Say goodbye to clunky clipboards and PDFs. Discover the best practices for collecting mental health intake forms in 2023. Empower your care teams & improve your patient satisfaction rates today.
Mental health intake forms furnish essential information for providers and care teams. However, collecting this important information can slow down a practice’s flow and impede patient care if the right solution isn’t in place. Learn more about digital intake forms, their various benefits, and the steps you can take to streamline this technology in your practice today.
Care teams use mental health intake forms to obtain a patient’s medical history, current symptoms, and other pertinent data in order to deliver patient care. These forms also include contact details, addresses, and emergency contacts. In short, intake forms are the legal way to obtain patient data.
In the past, this info was gathered simply with pen and paper. More and more often, digital intake forms are replacing the traditional method. With mental health digital intake forms, patients can complete them anywhere and anytime, and on any device. Once the digital forms are complete, they are sent back electronically to the care teams.
While the specifics of digital forms vary from practice to practice, there is pertinent data every practice should include. With the right telehealth solution, mental health providers can customize these forms to their practice needs.
The intake process sets a tone for your practice when onboarding new mental health patients. If a process is difficult or stressful, patients can get discouraged and turn away before even stepping foot in an office or joining a virtual space. The intake process must be fast, efficient, and easy to complete. Otherwise, practices are at risk of losing patients.
Digital intake forms also have an impact on patient behavior and offer a multitude of benefits.
Patients shouldn’t have to show up 30 minutes early or more to their visit to fill out a clipboard of paperwork. With digital intake forms, patients can complete the forms at home and reduce wait times.
By speeding up efficiency with digital forms, providers can see more patients every day. This also means that staff who used to handle paperwork can now focus on more important patient care tasks.
With Mend, digital forms are easy to access for patients and can speed up the intake process dramatically. Sixty-eight percent of forms are completed within an hour of being received.
Traditional paper intake at the time of a visit isn’t only a nuisance for patients. Pen and paper processes also slow down care teams and create a bottleneck at the front desk.
There is also an environmental cost to consider. Digital intake forms cut costs related to paperwork, including paper, clipboards, pens, printing supplies, and storage.
If a paper document gets lost or falls into the wrong hands, your practice could face HIPAA violations. Digital intake forms help tighten security by ensuring that only authorized care teams can access patient data.
Mend is 100% secure, confidential, and HIPAA-compliant telehealth software. In order to fill out their mental health intake forms, patients are sent a secure link with steps to verify.
Digital intake forms allow care teams to keep patient data accurate with even less work. With pen and paper methods, duplicate data entry tasks increase the risks of data errors. Inaccurate patient records can cause inefficiencies in care workflows and even compromise care and treatment decisions.
Digital forms reduce the manual touchpoints for patient data, reducing the chances of human error. More than 98% of patients on Mend have valid contact details.
In an increasingly digital landscape, patients want easy solutions. Ninety-three percent of patients expect healthcare practices to use digital tools when interacting with them, specifically during intake.
When patients complete their forms online, they also become more involved in their care. In turn, they are more likely to keep their appointment. Practices with a telehealth solution and digital intake forms in place have an average patient engagement rate of 80%.
The average no-show rate is 23% globally, but that number is often higher in the mental health space. Patients with behavioral illnesses often face more hurdles, such as anxiety, depression, or decreased motivation. These elements make it difficult for patients to follow through with help.
If your mental health practice is looking for ways to decrease no-shows, digital intake forms may be the answer. With an easy, straightforward intake process, patients are more likely to engage in their care and attend their visits.
[Related: The Ultimate Guide to Eliminating No-Shows in Mental Health Organizations]
The benefits of digital forms are clear — but you may now be wondering how to integrate this tech into your current flow. The right digital solution will include custom-built forms, secure links, and system integration.
Different practices need different forms. Mental health intake forms provide a way for patients to discuss their concerns and goals for treatment. This info then enables care teams to gain a deeper understanding of the patient’s history and provide tailored support.
With Mend, providers can customize and tailor digital intake forms to specific needs and specialties. Our experts can digitize any current forms, update them as needed, and translate paperwork into any language.
Once forms are ready, patients will, of course, need a way to access them. With Mend, patients can access their digital intake forms via secure links through text/email or through the practice’s website.
Whether patients use a smartphone, tablet, or laptop, they can fill out the forms in just a few steps. Patients can even send their medical histories by attaching files or images.
Reputable software providers like Mend use encryption and other security measures to protect sensitive patient data. This ensures compliance with healthcare mandates like HIPAA and is paramount to consider when choosing your digital solution.
Integration with your practice’s EHR must occur at multiple touchpoints. First, a digital solution needs to identify a new patient that needs onboarding forms. Once the system pinpoints the patient, it should automatically send the required forms via a secure link.
After the patient fills in their details, the fields can auto-populate in the patient’s EHR. This reduces the need for manual entry and the potential for error. Digital solutions can also flag care teams if details are missing or incomplete.
In addition to forms, the right platform can also send appointment reminders before a visit or therapy session. After-visit dues can also be auto-sent.
Digital intake forms work wonders for in-person visits by reducing wait times and office — but the benefits of combined digital forms and telehealth capabilities are exceptional. That’s because gathering essential info before virtual visits allows care teams to focus solely on doing what they do best: providing care. Here’s how:
When setting up your digital intake process, you can measure the success of your forms by tracking telehealth key performance indicators (KPIs). Digital patient intake forms offer real-time data collection and analysis. Here are three important KPIs to consider:
With this data readily on hand, teams can spot patterns and potential issues that might go missed with paper-based forms.
The future of digital intake form solutions goes even further. Soon, processes will be able to automatically score patient responses or use algorithms to assess mental health risk levels. This will help care teams quickly spot patients who may require urgent attention.
Put an end to dreaded paperwork and implement digital solutions in your practice today. Digital intake forms offer a multitude of benefits, including faster intake, improved efficiency, more time with patients, and more. Mental health digital intake forms also go hand-in-hand with telehealth visits, allowing you to complete more sessions and help more patients.
At Mend, we provide proper training and ongoing support to make the transition to digital forms even easier. With an average response time of 23 seconds, staff and patients can get instant support, keeping therapy sessions on track. Schedule a demo today to see why Mend is the #1 customer-rated for ease of use and customer service.
ORLANDO, FL and BOSTON, MA September 21, 2023 – Mend, the leading patient engagement and telehealth platform for behavioral health, today announced it has officially partnered with Eleos Health, the leader in AI for behavioral health. This partnership will make both platforms more accessible to organizations across the country, enabling them to not only optimize virtual care delivery and quality, but also alleviate the burden of session documentation for providers conducting virtual appointments.
Mend users will be able to easily leverage Eleos Health’s Augmented Intelligence technology to reduce session documentation time by more than 50% and gain instant access to session insights on client engagement, therapy themes and evidence-based techniques.
Eleos Health users will likewise benefit from the partnership with access to Mend telehealth sessions that launch directly from the Eleos Health dashboard. Mend’s industry-leading, comprehensive suite of tools — including Patient Self Scheduling, Digital Patient Intake & Check-in, Patient Payments and Telemedicine — have been shown to drive a 90% patient engagement rate while reductions in no-shows from double-digits to an average of 7.6%.
Amid rampant provider shortages and outsized demand for behavioral health services, virtual sessions have emerged as an important option for clients to access the care they need in a timely manner. Mend is uniquely focused on augmenting the accessibility to behavioral healthcare and expanding geographic reach to positively impact outcomes with a platform that is tailor-made for the modern healthcare landscape, supporting hybrid care workflows that seamlessly integrate in-person visits with virtual consultations, thereby ensuring that every patient can receive the care they deserve, regardless of their circumstances.
Healthcare providers are currently spending upwards of 30% of their time on administrative tasks. Mend eases the administrative lift from the provider as it leverages patient self-scheduling to streamline patient intake, patient check in, and the scheduling process. Automation and AI technologies like Eleos Health are also poised to make a considerable impact in reducing the burden of these operational responsibilities — while also increasing client engagement and care quality, closing a loop that makes Mend and Eleos Health a powerful pairing.
“Our primary focus at Mend is to make healthcare more convenient, accessible and effective for the people who need it. We have achieved this for nearly a decade with our digital patient engagement platform that has supported more than 15 million appointments to date,” said Warren Bates, CEO of Mend. “We are always looking for new ways to improve the virtual care provider experience. This partnership with Eleos Health will help us do exactly that by reducing time that providers are spending on one of their most onerous tasks: documentation. We believe this will help Mend users improve care quality and patient outcomes.”
Behavioral health organizations across the country are increasingly turning to technology as a pathway toward overcoming workforce challenges and enhancing care quality. Eleos Health’s Augmented Intelligence and CareOps Automation platform, for example, has been shown to cut documentation time in half, increase the use of evidence-based treatments by 35% and drive three to four times better symptom reduction compared to treatment as usual.
“We are thrilled to bring Mend into the Eleos ecosystem and vice-versa,” said Alon Joffe, CEO of Eleos. “They share in our vision of scaling care quality and access in behavioral health through the thoughtful, intentional application of specialized technology. Together, we will continue bringing behavioral health into the era of innovation, delivering the tools providers need to not only overcome the challenges of the modern healthcare landscape, but also achieve a standard of care no one dreamed possible a decade ago.”
The Eleos-Mend integration will be available later this year. For more information on Mend’s suite of digital health solutions, visit mend.com. To learn more about Eleos Health’s Augmented Intelligence and CareOps Automation platform, visit eleos.health.
Community Mental Health organizations look to Mend to improve the patient experience and provide convenient access to care for everyone. The Mend approach empowers providers, staff, and patients to streamline communications through digital health solutions resulting in a better patient intake and check-in process and telehealth experience for both in-person and virtual care. By engaging patients at the right time in their care journey, Mend is able to achieve single-digit no-show rates which deliver improved clinical outcomes while driving increased revenues for the organizations it serves. To learn more, visit www.mend.com.
About Eleos Health
Eleos Health turns behavioral health conversations into documentation and intelligence that drives better care. Leveraging proprietary, behavioral health-specific large language models (LLMs) created with treatment data and clinical expertise unmatched by any other platform on the market, Eleos accurately interprets, analyzes and documents behavioral health conversations, reducing the operational burden on providers while unlocking objective insights into evidence-based care and the therapeutic alliance. Leadership teams can scale supervision and training while gaining unprecedented visibility into staff activity, caseloads and performance as well as population health. Eleos is the only technology of its kind that embeds seamlessly into electronic health records (EHRs), telehealth tools and existing provider workflows. With Eleos CareOps Automation, behavioral health providers and health plans are setting a new standard for care. Learn more at www.eleos.health.
Ready to see Mend in action? Schedule a demo today and see how our technology can transform your digital health services.
Learn 10 proven methods for mental health practices to reduce patient no-shows. Start taking the steps to boost patient attendance, engagement, & outcomes.
Reducing no-show rates in mental health practices is a critical objective in 2023. As many as 50% of mental health appointments aren’t completed. This significantly impacts patient care and provider revenue. In this article, we’ll explore both immediate and long-term practical strategies providers can take to tackle this pervasive issue.
No-shows are more than just a nuisance. When patients miss their visit, this creates gaps in their care and can result in poorer health outcomes. For providers, no-shows result in reduced revenue and lowered productivity.
An empty time slot translates to lost revenue, and the practice has to shoulder the high cost of no-shows. The average no-show rate for all specialties across the globe stands at 23%. This translates to a minimum of $857,808 in lost revenue each year in a 10-provider practice.
In the context of behavioral health groups, the no-show rates can reach as high as 50%. Let’s consider if a mental health visit averages $74 in revenue. A behavioral health group with 10 providers would experience a monthly loss of $186,480, amounting to $2,237,760 annually.
Several factors contribute to missed visits. In behavioral health, conditions like anxiety, PTSD, and depression can affect motivation and hinder patients from seeking help. Physical health issues also play a role. Consider patients with disabilities or weakened immune systems who face challenges in attending therapy sessions. Other reasons include transport issues, distance to providers, work schedules, and childcare conflicts.
