The ever increasing pressure on independent primary care and family medicine physicians, as well as a large variety of specialists, both financially and operationally, continues to drive the need for Telehealth within the independent physician’s practice. Many primary care and other physicians worry that the rapidly-growing field of telemedicine is just too complex and time-consuming to implement in their busy practices, and, prospectively, could undermine their current in-office revenue stream.
Telemedicine in primary care and family medicine, and other specialties, including Pediatrics, OB/GYN, Dermatology, Orthopedics and Behavioral Health is used for a wide assortment of non-emergency problems for patients who want a physician’s advice and diagnostic or prescriptive consultations. As a recent CMS study has shown, over 70% of the in-person physician encounters in the United States today can be successfully completed virtually. A phone call, or increasingly a video conference, replaces those prospectively time-consuming and inconvenient face-to-face appointments. Indeed, they often enhance the doctor/patient relationship.
Telemedicine visits often help triage urgent requests to see a physician when the office is closed, which for most practices is outside 9 AM to 5 PM, Monday through Friday during the work-week (23% of the week). The remaining 77% of each week, a patient is typically waiting and worrying or seeking Urgent Care and ER settings. These include mental and behavioral health visits, often required for follow-up and prescription refills, diabetes management, high cholesterol, hypertension and hyperthyroidism. When addressed through Telehealth, and while those visits have traditionally required pre-consult vital signs and blood work in advance, increasingly the use of a variety of the latest generation of biometric devices, and increasingly, computer algorithms, may be used to allow for a Telehealth consult and spare the patient the inconvenience of an additional in-office visit. This allows the physician more in-office time and allows them to provide the consult remotely, without running in-office tests and labs.
Dr. Dan McDyer, a leading physician and OB/GYN based in Jacksonville, Florida, has recently partnered with EpicMD, www.epic.md, to begin the virtualization of his practice and provide his patients with the highest standard of convenient, affordable and accessible medical care whenever and wherever they need it most. Dr. McDyer, who serves as a section Chairman for ACOG and as a board member of Florida’s largest group of OB/GYN’s, selected “mobile-first” telehealth technology solutions provider EpicMD and is proving that physician-led healthcare solutions will always be the gold standard. Leading physicians continue to push the envelope in the bold start-up attracting top-tier medical talent coast-to-coast.
This proactive collaboration is a response to the ever-increasing demand for convenient, quality access to 24/7/365 telemedicine services. This is especially acute for rural care and definitely preserves and improves the physician-patient relationship. While also increasing the practice’s cash and recurring revenue, it provides an important buffer for patients’ urgent care needs, both after-hours and during the business day, especially when the physician’s schedule may be overwhelmed and the patient is unable to get into the office. With this collaborative relationship, the patients receive the on-demand care they need and the physician increases the number of patients treated and experiences an immediate increase in their recurring revenue stream.
Health-technology start-ups like EpicMD are designed for physicians to address the nation’s growing demand for high quality, affordable healthcare. The solution provides physicians with the technology and support they need to offer patients 24-7 concierge-style care, while simultaneously reducing costs. “EpicMD has helped us provide the highest level of care for our patients by using the latest technologies for secure HIPAA compliant videoconferencing. They have made integration simple by helping my patients understand virtual care by removing decision-making barriers through education tools, how-to videos, and in-office marketing materials. The solution has grown our revenue stream by keeping our patients’ virtual care needs in our control. We are extremely excited to be offering this cutting edge care option to our patients.” The on-demand service is fully integrated into Dr. McDyer’s practice and all consultations will follow practice guidelines to ensure the delivery of high-quality, evidence-based care.