As coronavirus (COVID-19) rapidly spreads across the globe, we are seeing an increasing number of communities choosing to enact “stay at home” orders to slow the spread. The really magical thing about technology is that it is giving us all a way to stay connected and allows most people to keep working from home despite the “stay at home” order.
For those in healthcare, however, technology is serving as a bit of a double-edged sword. On the one hand, technology is providing useful alternatives so that most people can stay home and attempt to slow the spread of the virus. On the other hand, the combination of a sweeping pandemic and access to the internet means that nurses and physicians are being inundated with requests for an appointment — even from those who do not match the symptoms of COVID-19.
The Timely Importance of Adding Telehealth
At present, telehealth services can have a major impact on the widespread need to employ social distancing. It can be used for everything from initial illness screenings to regular counseling sessions. Of course, telehealth is not a stand-in for in-person care, but it can go a long way toward clearing out waiting rooms and screening patients to see whether they need that in-person appointment or not.
That is, of course, the most valuable aspect of telehealth services during the coronavirus outbreak specifically. With hospitals getting overwhelmed by people who have caught the virus or believe they show the symptoms, this can pull away a lot of time and manpower from providing other healthcare services. Telehealth screenings allow you to dedicate a team for providing those virtual screenings so that waiting room chairs and space in rooms can be saved for the patients that need care. Given this, telehealth services have seen a dramatic increase since the COVID-19 outbreak began.
The Ongoing Value of Telehealth Services
The important thing to note is that telehealth is unlikely to fade away into the background once the outbreak is finally quelled. Even without a worldwide pandemic, telehealth services will still be a good way to screen patients and provide many basic healthcare services — and after this outbreak, many more people will have a better understanding of how telehealth works. This will, in turn, make them feel more comfortable using and recommending that style of care. Considering how much more flexible a telehealth consultation is, odds are good that we will see an ongoing trend toward increased interest in telehealth services to sustain the present demand.
What this means for clinics and practices is that this is not the time to choose a basic telehealth provider simply to “carry you through.” Instead, make life easier and think long-term by seeking out a telehealth option that will work well for your needs when the current pressure has diminished. In particular, this means seeking out a telehealth option that integrates with your EHR software.
Telehealth with Electronic Health Records Software Integration
Providing the best level of care does not include treating a patient in a vacuum. Their fitness habits, day-to-day routine, ongoing stressors, and diet all play a role in their overall wellness, just to name a few. To that end, care is more effective when it accounts for all of those variables, rather than simply looking at the symptoms on their own. During the present outbreak, looking into those details may take a backseat to providing swift care, but that should not necessarily be the case.
Telehealth software that works in tandem with your EHR software can make a world of difference toward providing comprehensive care quickly and seamlessly. Think about how much more your physicians and patients would get from telehealth sessions when the physician or nurse can look at the patient’s records easily on screen during the call. This means no more flipping between tabs to find the information needed, which saves time and adds that personal element that reassures the patient. In addition, full-suite practice management software like Compulink’s not only integrates EHR software with our telehealth chat service, but we also make sure both offerings communicate seamlessly with the rest of the system. This helps to:
- Minimize the need for double documentation/note-taking.
- Expedite any prescription issuing.
- Connect the telehealth session to the patient’s billing and insurance for faster, more accurate collections.
- Easily reference past medical history and add to it during the call.
- Save time spent on documentation, improving overall workflow.
- Automate follow-up appointment reminders to reduce no-shows.
In short, your practice can expect to save time, cut down on missing or late billing collections, and generally optimize workflow. This is important now, when all healthcare providers’ time is at a premium, but it will also go on to make a noticeable difference in the way your system operates in the long run.
Want to learn more? Connect with the Compulink team online or call 800-456-4522 to request a demo today!