Third-party telemedicine apps have become rather popular in the healthcare industry as of late. Both admired for their capabilities and somewhat feared for the way they can disrupt the industry and force change, many practices wonder what exactly these apps might mean for them and what they can do to minimize the effects. Read on to learn more.
What are third-party telemedicine apps?
Third-party telemedicine apps offer a wide variety of virtual health services. Typically, patients set up an account, provide their insurance information, and use a chat function to get connected with the appropriate care. Often, there are options for immediate connection or to schedule a virtual visit. Depending on the specific app, care is available for minor illnesses and injuries that one may typically visit urgent care for, primary care such as check-ups, mental health, dermatology, specialist consultation, nutrition, smoking cessation, and more. Insurance is usually accepted when coverage is available and there are also self-pay options.
How do these apps affect private practice?
The convenience and availability of these apps make them a very attractive option for busy patients. When patients are in a hurry or are unable to get a convenient appointment with their primary care provider, many will turn to a third-party app. This can impact the provider’s understanding of their patient’s condition as, unless the patient explicitly requests for their records to be sent to their PCP, they are missing information about their patient’s care. If patients become accustomed to the quick access of third-party telemedicine, they may start seeking that care first, further disintegrating their relationship with their PCP, and leading to lost revenue for the practice.
How to Overcome the Effect of Third-Party Telemedicine
Third-party telemedicine apps don’t have to be harmful to your practice. With some careful planning and strategy, you can continue to thrive regardless of the presence of these apps.
- Ramp up your practice’s telehealth offering. Make sure that patients know telehealth is available through your practice and that they’re aware of which situations are appropriate for telehealth and how to schedule an appointment.
- Open the lines of communication for questions. Part of what is so attractive about these third-party apps is the ability to reach a health care professional quickly and conveniently for concerns. Utilize secure messaging through a patient portal or two-way texting to give your patients a convenient way to reach you with their questions, setting clear expectations for response time.
- Stress the importance of accurate patient records. Whether it’s a third-party telemedicine app or urgent care, the odds are good that your patients will need to seek outside care at some point. Make sure they know how to ensure those visit notes are shared with you to improve continuity of care.
While third-party telemedicine applications have much to offer in the realm of convenience and availability, nothing compares to the care a patient can receive from their own provider. By taking steps to increase your own availability for questions and more convenient appointments, you can ensure that your patients will seek care from you before looking elsewhere.
At Henry Schein MicroMD, we understand how important this is, and that’s why we work so hard to provide tools and solutions that can help your practice provide the convenient care your patients crave. From medpod for a robust, scalable telehealth experience, to MMDengage’s two-way texting solution, we are dedicated to helping your practice connect with your patients in a streamlined way.
For more information or to get started, visit micromd.com or call 1-800-624-8832.
About the author,
Crystal is a Digital Marketing Specialist at Henry Schein MicroMD. Content creation, social media management, and SEO optimization are just a few of her areas of concentration as she seeks to educate clients and prospects alike about the simple, customizable, and connected solutions we offer at MicroMD.
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