One study by The American Journal of Managed Care found certain patient groups were also more prone to missing their visits. They found that younger people, males, and unmarried patients are more likely to no-show. Young adults with children and those with limited experience in mental health treatment also have a higher no-show rate.
All of these factors must be taken into account when assessing how to improve no-show rates in your practice.
Here are ten methods for reducing no-show rates in mental health practices. These methods offer both immediate and long-term solutions you can implement to increase patient attendance.
What if there was a way to prevent no-shows before they happen? It’s possible with the right appointment reminder system in place.
A practice could traditionally reduce no-shows by having staff members call patients and remind them of their upcoming visit. While somewhat effective, this puts a needless burden on staff members and is a poor use of resources. Instead, a practice should implement automated reminder systems.
Putting in a system of automated reminders can significantly reduce patient no-show rates. One study showed a 29% reduction in no-shows with automated reminders. These systems can send timely and personalized reminders via various channels, such as text messages, emails, or phone calls. With Mend, patients receive multiple touchpoints throughout the scheduling process and wellness visit.
In addition, these reminders can include important info like appointment details, directions, and any necessary prep instructions. All of these efforts enhance patient preparedness. This helps to get patients involved in their own care and reduces no-shows.
Ultimately, the simple use of automated reminder systems has several benefits. It streamlines the scheduling process, reduces no-show rates, optimizes resources, and enhances overall practice efficiency.
Scheduling a visit should be seamless for all patients, but especially for those seeking mental health support. Traditional scheduling options can cause unnecessary headaches. It can be difficult for patients to coordinate schedules or find time during the day to contact the practice. Online booking trends even show that 40% of appointments are booked after business hours.
With the right telehealth tools, patients can take their counseling sessions into their own hands. Sixty-seven percent of people actually prefer online scheduling for booking visits. The ability for patients to self-schedule, self-reschedule, and cancel online can have a dramatic impact on no-show rates. In the same study, 72% of patients and 60% of healthcare professionals say online booking platforms encourage patients to keep their appointments.
Offering scheduling options outside of normal hours can also boost patient attendance. This includes offering evening or weekend slots. Flexible scheduling also recognizes the diverse lifestyles and needs of patients. Patients can find a convenient time that fits their schedule. This approach reduces barriers to access and improves patient and provider relationships.
Moreover, flexible scheduling offers a patient-centered approach, enhancing patient engagement and commitment to treatment. Patients are more likely to prioritize their mental health when they feel their scheduling requests are valued. By offering flexible time slots, mental health practices can reduce no-show rates. This flexibility will also ensure better overall care and foster stronger patient-provider relationships.
Improved access to care plays a crucial role in reducing no-show rates in mental health practices. Patients facing behavioral illnesses frequently experience reduced motivation and other barriers. These barriers hinder their ability to effectively seek and engage with the assistance offered. In short, if getting to a mental health evaluation or therapy session is difficult, a no-show is more likely.
To counter this, providers should consider choosing a convenient location patients can easily access. This might be via public transport or in a walkable neighborhood. Providers should also ensure ample parking space for their patients. These accommodations can remove logistical barriers for patients, making it easier for them to attend their sessions.
Fostering open and clear communication with patients is crucial for reducing no-show rates in mental health practices. Clear communication ensures patients are well-informed about their therapy sessions, treatment plans, and any instructions they need to follow.
An easy way to provide open dialogue is through an online portal or telehealth platform. With this technology, patients can prepare ahead of time for their mental health evaluation or wellness check-ins. They can easily reach out to care teams with questions or concerns. Patients can also review health notes post-visit.
Having translation services readily available, whether virtual or in-person, also helps enhance patient communication and increase overall health outcomes. Ultimately, strong communication promotes a collaborative relationship, reduces concerns, and helps doctors in their efforts to reduce no-show rates.
Putting a clear cancellation policy in place can go a long way in reducing no-show rates in mental health practices. By clearly stating the cancellation policy, patients are aware of the expectations regarding appointment changes or cancellations.
Providers should also inform patients about the consequences of no-shows. Patients may incur fees or disrupt their care plans. Informing them of the potential setbacks creates a sense of responsibility and accountability. This knowledge motivates patients to show up for their wellness visits. They can understand the importance of honoring their scheduled therapy sessions and the potential effects of no-shows.
A clear policy also benefits the practice. Care teams can fill the vacant time slot with another patient when a patient cancels in sufficient time.
Offering virtual visits increases access and boosts attendance for the general patient population. It can prove especially helpful for those seeking mental health services.
Patients grappling with conditions such as anxiety, depression, PTSD, and others may lack the drive to leave home. This is evident even if patients know receiving treatment can aid in their recovery. Moreover, the societal stigma attached to mental health treatment can evoke anxiety. These factors can contribute to the overall challenges patients face in seeking help.
Telehealth can lessen some of these challenges, making it easier for patients to connect to their doctors. Telehealth also makes it easier to match patients with appropriate providers. With telehealth, there is greater diversity in the pool of providers.
Virtual sessions also remove the need for patients to travel, eliminating transport challenges or time constraints. The patient groups earlier mentioned by Zivin et al. that are most likely to miss their sessions are also more reachable through technology. These patient groups are able to receive care and interact with their care teams via tech in ways that are familiar and easy for them.
For these reasons, telehealth is a major factor in reducing no-show rates in mental health. Learn how to establish a strong telepresence here.
Providers can engage patients even before their first visit. Engaging with the community through programs, workshops, and awareness campaigns can play a major role in boosting future attendance rates for mental health doctors. By promoting the importance of mental health treatment, these measures increase community understanding and awareness. Patients are more likely to attend their visits when they recognize the importance of seeking and following through with mental health treatment.
Educational programs and workshops also provide a chance to address falsehoods about mental health care. These efforts can reduce stigma and highlight the benefits of proactive mental healthcare. This inspires future patients to actively engage in their mental health treatment, helping to reduce no-show rates in mental health practices.
Partnering with a primary care doctor can help mental health specialists improve patient attendance. It increases the likelihood of attendance because the primary care doctor can emphasize the importance of mental health treatment during their visits. This partnership helps create a seamless healthcare experience for patients.
By teaming up with primary care providers, mental health specialists can also benefit from referrals and joint care coordination.
Creating a warm and supportive atmosphere in a mental health practice plays a major role in improving patient attendance. Patients who feel safe and welcome are more likely to seek help and follow through with their mental health evaluation and wellness check-ins.
Determine if there are any “sticky points” in the patient flow that may result in no-shows. Providers can address these issues to better suit the patient experience. Patient surveys can also provide helpful insight into whether a given visit feels welcoming.
A supportive space fosters trust, reduces fear or anxiety, and encourages patients to focus on their mental well-being. By promoting a non-judgmental and compassionate space, mental health practices can reduce barriers to seeking help. This will increase patient motivation to attend sessions, leading to lower no-show rates.
It is important for mental health specialists to routinely monitor and analyze patient attendance patterns. This will allow care teams to spot trends and find ways to reduce missed therapy sessions.
By studying the data, specialists can pinpoint common reasons behind no-shows, such as scheduling conflicts or transport problems. This data allows them to create targeted solutions, like reminders or flexible scheduling, to address those specific issues and improve attendance. Monitoring attendance helps specialists take proactive steps, improve patient outcomes, and reduce their no-show rates.
Reducing no-shows in mental health practices is possible through simple strategies. Some strategies, such as community outreach and teaming up with primary care doctors, can offer results over time. Providers can implement other strategies right now, such as automated appointment reminders or telehealth visits. Digital solutions like Mend can streamline the process. Request a free demo today to learn how to eliminate costly missed sessions and increase patient attendance.
Mend announced today that it has supported its 10 millionth virtual care appointment on its leading patient engagement and telehealth platform. This milestone emphasizes the significant role that Mend and its partners have played in revolutionizing the way virtual care is delivered.
Launched in 2016, the Mend platform has provided healthcare organizations with technology that enables the delivery of patient-centric care across many specialties including mental health.
"We are thrilled to surpass the 10 million virtual care appointment mark, especially during Mental Health Awareness Month," says Warren Bates, CEO of Mend. "We couldn't have done this without the dedication and hard work of tens of thousands of healthcare professionals who use our platform to provide care to those in need. We are deeply grateful for their support and remain committed to delivering effective solutions to improve access to care."
Mend has earned accolades from several industry organizations. TechRadar and business.com both recognized Mend as the "Best Telemedicine Software of 2023." G2 and Digital both awarded Mend in their respective "Best Patient Engagement Platforms'' in 2022. Additionally, Mend was honored with the "Best Patient Experience" award at the 2022 Connected Health Pulse MVP Awards. These recognitions demonstrate Mend's dedication to delivering innovative and patient-centered solutions within the healthcare industry.
Mend's 10 millionth virtual care appointment is a testament to the platform's dedication to patient satisfaction and clinical outcomes. By providing convenient and accessible digital patient intake solutions, Mend has established itself as a trusted partner for both patients and providers. As virtual care becomes a larger and more critical component of the healthcare ecosystem, Mend is at the forefront, empowering patients to take control of their care journey.
Mend partners with healthcare organizations to improve the patient experience by providing convenient access to care for everyone. The Mend approach empowers providers, staff, and patients to streamline communications through digital health solutions resulting in a better patient intake process and telehealth experience for both in-person and virtual care. By engaging patients at the right time in their care journey, Mend is able to achieve single-digit no-show rates which deliver improved clinical outcomes while driving increased revenues for the organizations it serves.
Ready to see Mend in action? Schedule a demo today and see how our technology can transform your digital health services.
As the PHE ends, it's important to know what is changing so you can prepare. In part 3 of our blog series, Mend reviews the temporary changes that will end on May 11, 2023.
Will virtual care still count as telehealth excepted benefit? Can providers prescribe controlled substances without an in-person exam? What about telehealth HIPAA compliance? As we near the PHE ending on May 11, 2023, providers must know which Medicare changes were only temporary and which are now permanent. In the final part of our 3-part series, we’ll cover which telehealth policies end immediately with the PHE.
The PHE allowed for flexibility in providing the following services. Some of these flexibilities will not continue after the PHE ends in May. Healthcare companies that have been relying on these should start taking action to address these now before the PHE ends.
The Use of Non-HIPAA Compliant Communication
During the pandemic, the HHS Office for Civil Rights allowed health teams to use telehealth to provide virtual care even if they didn't follow the usual privacy and security rules under HIPAA. This was as long as providers made a good-faith effort to protect patients' information.
However, this exception will end after the PHE is over. After May 11, providers must follow the usual HIPAA rules when using telehealth. Otherwise, they may risk facing penalties for noncompliance.
To help providers prepare, the OCR has provided more information on how HIPAA rules will apply to telehealth.
Moving forward in this new digital landscape, patient privacy, and security is paramount. Patients deserve (and demand) privacy and safety, and providers have an immense legal duty to protect their patients’ information.
Many providers were using standard video conferencing tools during the PHE. These do not always include the security required with HIPAA compliance in telemedicine. This negligence could result in cyberattacks, the release of patient information, and legal action. That’s why it’s essential to adopt a HIPAA-compliant telehealth program when offering virtual care services.
During the PHE, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) allowed doctors to prescribe certain medications to patients through telehealth. This allowance did not require an in-person visit at the time. This helped many people get the medical care they needed, even if they couldn't go to a doctor's office.
If the DEA doesn't take action before May 11th, the old rule will go back into effect. Patients will once again have to see a doctor in person to get certain medications. This means that people who were able to get prescriptions through telehealth may need to find a new doctor. Or, they might have to go to an office in person.
There are proposals happening now, however, to make this change permanent and allow more doctors to prescribe medication through telehealth. Policymakers have yet to reach a conclusion. As this is still changing, it’s advisable to follow updates on the CMS website and seek legal counsel.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) allowed providers to reduce or waive the cost of telehealth and remote patient monitoring services for Medicare patients during the PHE. This means that patients don't have to pay as much, or sometimes anything at all, for these services.
