There’s little question the U.S. healthcare system is in need of improvements to ensure adequate healthcare is available for all patients. With a widening physician shortage coupled with process inefficiencies, new solutions must emerge. Connected healthcare is widely believed to have the potential to help resolve many of the problems facing the industry.
The Chronic Care Act helped alleviate some of the reimbursement issues with chronic care patients and connected health. CMS has continued to evolve its CPT codes and definitions to make it easier for physicians to be reimbursed. Similarly, state agencies are advancing their telehealth regulations, seeking to create parity between telehealth and in-office visits. The idea is to encourage physicians to participate in and promote connected health programs by ensuring they will be rewarded financially. While specific laws vary by state, in fact, 40 states and Washington, D.C. have, in some capacity, improved coverage and reimbursement of telehealth services.
There are several ways connected health solutions – like telehealth and RPM – can increase providers’ ability to generate revenue, while also offering new, convenient care options to patients.
Chronic Disease Patients –
Supporting patients with chronic diseases through regular engagement – not just office visits – can enable better and more consistent care, but it also increases revenue opportunities for providers as they are able to bill for and get reimbursed for these services. In addition, there may be a reduction in scheduling issues and travel costs for patients.
Paperwork Overload –
It’s not only about increased revenue opportunities. Connected health services could also help benefit the bottom line through reducing costs associated with traditional healthcare models. In 2017, paperwork and administrative work accounted for $812 billion in healthcare spending – more than a third of the nation’s healthcare costs. Connected health solutions may help reduce the time and costs of administrative work, with the additional benefit of creating more time to dedicate to revenue-generating patient care.
Lower Costs –
Another area where providers can benefit financially is from reduced overhead. Typically, the cost of a telehealth visit is lower than in-office visits – and much lower than ER visits. On average, reports suggest average savings of over $85 each time a patient opts for a virtual visit over an ER or urgent care clinic. By simply replacing office visits with virtual care, providers can reduce their costs, while potentially increasing their ability to serve more patients – and leaving office visits for those who truly need them.
Increased Patient Awareness –
Connected health services may increase revenue for providers simply because care is made available across more convenient digital channels, making it easier for patients to seek care and allowing their needs to be addressed earlier, before they become more serious. As many as 40% of patients say they would not have sought care without access to connected health.
Geographic Expansion –
The ability to deliver care across distances offers specialists an opportunity to extend their services to patients outside of their traditional geographies. Particularly in rural areas, patients may not have easy access to specialists – including mental health professionals – but may be able to seek treatment through telehealth, benefitting both patients and providers.
It wasn’t long ago that seeing a doctor required a trip to the office or hospital, sitting in a waiting room to be seen, possibly surrounded by other sick patients. Today, connected health makes it possible for patients to be treated conveniently and efficiently from wherever they are, saving time and cost, and offering providers an opportunity to accomplish what drove them to become physicians in the first place – while providing a revenue stream in the process.
To learn more about how connected health can help create revenue opportunities, connect with us here.