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Maximizing virtual care in 2021: How to innovate and advance your practice in a consumer-driven environment

May 21, 2021
Health IT Telemedicine

As an industry, we must collectively continue to address reimbursement of new technologies and care models. Implementing an effective virtual care strategy that improves patient satisfaction and achieves practice goals, however, can be simple and needn’t require extra burden on physicians or staff.

Directions: A roadmap to virtual care implementation
When it comes to building a virtual care strategy, the first step is to identify your practice’s needs, set tangible goals for the practice and then build on that strategy piece by piece. This process is meant to be customized to a practices’ specific goals. No one practice’s journey is the same. However, after identifying your practice’s goals, there are a few steps that can ensure success along the way:
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1. Optimize telehealth. As one of the most in-demand virtual care tools, telehealth can be utilized at an even higher rate in 2021 and beyond to provide optimal care and lower practice costs.
2. Promote health services. Practices can use broadcast patient messaging to distribute practice updates, such as new offerings like telehealth, the latest info on COVID-19 vaccines, or additional services. This solution helps practices easily reach and connect with its patient base, without overwhelming staff time, via personalized communications that assist in increasing patient engagement and generating practice revenue.
3. Keep practice schedules full. After receiving a broadcast message, patients can easily request and sign up for an in-office or telehealth visit. Using a HIPAA-compliant secure text solution allows staff to quickly confirm patient visit details (i.e, date, time and other needed info), increasing staff productivity.
4. Leverage a contactless check-in. By using solutions like electronic forms, practices can decrease human touchpoints and eliminate errors associated with manual entry. Additionally, a virtual waiting room can eliminate unsanitary, in-person waiting areas and highly trafficked touchpoints.
5. Implement a paperless practice. Utilizing paperless solutions like electronic faxing streamlines document sharing and reduces costs, as well as improves a practice’s overall workflow and efficiency. Creating a fax-free office is one major step to building a truly paperless practice and full virtual care strategy.

In a virtual care journey, there is no final destination. As provider and patient needs evolve, so, too, must your practice. While each practice's strategy may vary, by adding a variety of tools to your virtual care suite step by step - which tie seamlessly together - a practice can experience higher patient engagement and satisfaction, better patient response rates, a reduction in appointment no-shows, and ultimately greater long-term success and profitability.

About the author: Michael Morgan is the president of Updox. With a successful track record in helping organizations use technology to transform the way healthcare is delivered, Mike has more than 25 years of healthcare leadership within software, behavioral health and HIT organizations. Updox was named to the Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing companies in America for the past six consecutive years.

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