However, this policy only applies during the pandemic, unless the OIG says otherwise. After May 11th, providers will not be able to reduce or waive costs for patients unless there's a new policy. Providers that offer these services need to figure out how to collect these payments from patients in the future.
The easiest way to solve this issue is with a sophisticated patient engagement platform. Mend allows health teams to offer seamless in-person and virtual visits, all while providing a convenient and efficient way for patients to pay for their medical services. With Mend’s automatic patient payments, providers can even reduce AR days through our proactive and simplified payment processing system.
To make matters more complex, there are a few more telehealth changes that providers need to know. The following pandemic-era policies extend past the PHE end date of May 11. These will instead cease at the end of the calendar year of 2023.
However, it is possible that the CMS may extend these policies. If so, these policies may appear within the Physician Fee Schedule in 2024. Providers can stay abreast of the policies by viewing the most up-to-date Physician Fee Schedule on the CMS website here. A search database for current payment rates can also be found here.
The CMS made a temporary change to the rules that required providers to be physically present during certain procedures. They allowed supervising health teams to use real-time video technology to remotely supervise these procedures during the PHE.
However, the CMS will not be continuing this policy beyond the end of the year. This means that the rule requiring providers to be physically present during certain procedures will go back into effect.
During the PHE, the CMS paid higher reimbursement for doctors for providing services to patients through video visits from their homes. This meant that doctors could get paid the same amount for a video visit as they would for an in-person visit.
However, these higher payment rates for video visits are set to end at the end of this year. This means that doctors might get paid less for video visits than they did during the pandemic unless the government decides to extend the higher rates.
These codes will remain reimbursable through the end of the PHE year. The CMS defines Category 3 as services that likely have a clinical benefit when offered via telehealth, but lack sufficient evidence to justify permanent coverage.
As the PHE draws to a close, it's crucial that providers take action now to stay ahead of policy changes. Mend is here to help. Our fast and frictionless platform allows providers to effortlessly integrate virtual and in-person visits, streamline payment collections, and ensure full HIPAA compliance. We're committed to enhancing your telehealth experience and providing top-notch support every step of the way.
Ready to see Mend in action? Schedule a demo today and see how our technology can transform your digital health services.
Mend is providing this series for informational purposes only. Stay up-to-date with the latest policy changes via the Center for Connected Telehealth Policy and CMS websites. This is not legal advice. Always consult legal counsel.
As the PHE ends, it's essential to know what is changing so you can prepare. In part 2 of our blog series, Mend reviews the temporary Medicare changes for telehealth lasting until the end of 2024.
As we head closer to the public health emergency (PHE) end date of May 11, 2023, providers must prepare for changes. Part one of our blog series covers the Medicare changes relating to telehealth that will remain a permanent policy. Now we’ll dive into the temporary medicare changes for telehealth that will remain through December 31, 2024.
One of the changes Medicare made during the PHE relates to distant site providers. More specifically, Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) and Rural Health Clinics (RHCs). Medicare allowed these sites to serve as distant site providers for non-behavioral/mental telehealth services.
This change meant that patients could receive care from providers in different areas. As a result, patients who live in rural or underserved areas were able to gain increased access to care. FQHCs and RHCs can bill for telehealth services. These sites will receive reimbursement at the same rate as in-person visits until the end of 2024.
After December 31, 2024, these sites can no longer offer virtual visits relating to non-behavioral/mental health care. In 2025, these sites can serve as distant providers only for behavioral and mental health visits.
Medicare expanded the types of healthcare providers who can offer telehealth services during the PHE. In addition to doctors, this list includes physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech-language pathologists, and audiologists.
Each of these disciplines can deliver virtual care, charge for services, and receive reimbursement from Medicare. Patients who require these services can receive care remotely, reducing the need for in-person visits as the PHE ends.
This change, however, is only temporary. It will end on December 31, 2024, unless the policy becomes permanent in the meantime.
Another major temporary change to Medicare's telehealth policy is that patients can receive non-behavioral/mental telehealth services in their homes.
Previously, patients had to go to an approved originating site to receive virtual care. This may have been a doctor’s office or hospital. This change allows patients to receive care in the comfort and safety of their own homes.
Until December 31, 2024, patients can continue to see providers for non-behavioral/mental telehealth services with no geographic restrictions. Unless policy changes before the end of this time period, Medicare will cease to cover telehealth from certain locations.
Patients who require behavioral/mental health services would typically need an in-person visit with their provider to receive virtual care. This in-person visit needed to be within six months of the initial telehealth service.
Medicare temporarily eliminated the requirement for an in-person visit within six months of the initial telehealth service. After December 2024, this process changes again.
New patients will once again need an initial in-person visit after six months when the temporary measure ends. The patient will need an in-person visit annually thereafter.
The easiest way to manage this policy is hybrid care, which combines the best of telehealth and in-person visits. Team members can rely on technology for secure video visits as well as automatic appointment reminders and billing for both visits. Providers can manage this through a sophisticated telehealth platform that integrates with EMR and billing software.
One of the challenges of telehealth services is that not all patients have the technology needed for virtual visits.
To address this issue, Medicare has made it possible for providers to deliver care using audio-only platforms. This applies only to certain non-behavioral/mental telehealth services. This means that patients who do not have access to video conferencing technology can still receive care remotely.
Through December 31, 2024, providers can continue delivering non-behavioral/mental telehealth services using audio-only communication platforms.
Since the PHE, there has been growing recognition of the benefits of virtual care. More changes to telehealth policy may come in 2023 and 2024. Given the anticipated progress in the telehealth sector in the near future, providers need to closely monitor changes. This will enable them to invest in emerging technologies and adapt to the digital health landscape.
Stay ahead of changes with a sophisticated telehealth platform like Mend that supports HIPAA-compliant hybrid care. Whether delivering virtual or in-person care, Mend creates a seamless solution to improve both the patient and provider experience. Schedule a demo today with one of our experts to learn more.
Mend is providing this series for informational purposes only. This is not legal advice. Always consult your legal counsel. Stay up-to-date with the latest policy changes via the Center for Connected Telehealth Policy and CMS websites.
Mend, a leading provider of patient engagement and virtual care software, announced today the appointment of Warren Bates as its Chief Executive Officer. Bates succeeds Matt McBride, Founder of Mend, who will now focus on the further development of Mend's technology platform as its Chief Technology Officer.
Bates brings extensive leadership experience and expertise in healthcare, operations, and finance to his new role and will be responsible for leading the company in its next phase of innovation and growth. Bates was previously President and Chief Operating Officer of a multi-unit center-based ABA therapy provider for children impacted by autism, where he led the company through a successful turnaround and significant expansion. Most recently, Bates served as President and COO of Mend where he has been instrumental in Mend's evolution into a healthcare enterprise solution supporting millions of patient encounters.
"We are thrilled to welcome Warren as our new CEO," said Matt McBride. "He has a deep understanding of the healthcare industry and a proven track record of driving growth, innovation, and business results at Mend. Warren is the ideal leader for Mend as we continue to be pioneers in digital healthcare."
"Mend exists to make access to care convenient for everyone through its digital patient engagement platform," said Bates. "The healthcare industry is in a period of rapid change, and I look forward to partnering with our talented team to deliver on that promise to current and future customers. Mend will continue to drive better patient outcomes through better patient engagement."
Mend partners with healthcare organizations to improve the patient experience by providing convenient access to care for everyone. The Mend approach empowers providers, staff, and patients to streamline communications through digital health solutions resulting in a better patient intake process and telehealth experience for both in-person and virtual care. By engaging patients at the right time in their care journey, Mend is able to achieve single-digit no-show rates which deliver improved clinical outcomes while driving increased revenues for the organizations we serve.
As the PHE ends, it's important to know what is changing so that you can be prepared. In part 1 of our blog series, Mend reviews the permanent Medicare changes to the Telehealth policy.
The COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) has been in place for three years. This has had myriad effects on Telehealth policies as well as how providers deliver digital care. With the PHE ending on May 11, 2023, some Telehealth policy changes will remain permanent, while others will end in May or later this year.
As the end date nears, it’s essential for providers to take steps now to comply with the upcoming policy changes. This is necessary to mitigate legal risk, ensure reimbursement, and provide continuity of care for patients. In part 1 of our 3-part series, we’ll cover the permanent changes relating to Telehealth you need to know.
At the start of COVID-19, the CMS used emergency waivers to streamline access to virtual care. Policymakers and the CMS have already begun to evaluate which policies they intend to keep permanent. It’s possible more policies may become permanent before the PHE ends. Here are the current digital health changes slated to remain as permanent policy:
Before the PHE, only a specific list of eligible providers could offer virtual visits and receive reimbursement by Medicare. At the time, Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) and Rural Health Clinics (RHCs) were not eligible.
In the early months of the pandemic, virtual care increased dramatically to avoid possible exposure to the virus. Two areas that saw growth in digital health include behavioral and mental health services. The frequency of these visits far exceeded general health visits.
FQHCs and RHCs were critical in providing behavioral and mental health care to underserved communities during the PHE. The policy change will allow these locations to remain a distant site provider for these types of visits.
Telehealth policy defines a distant site provider as the location of the provider giving virtual care. This will allow providers to continue to offer these types of visits from either a FQHC or RHC location.
Before the PHE, the patient’s location was a main determiner of their eligibility to receive virtual care. A patient must have been in a rural or non-MSA location when Telehealth service takes place. Apart from certain exceptions, this policy included a specific list of acceptable locations, and the home was not included.
Two permanent changes to Telehealth policy expands where Medicare patients can receive virtual care.
First, patients may now receive Telehealth services for behavioral and mental health care in their home.
Secondly, there are no geographic restrictions for the originating site for behavioral and mental Telehealth services. In the past, patients could only receive Telehealth in their homes if they met certain geographic requirements.
In some instances, however, Medicare may require the patient to schedule an in-person appointment. This needs to occur within 6 months or 12 months to continue to receive care virtually.
This is excellent news for patients receiving and providers offering Telehealth services. A recent study shows an increase in reported behavioral health conditions as a result of the pandemic. Patients also reported stress from work disruptions, resignations, work-from-home policies, and increased burnout overall. A virtual option for mental health visits may have a positive impact on the continuity of care even as the PHE is ending.
Before the pandemic, the CMS had strict policy guidelines on the delivery of Telehealth services. This meant that providers had to conduct virtual visits with an interactive telecommunication system. If a visit could not support video, it would not qualify for reimbursement. This policy made receiving care in areas with low bandwidths difficult or impossible.
Another PHE medicare change that will become permanent is the allowance of audio-only visits. This policy change relates specifically to mental health visits.
Providers who want to offer mental health services via audio-only will need to meet certain conditions. This includes a 6 month in-person prior/12 month in-person subsequent visit requirement. Once a provider meets these conditions, care via audio-only services can continue.
The final policy again relates to the originating site. This permanent policy change allows patients to be at a rural emergency hospital (REH) department to receive Telehealth services.
In this instance, a patient may receive virtual care through specialists located within the facility or network.
As the PHE nears closing, digital health companies need to take steps now. It’s now critical to bring practices into compliance and to continue to monitor further changes. Mend is here to help.
We help providers create a seamless virtual and in-person workflow, all while ensuring HIPAA compliance. To learn how Mend can improve your Telehealth experience, schedule a demo today.
Mend is providing this series for informational purposes only. This is not legal advice. Always consult your legal counsel. Stay up-to-date with the latest policy changes via the Center for Connected Telehealth Policy and CMS websites.
Is your healthcare organization tracking the right key performance indicators (KPIs) in order to deliver the best care in 2023? View the top 5 healthcare metrics here to find out.
Healthcare KPIs are necessary metrics to track the success of any healthcare practice. With the shift to virtual and hybrid care, you may be wondering which metrics you should be measuring in this new digital landscape. Learn more about what healthcare KPIs are and their importance, as well as the five most important metrics you should be tracking right now.
Jump ahead: Top 5 Healthcare KPIs for Delivering Quality Care
Healthcare KPIs are metrics providers can use to gauge various aspects of healthcare delivery and performance. These metrics capture and translate vital information for the success of any practice.
