By Robert S. Kaufmann, MD, FACP, The Kaufmann Clinic.
Primary care physicians are at the frontlines of our nation’s health. The average family doctor cares for 2,300 patients with visits varying from acute conditions to chronic diseases. Treating patients with the highest quality of care is a fundamental goal of every physician. However, with a very high volume of patients, limited in-office time and space, and restricted patient availability, doctors actively seek innovative alternatives to meet patient needs. More and more physicians see telemedicine as the solution and are now offering consultations through virtual devices, such as smartphones, tablets and laptops, to their patients.
Our primary care practice, the Kaufmann Clinic that has been around in Atlanta since 1954 and has multiple locations and multiple providers, recognized the need to incorporate telemedicine into our traditional, brick-and-mortar practice. Here are the ways telemedicine has benefited our practice:
Telemedicine optimizes our practice’s capabilities. A physician can only examine a limited number of patients in office due to administrative time, severity of cases, and number of exam rooms. By using telemedicine our practitioners can now increase the number of patients they see in a given day. Seeing less acute patients virtually enables us to be more efficient and effective overall. Not only remote visits, but also in-clinic visits are optimized.
Telemedicine improves our patients’ outcomes. Work, conflicting commitments, and personal schedules inhibit many patients from seeking care through traditional in-office visits, especially for needs such as follow-ups, to review lab results, or discuss how a new medication is working out. Telemedicine makes it easy and convenient for patients to stay engaged with their treatment plan and receive a stronger clinical outcome. We’re also effectively using telemedicine to turn potential cancellations into billable visits.
Telemedicine provides convenient care for patients. Instead of spending time driving to an appointment, paying to park, and waiting in the reception area, patients can simply use a telemedicine platform from the comfort of their home or office. Common acute illnesses, like a cough, runny nose, sore throat, sinus pressure, pink eye, and urinary pain, can be diagnosed and treated with virtual care.
Telemedicine excites our office staff. From receptionists to nurses to doctors, our practice is adopting and excited about offering telemedicine to our patients. Everyone recognizes the value virtual care brings and looks forward to using it as a complement to traditional in-office visits.
Since incorporating telemedicine into our practice, we have been able to improve patient care and increase overall practice revenue. Our patients have also reported an increase in satisfaction with their care and enjoy the convenience that it offers. While telemedicine is not the tool for every encounter, it is a great addition to a medical practice and allows for expanded healthcare offerings. It is essential to partner with a telemedicine company like ExamMed whose technology can be seamlessly incorporated into a practice and whose team provides best practices, training, and guidance throughout the partnership.