it in real-time.”
Online scheduling enabled South Bend to expand its virtual visits and provide the convenience its patients wanted.
OBGYN West Provides Online Telemedicine Scheduling for Safe Care Delivery
OBGYN West, which operates 4 clinics in the Twin Cities, MN area, wanted to support patients during the COVID-19 pandemic with uninterrupted access to care. Telemedicine enabled patients to schedule appointments at their convenience while minimizing risk of exposure to illness.
OBGYN West leveraged digital channels such as their patient-facing website and email to spread the word about its virtual visits.
“The message we wanted to convey via email blast and our website was that we’re here, we’re open, and we’re able to see you in two different ways–in-clinic and through telemedicine,” said Chris Gooder, Executive Director of OBGYN West.
Gooder went on to explain that, “Telemedicine visits allowed [patients] to feel more at ease, like they still had access to their providers while staying at home in a safe environment.”
Recommendations for Optimizing Access to Telemedicine
As the healthcare landscape continues to evolve, provider organizations are seeking new approaches to attract and retain patients. Today’s tech-savvy and digitally empowered consumers demand customized and convenient health service options that suit their needs, budgets, and schedules.
Pisarcik concluded the webinar with a few recommendations for optimizing patient access to virtual care:
- Add scheduling CTAs to search, social, and health plan digital assets – enable patients to seamlessly schedule appointments according to their priorities.
- Replicate front office/intake protocols in online scheduling – ensure provider scheduling protocols are replicated to ensure accurate, real-time availability.
- Create an easy-to-navigate provider directory – ensure that patients can easily find the right provider based on all factors that will lead them to optimal care.