Common healthcare KPIs include patient satisfaction, patient wait times, percentage of no-shows, and average time of payment processing. Yet the rise of virtual care as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic brings more healthcare metrics. These metrics relate specifically to telehealth encounters. These may include connection quality for virtual visits, digital intake form completion rates, and provider adoption. Alongside the more common KPIs, each of these can help track the success of a telehealth program.
[Related white paper: Key Performance Indicators for Successful Telehealth and Patient Engagement Programs]
Delivering great care starts with understanding healthcare KPIs. With these metrics, providers can track progress and pinpoint areas for improvement in healthcare delivery. The metrics also help set standards for providing the best possible care for patients.
With the right platform, data can be analyzed at various touchpoints in the patient journey. For example, a provider may have high satisfaction rates with their patients. Yet the practice is still struggling with high no-show rates. Analyzing the check-in process could reveal sticking points that cause patients to drop off before their visits.
In addition to improving patient outcomes, tracking KPIs can help manage the costs and the growth of a practice. This data can allow practices to allocate staff and resources effectively.
As the post-pandemic healthcare landscape shifts increasingly to telehealth and other forms of virtual care, these are five of the most essential KPIs to track.
Each year, almost 30% of U.S. patients miss scheduled medical appointments. It’s no surprise that these no-shows have a major impact on patient health outcomes. No-shows also affect the efficiency of a healthcare practice.
When patients routinely miss their appointments, it makes it difficult for providers to deliver quality care. No-shows disrupt the continuity of care, which can lead to poor patient outcomes. In addition, it can lead to wasted time and resources for your practice as well as a loss of revenue.
Tracking no-shows can also help a practice identify the specific reasons that lead a patient to miss a visit. For example, there are common reasons a patient may miss their visit. These include insufficient appointment reminders, lack of transport, inability to get time off work, and childcare conflicts.
To counter these common reasons, there are a few steps your practice can take. Automated appointment reminders can help. These messages serve to remind patients of their upcoming visit and prompt them to take action.
By implementing a telehealth program, providers can make data-driven decisions. With this data, they can improve access to care for those with transport issues or scheduling conflicts. This can help drastically reduce no-show rates. The average no-show rate in 2022 for Mend telemedicine visits was 7.4%.
Like providers, patients are busy. Measuring healthcare metrics relating to wait and travel times can reveal important insight into patient behavior and satisfaction.
A practice can calculate wait times as the average amount of time a patient must wait between checking in and seeing a provider. Long wait times can result in patient dissatisfaction and poor engagement. That’s why it’s essential to keep the wait time as low as possible.
Recent data shows that U.S. patients wait an average of 15 to 20 minutes from the scheduled appointment time until they see the provider. With telehealth programs like Mend, it’s possible to reduce wait times with automated digital processes. In 2022, Mend’s average wait time for a patient was 10:20 minutes.
Where wait times occur, it’s possible to optimize this time. Patients can benefit from an enhanced waiting room experience. This may include video content to engage with while they wait. This experience is two-fold. Educational content can improve overall health outcomes. Patients also report a higher level of satisfaction, another important KPI, when they have access to content.
Travel time is another healthcare KPI to consider. Patients may routinely miss appointments due to long travel times. Offering telehealth options can cut travel time and save time for patients. For patients who have a difficult time stepping away from work, off-peak telehealth hours can be a helpful option.
Patient satisfaction plays a crucial role in assessing the quality of healthcare. It has a marked impact on clinical outcomes, patient retention, and even medical malpractice claims.
As patients become more like consumers, they are demanding a better experience. Distilled to its most basic: if a patient doesn’t have a positive experience, they are less likely to return. This makes patient satisfaction one of the most important healthcare KPIs to monitor.
There are several ways to track patient satisfaction in healthcare, including patient surveys and interviews. Many telehealth platforms also offer tracking tools.
Examples of these some of these tracking tools may include:
Tracking successful encounters is a must when offering virtual visits. Having a high successful encounter rate helps ensure the delivery of quality care.
There are three areas in which a practice can measure if a visit was successful. These include:
The right telehealth platform should be able to aggregate data. From there, the platform can determine if a visit was coded and then submitted for billing. If this occurs, there is a high chance of a successful encounter.
This metric can show if a provider connects for at least 2 minutes for a virtual visit. Or, it can show if the provider marks the visits as checked out. If either of these occurs, there is a high chance of a successful encounter.
Poor upload speed can affect the telehealth quality metrics of all virtual visits. The right telehealth platform should work together with your IT department. Together, the teams can identify any staff member whose workspace averages under 100 Kbps and make changes.
If you can’t connect with your patient, you can’t deliver quality care. Every practice should be gathering healthcare metrics relating to connection quality. This includes data on both the provider and the patient side.
For providers and other team members, user and appointment average bitrate reports must also be available. These reports can be used for tracking and assessing ongoing connection quality. This is a key moment to pinpoint any problems before a visit. When problems are identified in a timely manner, a successful encounter is more likely to occur.
On the patient side, the right patient platform can pinpoint any patients who may have trouble connecting. Steps can be then taken to remedy this before the time of the visit. Any friction in this process could result in a missed visit, patient frustration, and even negative online reviews.
No-shows affect a practice in more ways than one. Patients don’t get the care they need resulting in poorer health outcomes, while providers bear a hard financial burden. The average no-show rate across the globe is 23%. For the average 10-provider practice, that’s an annual loss of $857,808.
Telemedicine can be a powerful tool to drastically reduce no-show rates. This helps reduce no-show rates to single digits for virtual encounters when implemented in a practice. The average no-show rate in 2022 for Mend telemedicine visits was 7.4%.
Other patient engagement capabilities can help reduce the rate of no-shows. For example, digital intake forms can be automatically sent for both in-person and virtual appointments. Patients can then complete these forms ahead of a virtual or in-person visit. The completion of a digital form suggests that a patient is engaged in their care. These patients are more likely to attend their upcoming visit.
A streamlined check-in process can minimize wait times. Mend offers the option to use pre-designed templates or create custom forms that match your workflow. These forms can be sent manually or automatically based on appointment types. This allows patients to complete the form before their appointment or contact the office with questions.
This technology reduces wait times before connecting with a provider. It allows patients to complete forms in a secure, HIPAA-compliant format ahead of their appointment.
If your practice has low satisfaction rates, telehealth may help improve this metric. According to one report, only 30% of U.S. patients are very or fairly satisfied with overall healthcare. Meanwhile, telehealth reports show a different experience.
The National Library of Medicine shows 82.7% of patients are satisfied with telehealth. With Mend telehealth, customers average even higher patient satisfaction rates at 96% in 2022.
Telehealth can improve patient satisfaction in many ways. Offering telehealth visits outside of standard hours can be helpful. This is especially true for patients who have a hard time taking time off work or finding childcare. Streamlined digital check-in processes, as well as simple payment processing, can also help to improve the patient experience.
Mend is also the only telehealth platform to offer a robust, enhanced waiting room experience. Designed with a Netflix-like interface, patients can choose video content to engage with while they wait. This may include videos or custom content about a provider or organization. Results have shown a 23% increase in patient satisfaction after enabling Mend’s Enhanced Virtual Waiting Room experience.
Having full transparency to data regarding successful encounters can help your practice be more effective. That’s why Mend records and shares data on all video session participants with customers.
Staff can also access this data in real time during a video visit. This includes information on audio and video bitrate, packet loss and any errors that occur during a session. Teams can use this data to troubleshoot and fix issues with the help of Mend technical support.
A frictionless connection process is necessary for delivering quality patient care. Any problems with connecting can cause patient dissatisfaction.
Mend can help establish procedures for addressing connectivity issues with patients before scheduled appointments. In situations where connectivity is an issue, telehealth kiosks can be provided. Mend also works on 3G networks, with backup audio calls as an option.
Tracking key performance indicators in healthcare can help providers measure and improve their performance in several ways. Some of the benefits include:
Clinical expertise is only one element of delivering quality care. Providers and care teams need the right tools in place to track and evaluate healthcare KPIs. This is necessary for ensuring the success of any practice. These metrics allow you to gauge everything from wait times and patient satisfaction to connectivity, successful encounters, and more. With this information readily available, you can leverage the data to benefit your patients and practice.
At Mend, we’ve helped providers deliver quality care to over 5,500,000 patients. We work closely with our clients to monitor healthcare KPIs to ensure the success and effectiveness of our program. To explore everything Mend has to offer, schedule a demo today with our experts to learn more.
Learn how to increase patient engagement at your healthcare organization in 2023 with this guide.
By taking steps to increase patient engagement in a healthcare organization, providers can see lasting results for their patients, improve patient retention, increase satisfaction, and more. Learn more about what patient engagement is and its importance, as well as nine of the best patient engagement strategies that can improve your organization’s engagement rates.
Jump ahead: 9 Best Strategies to Increase Patient Engagement
Patient engagement refers to the patient's level of active involvement in their own healthcare journey. Examples of active engagement include: maintaining appointments, managing chronic conditions, asking questions, participating in treatment decision-making, and adhering to treatment plans.
Despite what the phrasing may suggest, patient engagement isn’t one-sided. Healthcare professionals play a crucial role in this strategy as well. This includes educating patients about their conditions and involving them in the decision-making process. Providers should also take steps to identify any sticking points in the patient journey that may affect patient engagement.
High levels of patient engagement benefit both patients and providers.
On the patient side, higher levels of engagement result in improved health outcomes. Patients who routinely attend visits and share their concerns and needs to their providers are more likely to understand and follow treatment plans.
As a result, better health outcomes also reduce the need for further medical treatment. This allows patients to save money on healthcare costs.
Additionally, when patients feel more involved in their care, they report higher levels of satisfaction with their healthcare experience.
Healthcare providers are also able to make better clinical decisions when their patients engage in their own care. By involving patients in the decision-making process, healthcare providers can make more informed choices. These choices can lead to better health outcomes, strengthen the patient-provider relationship and improve patient retention.
For clinical care to be truly effective in any practice, however, it involves the participation of both the patient and healthcare providers.
Patient engagement starts long before the patient meets with a provider or steps into a medical practice. Put yourself in your patient’s shoes to help make sense of the patient's journey. Doing so can help you and other members of the care team identify areas to improve engagement.
If you consider the check-in process for an appointment the first step of the patient journey, you’re already behind schedule with patient engagement. By the time a patient engages with their providers, they’ve likely interacted with your practice a number of times. This includes the initial scheduling of the visit, intake forms, appointment reminders, and copays, to name just a few.
Identifying any gaps or sticking points in this process is a crucial first step in learning how to increase patient engagement.
In an optimal scenario, providers are able to engage patients to improve the patient’s health during the visit. Patient engagement activities can include:
Aftercare is a crucial element of post-visits. One study showed that 4 in 10 patients misunderstand or ignore aftercare instructions. This is a patient engagement benchmark that every healthcare practice should consider.
The final step in the patient journey often involves payment collection as well. This involves important questions such as: How easy is it for a patient to make a payment? How soon after services are rendered is a payment request sent? As the consumerization of healthcare rises, can patients pay with their preferred methods? How can A.I. or other innovative technologies simplify this process?
[RELATED: Webinar on How to Automate Patient Payments Before & After the Visit.]
Here are nine strategies in healthcare that can help get patients more involved in their care and increase patient engagement.
Early identification of at-risk patients allows healthcare providers to proactively reach out and engage with these patients. This can enable healthcare teams to understand patient concerns and address any barriers they may have.
Knowing which patients are at risk for no-shows can also allow healthcare providers to tailor their engagement efforts. This helps providers to better meet the specific needs of these patients. At Mend, we realize some patients are more prone to miss appointments than others. What if you could move those patients to telemedicine where no-show rates average in the single digits for Mend customers?
Automating different steps of the patient journey can help engage patients early on in their care. Artificial intelligence and other innovative technologies are excellent ways to improve the patient experience and therefore increase patient engagement.
Some of these include patient self-scheduling, digital forms, the automatic collection of copays, and self-check-in.
A certain degree of health literacy is necessary to increase patient engagement. When patients better understand their health, you equip them with the knowledge to make better decisions. One study revealed that patients were more compliant (67%) with their treatment plans if they received educational material.
This includes using plain and simple language during the visit and avoiding medical jargon and technical terms. The use of visual aids can help to make complex topics easier to understand. Consider diagrams, illustrations and videos. Written take-home materials can also help improve understanding. Mend’s enhanced virtual waiting room experience can deliver customer educational materials to patients while they wait for the provider to join.
Utilize technology to make it easier for patients to access information, speak with their care teams, and manage their health. Offering secure two-way messaging, telehealth, online scheduling, digital forms, and modern patient payment experiences all help to engage patients effectively in their long-term care.
Here are five ways using technology in your practice can help increase patient engagement.
Transportation difficulties, as well as scheduling conflicts, are two barriers to care that impact patient engagement. The adoption of telehealth can help minimize these barriers for patients when it comes to accessing care. Solving these issues can improve patient engagement.
Make it easy for patients to access their healthcare providers. Provide flexible scheduling options, including the ability to modify or reschedule their appointment online. Telehealth options are beneficial for patients who have difficulty fitting into standard office hours.
Increase patient engagement by ensuring clear and open communication between patients and healthcare providers. This includes involving patients in the decision-making process, care plans, treatment options and outcomes.
Access to language services where necessary is also crucial in order for patients to engage fully in their care. Often, this requires the use of interpreters and translators. While translation services can be costly or cause delays in care, telehealth helps solve this problem.
At Mend, connecting on-demand translation services is frictionless. Providers and patients can communicate freely during telehealth encounters despite language differences.
Continuously evaluate and improve patient engagement strategies to ensure they are effective, and make adjustments as needed.
Many practices already request provider feedback. Yet collecting and encouraging feedback from patients throughout the entire patient journey is important. Use this feedback to inform future improvements and increase patient engagement.
Make engagement a priority throughout the practice, and recognize and reward staff who excel in engaging patients. Create a culture of open communication and patient-centered care where patients' opinions and needs are respected and considered.
Some ways to do this include:
Many healthcare organizations routinely track patient satisfaction. This key performance indicator (KPI) plays a significant role in patient retention, but it is just one metric. There are many KPIs that an organization can and should track to gauge the success of their patient engagement strategies.
Closely monitoring patient satisfaction and other KPIs can help identify areas of improvement. At Mend, we measure 12 KPIs to ensure the success of our patient engagement platform. Learn more about the necessary KPIs for successful telehealth and patient engagement programs here.
Improving the overall health outcomes of patients is a goal we all strive for as healthcare providers. High-quality engagement leads to better adherence to treatment plans and improved patient outcomes. We can do this by getting patients more involved in their care through technology, patient education, minimizing barriers, and more. Increased patient engagement not only benefits the patients but also delivers professional and financial rewards for healthcare providers.
If you’re ready to increase patient engagement at your practice, Mend can help. Mend is an enterprise patient engagement platform that offers easy patient intake and communications, payment collections, custom workflows and seamless telehealth. Schedule a demo today to learn how Mend can help increase patient engagement at your practice and result in healthier, more satisfied patients.
There are a number of ways to improve the patient financial experience. One important thing to consider is how you communicate with your patients. You’ll also need a frictionless payment processing platform in place. This article will explore both of these elements, and how you can leverage them to improve patient satisfaction, retention, and more.
We live in a world where we can tap, swipe or use our voice to pay. It’s no surprise then that patients want more modern payment options for their healthcare. The annual US Bank Healthcare Payments Insight Report found that patients prefer digital options such as credit/debit card (48%), an online money transfer service (31%) and mobile wallet (26%). Yet many providers are still not providing these experiences to their patients. So, where’s the disconnect?
While many industries have gone digital, healthcare still has catching up to do. This is in part due to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and its impacts on patient-provider communication. To understand how this affects the healthcare landscape today, it’s helpful to first explore more about this law.
The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) of 1991 is a law designed to protect consumers from receiving marketing-related phone calls and text messages. More specifically, restrictions were placed on auto-dialers and artificial intelligence, as well as pre-recorded voice messages.
A major problem with the initial writing of the TCPA was that it had a broad definition of what constitutes an automatic telephone dialing system. This ambiguity in the law often prevented or deterred many healthcare providers from utilizing automated phone reminders for patient communication for fear of violation.
Fortunately for healthcare providers, a “healthcare messages exception” exists under the TCPA. This allows providers to place artificial/pre-recorded voice calls to cellphones and landlines. With this exception, providers are able to convey important healthcare information without prior written consent. This may include appointment confirmations, prescription notifications, and exam reminders.
This exception, however, was still limiting in many ways. Only certain types of messages were allowed, which still created confusion and uncertainty for providers.
For example, any message regarding billing was still not allowed. This is a significant element when we consider what patients want and what the modern patient financial experience should look like. This means practices still couldn’t use text messages to communicate about or collect payment.
In 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of Facebook in a case that greatly diminished the scope of the TCPA. This was a massive win for digital healthcare providers.
As long as a provider does not use a random or sequential number generator, they do not need to obtain written consent before texting patients. In short, text message interactions with healthcare professionals are now legal. With this new allowance, providers can now communicate with patients in a more integrated approach — before, during, and after the visit.
Practices can now use text messages as part of an automated payment processing experience for both in-person and virtual visits. Here’s how we do it at Mend:
Mend integrates with your medical billing software. Once Mend detects an outstanding balance, the system sends an automated sequence of texts and emails to prompt payment. This process can occur before or after the visit.
The patient then receives a secure link where they can verify their identity with their DOB.
The patient will navigate a simple, easy-to-use interface that guides them to make a payment. Patients can also store credit cards and auto-charge a card on file to save time.
Once the patient pays their portion, Mend will automatically notify the medical billing system that payment is complete. Patients will then receive a receipt or confirmation of payment, depending on their preferences.
It’s important to keep in mind that all text messages must meet HIPAA privacy and security requirements.
If your organization sends text messages that contain unencrypted PHI, it should:
With Mend, we can help collect any necessary consents for text and email to help comply with HIPAA, TCPA, and other regulations.
90% of text messages are read within just three minutes. When you consider this, it makes sense to use a digital solution that can help drive faster revenue cycles. This is easily obtainable with a sophisticated financial platform that can request payment via text.
According to one report, 45% of patients would pay faster if notified by text, email, or phone call. When providers delay in taking on digital solutions, they’re leaving money on the table.
When a practice integrates and automates its patient payments, this saves a lot of manual work for the staff — but it also reduces the burden on patients. 43% of patients would automate payments to avoid repetitive manual data entry in the office and online.
Payment automation also reduces errors that may otherwise result in uncollected payments or significant delays in accounts receivable.
An overwhelming majority of patients want to pay electronically. One way to improve patient satisfaction is to offer a quick, secure, and convenient method for paying their medical bills.
With the increasing consumerization of healthcare, patients have more options when it comes to selecting providers. Even if you provide excellent care, patients may still switch providers as a result of negative billing experiences. One study shows that 74% of millennials would switch providers for a better healthcare payment experience.
Patients want modern forms of communication and payment requests that are quick and user-friendly. All you need to do to create this frictionless payment process is contact a support specialist at Mend. Mend is your complete payment and patient engagement solution. We’re ready to help improve patient satisfaction and retention while driving faster revenue cycles.
The Great Resignation in healthcare has already taken a significant toll on the industry, with more workers eyeing the door due to burnout and short-staffing. This article will explore the current landscape relating to the loss of healthcare workers, plus the steps your organization can take to reduce burnout and increase retention.
While the Great Resignation has gripped many industries, the healthcare sector has been particularly hard hit.
The American Hospital Association (AHA) reported that healthcare lost an estimated 20% of its workforce in the last year alone. This includes 30% of its nurses. This translates to roughly 5 million U.S. workers quitting their jobs. In many cases, the workers have left their career fields entirely.
Many factors contribute to healthcare workers leaving in droves. These include increasing paperwork, loss of personal accomplishment, and lack of work-life balance. In short, workers are facing burnout.
It’s no secret that burnout is having significant implications on the workforce. A new study by the American Medical Association (AMA) shows that one in 5 physicians and 2 in 5 nurses intend to leave their current practice within two years. The same study shows that approximately 1 in 3 physicians, APPs, and nurses intend to reduce their work hours.
This burnout comes at a steep cost. According to the AMA, the cumulative cost of turnover and reduced clinical hours due to physician burnout in the U.S. is estimated at $4.6 billion annually.
Researchers found that specific factors are contributing to whether healthcare workers quit or reduce their hours. These factors include higher levels of burnout, workload, fear of infection, and anxiety and depression due to COVID-19. The number of years in practice is also a significant factor.
A recent survey by KFF/Washington Post shows that 76% of frontline healthcare workers say they feel “hopeful” when going to work these days. Majorities also say they feel “optimistic” (67%) and motivated (63%).
Yet, about half also say they feel “ burned out” or “anxious.” About one in five say they feel “angry” when they go to work these days.
Age is also an important factor to consider. The survey shows that younger healthcare workers are more likely to report negative feelings than their older counterparts. Three in ten frontline healthcare workers ages 18-29 report feeling “angry” about going in to work these days.
These results may be directly linked to their COVID-19 work experiences.
For instance, four in ten 18-29-year-old adults (41%) report working in a hospital setting. These workers saw the most severe COVID-19 cases. This age group also reports having to work harder or more hours than their older counterparts.
In addition to burnout, many employees don’t feel support from their employers.
Organizations should provide additional pay for employees working in the most high-risk situations. Yet more than half of healthcare workers say their employer is “falling short” when providing additional pay.
This response was consistent whether an employee was working in a hospital, nursing home, clinic, or in-home care. This is a key opportunity that every healthcare leader can seize to improve employee retention.
A recent report on healthcare workplace shortages by the Minnesota Department of Public Health offers a physician’s perspective. The report reveals that one out of every three rural physicians plans on leaving their profession within the next five years.
The most common reasons cited for leaving their professions early include the following:
This loss of physicians will have a tremendous impact on patients in rural areas. It will make it harder for patients to get appointments and receive care in a timely manner. Patients will also have to commute longer distances.
It will also come at a significant financial cost to organizations. For instance, the cost of replacing just one physician could reach $250,000 and may even exceed $1 million.
It’s no surprise that frontline workers who feel valued are less likely to leave their place of employment. In order to address employee retention and satisfaction in the healthcare setting, here are some methods to consider:
While improving employee retention will take a multi-faceted approach, one solution may relieve many staff burdens and complaints: automation.
The COVID-19 pandemic saw a massive shift to remote work and the adoption of telehealth and virtual visits. Nearly three years later, the desire for remote work persists. Many employees cite a better work-life balance, fewer distractions, and increased flexibility as a result of remote work.
We can continue to use telehealth to automate processes, provide flexibility to workers, and ultimately increase worker satisfaction and retention. Here’s how we do it at Mend:
Mend integrates with your organization’s medical billing software in order to automate patient payments. This can occur before or after an in-person or virtual encounter. It’s an easy way to give time back to your employees and allows them to focus on providing care.
With telehealth visits, providers will need less support staff to conduct the visits. Telehealth visits can be more productive, which in turn gives time back to providers. Virtual visits can be faster, and multi-screen workflows allow providers to document during the visit.
Telehealth also helps to reduce burnout by allowing providers to be remote or hybrid. Practices can also utilize telehealth to recruit providers from anywhere. This can help fill staffing shortages and relieve demands on current staff.
The traditional way of scheduling an appointment takes up time that could be better spent elsewhere. A staff member shouldn’t have to manually input patient appointments when there are faster ways.
A sophisticated telehealth platform can simplify this process. With Mend, patients can self-schedule and modify their appointments online. This takes the work of your front desk staff while also reducing no-shows.
Paperwork can be a labor-intensive and repetitive process in the healthcare setting. Automating these tasks can immediately help to reduce staff burden and increase employee satisfaction rates.
With Mend, patients receive a digital intake form prior to their in-person or virtual visit. The patient clicks the link and completes forms at their own convenience in advance of the visit. The integration automatically moves forms and data into the chart.
The success of any practice depends on patients showing up for their appointments. This is why communicating early and often with patients is important.
Manual phone calls, however, waste time and take your staff away from other tasks. Automated appointment reminders via text, email, and voice work to reduce staff manual labor.
It’s uncertain if we’ve yet seen the full effects of the Great Resignation among healthcare workers. The good news is, there are key solutions that your organization can put in place right now to support frontline workers. This will result in a healthier work environment that reduces burnout. All you need to do is contact a specialist at Mend who can help automate your workflows today.
A hybrid healthcare system combines the best aspects of in-person and virtual visits. This approach can boost staff productivity, drive faster revenue cycles, and create a more rewarding patient experience. In this article, we’ll explore the hybrid healthcare system and how you can strike the optimal balance in your practice.
A hybrid healthcare system brings together the best of telehealth and in-person visits. Depending on the type of care a patient needs, providers can deliver care in person, virtually, or both.
Regardless of the method for delivering care, hybrid healthcare should be a seamless solution that treats telehealth as an integral part of the system rather than something additional or separate.
In hybrid care, providers and supporting staff rely heavily on technology for secure video conferencing, automatic appointment reminders, billing, and more. These elements apply to both in-person and virtual visits. Organizations can manage this through a sophisticated telehealth platform that integrates with their EMR and billing software.
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was necessary for many providers to use telehealth to see their patients. As a result, the adoption of telehealth skyrocketed. The relaxation of state and federal regulations during the public health emergency also played a role in allowing providers to adopt these virtual practices more easily.
According to the AMA, researchers now estimate current telehealth adoption to be between 60% to 90%.
Many patients and professionals enjoy fully-remote access, but this trend won’t last forever. Some elements of healthcare require in-person visits, while some patients may simply prefer to meet their doctor face-to-face post-pandemic. This is where a hybrid healthcare system comes into play.
Like most sectors, healthcare saw a boom in remote work during the pandemic. Fifty-nine percent of medical group practices said they shifted workers to permanent and/or hybrid work in 2021.
For those working indirectly with patients (call centers, billing and coding, IT, accounting and HR), remote work became the norm. Yet those working in direct patient care (primary care offices) were still able to leverage technology to deliver care.
Nearly three years in, workers are adapting to having more healthy flexibility at work. Many workers report better overall well-being and improved productivity when working at home.
But some employers fear that remote work comes at a steep cost. These employers worry about company culture and losing top talent. Without office engagement, they fear employees may become dissatisfied and quit.
According to a recent Gallup poll, employees want remote work to stay. Ninety-one percent of workers in the U.S. working at least some of their hours remotely are hoping their ability to work at home persists after the pandemic. Just 6% said their ideal work environment was to be fully on-site.
The poll offers additional key insights. Those who prefer to work remotely value fewer distractions, improved wellness and flexibility offered by working remotely. The study shows that employees who prefer to work strictly from the office prioritize personal productivity, access to technology, and better opportunities for collaboration.
Furthermore, if an employee works from home, they are more likely to want a hybrid arrangement than either working from home full-time or on-site. Similarly, if the work can be done remotely, that is still preferable to being on-site full-time.
It’s clear that most of the current workforce wants some element of remote or hybrid care. Time preservation is key for remote workers, but there are many reasons for wanting to stay virtual. Some of the most common reasons for wanting to work partly or fully remote include:
As an organization, these priorities and expectations are important to consider when looking at the future of healthcare. In some cases, a return-to-office approach could drive employees to quit.
Sixty-four percent of the global workforce said that they have already, or would consider, looking for a new job if their employer wanted them back in the office full-time. And as an industry that was hard hit by the Great Resignation, many practices can’t afford to lose more employees.
The adoption of a patient engagement system can help create a desirable hybrid work environment. Here are just some of the ways a hybrid healthcare digital solution like Mend can help support remote work in your organization:
It’s no secret that manual paperwork and processes bog down medical staff. Organizations can reduce this burden and also support a remote work environment with a simple solution: automation.
Mend starts by integrating with your organization’s medical billing software. Once Mend detects an outstanding balance, the patient will receive an automated text or email with a secure link requesting payment. Mend alerts the billing software once payment is complete, removing all steps from your staff.
This process can be set up to occur seamlessly for both in-person and virtual visits.
In addition to reducing the burden on your staff, you can expect to see benefits in other areas as well. In one report, 64% of early adopters of hybrid healthcare patient engagement software saw increased collections. Twenty-seven percent saw reduced AR days.
With a fully remote or hybrid healthcare system, organizations can recruit staff from anywhere, helping to reduce stress and workload on current staff.
Providers and medical staff who prefer to work some days at home can benefit from a greater work-life balance. Due to convenient automation, fewer staff are needed to conduct virtual visits, and the visits are often faster than in-person appointments. With single-screen/multi-screen workflows, documentation can occur during the visit, saving more time.
Burnout and stress are among the top contributing factors for healthcare workers quitting their jobs. Organizations can leverage telehealth in this way to create a more favorable work environment for providers and staff to help reduce the risk of burnout.
With hybrid care, patient self-scheduling can be the new norm. Instead of staff members manually booking appointments over the phone, patients can simply navigate online and choose an appointment day and time that works best for them.
As a result, staff no longer have to be physically in an office space or call center to support patient scheduling. This also decreases the workload at the front desk, while also allowing for the redirection of labor. In 2021, 34% of patients self-scheduled with Mend.
If your organization is struggling with no-shows, self-scheduling is one important element that can help improve rates. Giving patients autonomy of their scheduling increases the likelihood of showing up for the visit. The organizations using Mend saw a 40-50% reduction in no-show rates for patient self-scheduled appointments.
(Learn more about key performance indicators, including no-show rates, for running a successful hybrid practice here.)
With hybrid care, digital forms are the future. It’s no longer necessary to rely on paper forms that can be easily misplaced. Digital forms can reduce errors and duplicates. There's also no need to wait for patients to complete their forms on the day of their visit.
With a telehealth platform like Mend, patients can get a head start on their paperwork as soon as they schedule an appointment. Sixty-eight percent of Mend Digital Forms are completed within an hour, and Mend averages an 86% completion rate overall. Once the patient completes the forms, Mend can move the forms to the EHR automatically.
Automated appointment reminders save staff members from having to do manual labor over the phone. These reminders can be via text, email, and voice and adjust accordingly leading up to the appointment time.
For instance, if a patient has yet to confirm their appointment, the sequence will prompt the patient to confirm or reschedule their appointment. If a patient needs to reschedule or cancel, they have the option of following steps to do so. Bidirectional integration ensures full automation to eliminate manual labor and redirect efforts elsewhere.
This dynamic approach will help free up your staff’s time and support remote work. It can also reduce the loss of revenue secondary to no-shows.
Despite the many benefits of hybrid care, it’s still a relatively new approach to patient care, and implementing it in your practice can feel daunting. Dr. Matthew Sakumoto, an Internal Medicine-trained physician offering a virtual-first primary care program, has some suggestions.
In a recent podcast episode, Dr. Sakumoto shares his current approach to hybrid care and how he does it. With his current setup, he works four days virtually and then sees patients in-office on Fridays. He also offers valuable insights into virtual-first primary care, virtual care empathy, differences in examination techniques, the future of telemedicine, and more.
As federal and state lawmakers are still discussing regulations and reimbursement for telehealth, now is the time for providers to lay the groundwork for the future of what hybrid care should look like rather than waiting.
Many patients, providers, and staff were able to easily adapt to virtual care during the pandemic. While face-to-face visits are returning, all signs point to hybrid care being here to stay.
Hybrid healthcare strikes a difficult but achievable balance. Providers and medical staff can benefit from greater flexibility, a better work-life balance, and relief from burnout. Patients gain more autonomy over when and how they seek care, which in turn increases their satisfaction and engagement.
And there’s no need to wait — a fully hybrid healthcare system is available right now with Mend. Appointment reminders, digital intake forms, automatic payment, and more are only the start. Schedule a demo today with one of our specialists to see all Mend has to offer.
Technology gave us virtual visits, but the patient financial solutions that accompany them are still catching up. This is a significant issue considering many practices are facing long AR days and bad debt in healthcare. Patient expectations are changing too. This article will dive into the best financial solutions to drive faster revenue cycles and how these changes can benefit your practice today.
While many industries have already gone digital, healthcare is still catching up when it comes to billing. Paper mail still leads for medical bills. Fifty-one percent of patients receiving a billing statement via the mail in 2021.
How a patient receives a payment request can greatly affect the rate of speed to collection. Consider the difference between paper and digital billing:
This process can be cumbersome for patients and takes longer for providers to receive payment. One study shows that 70% percent of providers said it takes more than 30 days to collect payment via mail. In the same study, 74% of providers report that it takes more than one statement to collect payment.
Alternatively, patients could pay their medical bills via advanced payment solutions, such as Mend. Thanks to changes to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) in 2021, text messages between healthcare teams and patients are legal — and a faster route to payment collection.
This process happens automatically through Mend’s integration with your Medical Billing Software. Once set up, the system triggers a sequence as soon as it detects an outstanding patient balance. After the patient clicks the link and pays their portion, the platform automatically marks it as complete.
With Mend, 72% of patients complete their payment forms. Forty-four percent complete the payment forms within just 24 hours. Click here to learn the secrets to our high completion rates.
When a practice implements a simple and frictionless payment processing system, providers can expect to see improvements in many areas of their practice.
When patients can pay conveniently, they will pay much faster. This is why text and email notifications are key. Not only is this easy for patients, but studies have shown that text and email are stronger methods for engagement. According to one report, 45% of patients would pay faster if notified by email, text, or phone call.
At Mend, we find that 96% of patients have a mobile number, meaning they have access to a mobile device. All ages, ethnicities, and income levels are mobile and expect to use their mobile devices for healthcare and payments.
As providers seek innovative ways to improve their collections, digital payment solutions are already showing promising results. A recent study by KLAS shows early insights into how patient financial solutions are providing revenue for organizations while also increasing patient satisfaction.
While the sample size was small, the data offers an early pulse check for pushing faster revenue cycles and improving the patient financial experience.
Patients want the process of paying their medical bills to be as simple as ordering an item from Amazon. In fact, 60% of consumers expect their digital healthcare experience to mirror that of retail.
It’s no surprise then that how easily a patient can make payments affects their satisfaction. The KLAS study reported an 18% increase in patient satisfaction after an organization adopted a patient financial engagement solution.
Even if you provide excellent patient care, patient retention is never a guarantee. Factors like problems in payment processing can affect patient retention.
In the Healthcare Payment Experience Report, 22% of “very” or “extremely” loyal patients said they would drop a preferred physician or practice because tools such as digital form completion, payment reminders, and appointment reminders aren’t offered.
In creating a frictionless patient payment solution, it is possible to pay quickly and easily, and you can expect an increase in patient loyalty and satisfaction.
With an advanced patient payment solution, practices can reduce overhead or redirect their labor force. Once manual processes — such as digital intake forms, payment processing, and more — will happen automatically.
It’s time for healthcare to join other industries in making payment processing quick, mobile, and convenient. With the help of advanced patient financial software, your practice can drive faster revenue cycles, reduce AR days, improve your bottom line, and much more.
All you need to do is contact a support specialist at Mend. Let us help automate your patient payments so you can start seeing results today.
Learning how to optimize patient attendance can help you with revenue, retention, and staff workflow. Learn here how to start immediately reducing no-shows.
You’ve scheduled the patients — now it’s time to make sure they actually show up! From providing convenient appointment times to sending reminders, there are many ways to increase the chances that your patients will show up for their appointment. In this article, we'll explore some of the best ways to optimize patient attendance.
Many factors can affect attendance, such as distance to the healthcare facility, transportation, financial concerns, and childcare. Patients may also feel too sick to make the trip, or they may simply forget. One of the most important factors of patient attendance — and the easiest to control — is communication.
Healthcare providers need to make sure that patients are aware of their appointments and know how to get to the healthcare facility. If parking will add additional time, staff should relay this information to patients. They also need to provide clear instructions on what to do if they need to cancel or reschedule their appointment. By doing this, healthcare providers can help reduce the number of no-shows and optimize patient attendance.
High patient attendance positively impacts providers and patients alike. It ensures patients get the care they need while allowing providers to run their practices smoothly and efficiently. Here are some of the benefits of optimizing patient attendance:
When patients attend their appointments regularly, they're more likely to receive the care they need in a timely manner. This can lead to better overall health outcomes and a decrease in the need for emergency care.
On the other hand, it’s damaging to their health when patients miss their appointments. They can miss an initial screening that could detect disease. Acute problems may turn into chronic problems without the proper attention. Ongoing care can become disrupted, and providers may be unable to assess or change medications.
One study shows how even one missed appointment could impact a patient’s health journey. Patients who missed an appointment had an attrition rate close to 70%. The same study found that patients who did not show up for one or more appointments were less likely to return over the next 18 months.
Optimizing patient attendance and reducing no-shows gives your patients a greater chance of getting and staying healthy.
An increase in patient attendance can help improve the flow of traffic through your practice. Staff members can focus on caring for patients instead of scrambling to fill empty appointment times. It also frees them up from the task of rescheduling patients who have already missed their appointments.
In short, when patients routinely show up for their appointments, this allows staff members to focus on doing what they do best — provide care.
It's no secret that one of the keys to a successful medical practice is maintaining a high rate of patient attendance. By increasing patient attendance, you can help to ensure that your practice is financially stable and able to meet its financial obligations. Conversely, patients who don't show up for their appointments can cost a practice dearly in terms of lost revenue and decreased productivity.
Missed appointments equate to over $850 thousand in lost revenue annually for a 10-provider practice. Across the entire healthcare industry, that’s a $150 billion loss per year.
In some settings, that loss may be even higher. Imaging machines such as MRI or CT are costly to operate and maintain. These time slots are often difficult to fill with short notice, especially if the exam requires patient prep before the appointment. When these time slots are unable to be filled or have last-minute cancellations, this can cause high financial constraints to practices.
These losses together can greatly reduce a practice’s ability to operate successfully. If you’re unsure of the impact no-shows currently have on your practice, you can use our convenient ROI calculator to calculate the loss in revenue.
There are a number of things that a practice can do to encourage patients to show up for their appointments. The most effective way to optimize patient attendance is to use a comprehensive patient engagement platform. With this technology, it’s easy to put systems and touchpoints in place to help increase patient attendance while reducing the administrative burden on your staff.
One of the first steps to optimizing patient attendance is keeping track of why patients miss their appointments in the first place. This information can help you identify patterns and take steps to address the root causes.
Consider these parameters when tracking no-shows:
Once you have this available data, you can make necessary adjustments to improve patient attendance. You may even find that some no-shows are easily fixable. For example, if a patient has transportation issues, staff can help the patient make arrangements or suggest public transit routes. The option of a virtual visit is also a great alternative for patients who have difficulty getting to appointments.
One of the easiest ways that your practice can increase patient attendance is by giving patients more control over their appointment schedules. Patients should be able to schedule a visit 24/7/365 with the same ease as purchasing an item online. If scheduling is a hassle, patients are less likely to bother and more likely to miss appointments.
Practices can make it easy for patients to make appointments by allowing online scheduling. Additionally, if a patient needs to modify an outstanding appointment, it’s helpful to have an easy way for them to do this on their own. Doing so can help reduce the number of no-shows, as patients will be more likely to reschedule if they know they can do so without hassle and find a time that works best for them.
At Mend, we make it easy for patients to self-schedule as well as modify appointments. We offer a custom question tree to route the patient to the right appointment type, location, time slot, and provider. In addition to boosting patient attendance and retention, self-scheduling moves away a large percentage of manual tasks from phone calls, allowing you to reduce or refocus your workforce.
Some patients may have difficulty making it to their appointments during traditional business or school hours. To increase patient attendance, practices should be willing to be flexible with appointment times to accommodate these patients.
For example, a practice may choose to offer later hours one evening a week to accommodate after-work appointments. Offering Saturday morning slots may also help fill an empty schedule. In either instance, telehealth is an excellent way to extend office hours and eliminate the hassle of commuting during rush hours.
One of the simplest and most effective ways to increase patient attendance is to communicate early and often with your patients. This includes sending reminders for upcoming appointments. This can be done in myriad ways, such as by email, text message, or phone call.
With Mend, appointment reminders are dynamic. Reminders are sent via text and email and adjusted accordingly to the platform’s artificial intelligence predictions.
For example, a patient who is unlikely to attend their appointment will receive different messages than those who are more likely to attend. These messages will prompt the patient to confirm or reschedule. When you consider that 90% of text messages are read within just three minutes, this helps boost patient engagement and prepare your staff ahead of time in case adjustments need to be made.
In order to communicate effectively with patients, Mend also supports eight languages. These include Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Haitian Creole, Nepali, Portuguese, and Spanish. Notifications can be sent in the patient’s preferred language to help remove communication barriers when it comes to scheduling and other elements of care.
Keep in mind that a complete patient engagement solution should provide reminders for all types of appointments. This includes virtual visits, office visits, video consultations, phone calls, home visits, and more.
Engaged patients are far less likely to miss their appointments. To increase attendance, it’s important to get patients involved in their care ahead of their appointment. An easy way to do this is to use a digital intake form sent prior to the visit.
As opposed to paper and pen, patients can use a smartphone, tablet, or laptop to fill out the forms they need to complete. They can even send their medical histories by taking photos or attaching files. Practices with a telehealth solution that incorporate digital intake forms have an average patient engagement rate of 86% or more. In this way, digital intake forms are the new appointment confirmation.
There are many benefits to using digital forms. Not only does this increase patient satisfaction and retention, but it also relieves your staff of manual processes and busy work. It also gives your staff an idea of who is more likely to attend or cancel their appointment. Telemedicine solutions like Mend automatically send these forms ahead of the appointment. This way, staff can focus on the work that matters most to patients.
Nobody likes to wait, so it's no surprise that long wait times are one of the biggest deterrents to patient attendance. No practice is immune to occasional wait times, but do your best to keep wait times to a minimum by running an efficient practice.
Nonetheless, there are still ways to make waiting for an appointment to start a positive patient experience. With Mend, we offer a custom-brand virtual waiting room for telehealth visits. In this Enhanced Virtual Waiting Room (EVWR) experience, patients are met with a Netflix-style waiting room that allows them to browse high-value, educational healthcare content before a provider joins their visit.
This enhanced experience shows patients that you care about their health. Patients are more likely to actively participate in their own care as a result. Mend's EVWR has also proven to increase patient satisfaction by 23% — another important KPI to keep in mind for increasing patient engagement and attendance.
Empty time slots in a provider’s schedule cost money and zap staff productivity. The average no-show rate is 23% across the country. This leaves large, unproductive gaps in provider schedules, getting in the way of maximizing daily visits. Thankfully, hybrid care is changing this.
Historically when no shows occurred, it was difficult or nearly impossible to fill these slots in a timely manner. Now, practices can optimize patient attendance by using a telehealth platform.
With telehealth, your practice can offer virtual walk-ins to fill empty slots or missed appointments. Once a patient misses their appointment, a staff member can contact additional patients on the waiting list. Those patients can join with just a few clicks from the comfort of their homes.
Like patient reminders, Mend also supports translations for virtual visits. All providers need to do is click a button, and a remote translator will be able to join the visit in the patient’s preferred language of choice. That means no more appointment delays or cancellations due to translator scheduling issues.
Despite diligent efforts, no-shows and last-minute cancellations can still happen. If a patient does miss their appointment, it’s important to know why. Staff should follow up with patients who miss their appointments to understand their reason(s). They should also attempt to reschedule the appointment or offer other suitable options, such as a virtual visit.
This shows that you care about their health and well-being and want to ensure they get the attention they need. It also gives valuable insight into any areas in your practice that may be open for improvement.
There are a number of ways to optimize patient attendance, but the most important thing is to ensure clear communication with your patients throughout their care experience. This includes appointment reminders, digital intake forms, and more. Allowing self-scheduling options, as well as offering flexible appointment times, can also help patients feel engaged in their care and more likely to show up for their visit.
Putting an end to costly missed appointments and creating a streamlined workflow is simple with Mend. If your practice is struggling with patient attendance, all you need to do to increase attendance is request a free demo with our team. From there, we’ll walk you through integrating it into your existing system so you can put an end to the no-show nightmare.
Patient pay solutions continue to evolve as hybrid care models gain popularity with patients. Read here what options drive results now.
As healthcare evolves, patient pay solutions must follow suit. Patients are quickly becoming consumers who want frictionless digital payment options for their medical bills. This article explores the benefits of advanced patient pay solutions and how you can leverage this technology to drive results in your practice right now.
Advanced payment solutions offer benefits to patients and providers alike. Here are just four areas where you can expect to see improvement in 2022.
Practices need to be able to collect payments quickly to maintain a healthy cash flow and avoid bad debt. Yet many practices still rely on paper bills. This greatly affects the rate of speed to collection. In a recent study, 70% percent of providers said it takes more than 30 days to collect payment via mail.
With advanced patient pay solutions like Mend, you can expect a faster revenue cycle. As soon as a patient has an outstanding balance, they receive a sequence of texts and emails prompting payment.
Patients appreciate the option to make payments quickly and easily. One study shows that 60% of consumers expect their digital healthcare experience to mirror that of retail.
Yet paper bills, apps, and portals often create friction points in healthcare. With an advanced pay solution, patients can pay their medical bills in just a few clicks. This creates a more positive patient pay experience.
Even if you provide excellent medical care, you know that patient retention is not a guarantee.
As patients become more like consumers, they want to be in the know when it comes to their financial costs. One study shows that 49% of patients said having clear information on out-of-pocket costs before receiving treatment would impact their decision to use a healthcare provider.
By adopting a payment solution that helps patients clearly understand their responsibilities before and after a visit, you can expect to see an increase in patient loyalty and retention.
Manual payment processing creates a burden on front desk staff. It can also create bottlenecks that disrupt the flow of care. Manual processes also leave room for error. This can result in uncollected payments and lengthy delays.
With an advanced pay solution, you can automate all billing and collection processes. This will free up staff time while reducing overhead costs.
A simple and effective payment workflow is key if your practice wants to drive faster revenue cycles while reducing staff burden. Here’s how we do it at Mend.
Hybrid care is here to stay. That means your practice needs a method for capturing patient payment for both in-person and virtual visits. It all starts with a frictionless payment process.
Mend integrates with your practice’s medical billing system. It connects to the source data for outstanding balances using flat files, API endpoints, or HL7 feeds. Whether the appointment is in-person or virtual, the system can automate payments before or after the visit occurs. Once set up, the system triggers a sequence as soon as it detects an outstanding balance.
Once Mend detects an outstanding balance, the system sends an automated sequence of texts and emails to prompt payment.
Our team can customize this sequence to match the needs of your practice. For example, the system can collect co-pays before a visit as part of the digital check-in process. If a patient still has a balance after insurance claims, the system will send secure links for the remainder.
Text messages between healthcare teams and patients are legal — and the preferred method of contact by many patients. With Mend, as soon as a patient receives a payment notification, they can confirm their identity with their DOB. This allows patients to securely access their outstanding balances without taking time away from your care teams.
Not only is this easy for patients, but studies have shown that text and email are stronger methods for engagement. According to one report, 45% of patients would pay faster if notified by email, text, or phone call.
Whenever your practice needs to collect consent from a patient, Mend can help. Our platform collects consent for text and email to help comply with Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and other regulations.
Mend can also collect consent to authorize payment procedures. This includes storing and auto-charging a card on file for quicker revenue cycles.
Once the patient pays their expense, Mend can notify the medical billing system that payment is complete.
This frees up staff time from chasing payment and record-keeping: it all happens automatically and at a high success rate. Seventy-two percent of patients complete payment forms on Mend. Forty-four percent complete the payment forms within just 24 hours.
Many businesses have gone digital for payment processing, and healthcare should be no exception. Advanced patient pay solutions are already possible with companies like Mend. Explore today how Mend can help you get paid much faster, reduce overhead, and increase patient satisfaction scores.
A recent study from the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine used data from a rural Appalachian population and found that telemedicine is an effective alternative to in-person care, resulting in higher attendance rates.
In this study, researchers looked at data from the West Virginia University Department of Family Medicine, excluding data from patients who live more than 60 miles outside the state line. They found that 13,013 of their 110,999 patient visits were telemedicine appointments.
Researchers used a retrospective study to determine the correlation between visits that are completed and the setting in which they occur.
They found that telehealth can drive appointment completion rates up by about 20 percent.
Researchers found that many patients were unlikely to take advantage of telehealth services due to resistance to change or lack of access to proper technology.
The research team also discovered that although at-risk individuals are less likely to complete their appointments, telemedicine made it more conducive to participation.
The use of telehealth during the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in higher rates of appointment completion for rural residents. It had the most significant effect on difficult-to-reach patients who live further from the clinical location, as well as on patients with more severe health issues.
One of the limitations of this study is that it uses data from only one organization, and therefore neglects subjective barriers to care access, as well as lacking information about patient demographics and complete data beyond the check-in phase.
It should be noted that the study has not yet been validated by other clinics, as more information is needed to understand the extent of telemedicine’s effectiveness.
Several efforts have been made by federal officials and lawmakers to increase access to telehealth for rural populations over the past year.
States in rural areas like Alaska, Michigan, Texas, and West Virginia will have a new way to access health care provided by telehealth. A three-year pilot program to enhance virtual services is being created by the National Telehealth Technology Assessment Resource Center and the Telehealth-Focused Rural Health Research Center at the University of Arkansas, which is receiving an $8 million grant from federal officials.
In October 2021, two US congressmen established a task force to provide congressional guidance on how to make rural telehealth more efficient. The Rural Telehealth Access Task Force Act would start a study and develop strategies to improve its efficiency.
Mend has been dedicated to making healthcare more accessible since 2014. If you’d like to learn more about how Mend can help your organization see more patients, contact us today.
Make buffering and latency a thing of the past. Learn how to solve telehealth connectivity issues with the latest innovations in technology.
If you’ve ever experienced telehealth connectivity issues, you already know how frustrating it can be for your practice. After all, if you can’t easily connect with your patients, delivering virtual care can be challenging or impossible. In this article, we’ll first explore the common issues that affect telehealth connectivity. Then we’ll discuss the exact solutions you can implement to create a more productive, profitable, and thriving practice.
There are three significant issues that can impact the connectivity of telehealth services.
Telehealth connectivity issues can be frustrating. The good news is that these common issues are easily solvable with the right platform. Let’s explore how innovations in telehealth technology can address these problems.
Problem: Slow internet connection
Solution: Ability to support low bandwidth connections, audio fallback capabilities, and other backup options
Connectivity is always going to be a high priority with telehealth. When connection fails, it’s often due to low bandwidth. In other words, information can’t be sent effectively (which is why lag time occurs) or the connection can’t be made at all.
The ability to connect even on low bandwidth is vital for the success of virtual visits. This means that you need a telehealth partner that can work on low bandwidth connections. In addition, there need to be audio fallback capabilities if video fails.
With Mend, you have options when it comes to video use. You can use our 100% web-based video for single or group appointments. Using this reduces the bandwidth use by 74% over platforms like Doxy, Doximity, and Google Meets. Mend also integrates with Zoom, WebEx, and Microsoft Teams to facilitate visits if necessary or preferred.
If at any time the bandwidth is too low to connect with a video visit, Mend has the capability to support audio at very low speeds. Backup options like our phone dialer are also in place to ensure the success of every visit.
Problem: Difficult login process
Solution: Frictionless connection with a secure link
Some telehealth services require the use of specific apps or software. These can be difficult to install and use, especially if patients have limited data or space on their devices. Additionally, some apps may not be compatible with software that people already have. This can make the adoption of telehealth services difficult.
One solution is to use a telehealth service that offers a frictionless process for connecting. Mend has a patented process that makes connecting easier than ever.
It starts with the sending of an automatic text message or email with a secure link. After the patient confirms their date of birth, they can connect from any device. With this process in place, over 94% of visits are successful with Mend. When patients are able to connect easily, this can keep patients happy and engaged in their care.
The benefit of a secure link can also extend beyond the virtual visit alone. Patients can also connect easily to complete digital intake forms and pay for their visits.
While the login process may seem like something small, keep in mind that patient satisfaction is a vital element to consider as healthcare trends evolve. Patients are now expecting digital health processes to be seamless. In fact, sixty percent of consumers expect their digital healthcare experience to mirror that of retail. Another recent study shows that 91% of consumers prefer an electronic payment method for their medical bills. A well-designed telehealth service can provide all of these solutions.
Problem: No guidance for technical issues
Solution: Quick and responsive technical support team
Sometimes a connectivity fix is as simple as refreshing the device or performing a restart. However, if this guidance is unavailable at the time of service, staff productivity rates and patient retention could suffer.
As a result, it’s essential to use a telehealth & patient engagement platform that includes a dedicated support team who offers a quick response time to any issues. At Mend, the average response time is 15 seconds for technical support.
While only 0.5% of visits require technical support, A.I. capabilities can assist with instant automated responses and resolutions to questions about wait time or filling prescriptions, for example. It’s also possible to create instant automated responses and resolutions unique to your practice using A.I. capabilities.
While having technical support staff available 24/7 is essential, you can also take connectivity a step further by identifying problems before they even have a chance to happen.
With some platforms, it’s actually possible to assess which patients may have a poor internet connection prior to their virtual visit. Mend, for example, will help develop processes to connect these patients when connectivity issues are identified ahead of the scheduled appointment. In other instances, telehealth kiosks can be made available for patients to use.
In order to create a successful telehealth program, reliable connectivity is of utmost importance. Solving a connectivity issue starts by defining the problem. Most connectivity issues stem from poor workflows, friction to connect, or slow internet speeds — all of which you can solve with a dedicated telehealth solution. And even if connection issues happen occasionally, a well-designed telehealth program should still maintain single-digit no-show rates and high patient satisfaction scores.
At Mend, we work closely with providers and staff to create seamless digital workflows and solve any connectivity issues — long before they happen. To explore everything Mend has to offer, schedule a demo today with our experts to learn more.
In most healthcare settings, it's agreed that telehealth can be helpful, but professionals may not be clear about the video-related factors that can help or hurt the success of a visit by using telehealth. The steps below show how to ensure patient satisfaction in those situations.
A recent study shows that many healthcare workers using telehealth services no longer utilize many of their diagnostic skills due to the nature of virtual visits.
Many people believe that using screens, cameras, and microphones prevents them from having an empathetic connection. A recent survey reported that 51% of clinicians would be unable to demonstrate empathy towards a patient when telehealth is implemented.
Managing technology is a difficult task when it doesn’t work as expected. Studies find that 61.3% of clinicians describe a lack of digital literacy as the top barrier they face when using telehealth. Complaints about the lack of digital literacy are an issue that can negatively impact provider and patient satisfaction.
The best way to get comfortable with telepresence interactions is to train behind the scenes. Preparing for visits brings familiarity and confidence to the telepresence, and can help healthcare workers better connect in an empathetic way with their patients.
The single most damaging factor that can interfere with your video relationships is pretending to be in command when you are not. Your patients and clients are more likely to offer honest feedback if you take your blunders in stride, accepting them as part of the learning curve rather than trying (and failing) to pretend you know what you're doing. By cultivating a more humble attitude about telepresence itself, you will be more confident in building and maintaining successful virtual relationships.
Learning to laugh at your mistakes combined with persistence is a successful way to strengthen the therapeutic relationship, rather than abandoning the problem or visit entirely. For example, a clinician recently reported in a training course that she had discontent with his primary care provider, who refused to tilt his screen so she could see more than the doctor’s eyes and forehead. She explained that the physician appeared in the lower two inches of her video screen, with the doctor’s rotating ceiling fan occupying the rest of the screen. The physician refused to tilt the screen and insisted that his screen was immovable. These obvious falsehoods damage the fabric known as the therapeutic relationship. Allowing oneself to be “teachable” and therefore human can be one of the biggest secrets to successful video relationships.
How well are you utilizing telepresence and digital literacy to enhance your video relationships with your clients? Resources exist to help you be successful in implementing telepresence.
See more here:
Increasing government funding of telemedicine during the pandemic led more minority populations and patients in metropolitan areas to use telemedicine.
Johns Hopkins University studied 30 million Medicare claims that were submitted between 2019 - 2021. Prior to the CMS waiver in 2020, telemedicine was only accessible in designated rural areas or specific medical facilities. Before the CMS waiver expanded telehealth access, only .42% of patients had experienced at least one outpatient telehealth visit. The study found that there were no significant differences in use between people with different levels of disadvantage, but there were notable differences based on location. People in rural areas used telemedicine more often than those in metropolitan areas, while elderly and African American patients were less likely to use it. When adjusted for demographic factors, females and those in rural areas increased the likelihood of using telemedicine while elderly and African American patients decreased it.
After the accommodation, telemedicine was covered nationwide with nearly 10% of patients using telemedicine in the outpatient setting. It was noted that women, Asians, and Hispanics were more likely to use telemedicine than men.
Researchers found that there was a surprising inverse relationship between telemedicine coverage and socioeconomic status. This means that an increase in telemedicine coverage did not contribute to health disparities.
Mend advocates for legislation to offer reimbursement for telemedicine services that are available beyond the national public health emergency and for improved accessibility for those who are at a socioeconomic disadvantage.
To learn more about how telemedicine can help your organization reach more underserved communities, contact us here at Mend.
If you’re wondering how to reduce no-shows, you’re not alone. No-shows are one of the most frustrating parts of running a hospital or healthcare practice, with missed appointments resulting in wasted time and resources. But how can you reduce your no-show rate for good? What is it that makes patients no-show in the first place? And what exactly are the costs to your practice or organization?
Let’s start by exploring 10 helpful methods for how to reduce no-show appointments in your practice.
Table of Contents for How to Reduce No-Shows
Telemedicine has proven to be an effective tool in reducing no-shows in healthcare. This digital solution allows patients to be seen by a doctor from the comfort of their own home. This convenience factor is a major reason why patients are more likely to show up for appointments when they are able to see a doctor via telemedicine.
One whitepaper showed that patients who used telemedicine were more likely to rate their overall experience as good or excellent. This is likely due to the increased convenience and accessibility of care that telemedicine provides. When it comes to the question of how to stop no show appointments, these two factors go a long way while also promoting patient retention.
At Mend, our technology has helped hundreds of organizations reduce their no-show rates to less than 4%. This is significant considering that the average no-show rate across the globe is 23%. For a 25 provider practice, that means $1,715,616 per year in lost revenue if no-shows continue.
Another way to reduce the number of no-shows is to allow patients to self-schedule their appointments. Eighty percent of patients surveyed want online patient appointment self-scheduling. This way, patients can choose a time that works best for them, and they're more likely to keep their appointment.
Self-scheduling also allows patients to schedule appointments outside of normal business hours. This can be especially helpful for working parents or people with busy schedules.
If you're looking for an easy way to reduce no-shows, patient self-scheduling is a great option.
One of the best ways to reduce appointment no-shows in healthcare is to remind patients of their upcoming appointments. This can be done through phone calls, text messages, or email. Many appointment reminder services are available that can automate this process.
At Mend, we have a robust appointment reminder system. This includes multiple touchpoints to eliminate the possibility of patients forgetting their appointments. These include smart text, email, and phone call reminders. This process is integrated with your EHR/PMS. The reminders are sent in the patient’s preferred language of care.
An attendance predictor can stop no-shows before they happen. This machine learning algorithm predicts which patients are most likely to miss their appointments. Once the machine predicts at-risk patients, it tailors its appointment reminders. These reminders either encourage the patient to confirm their appointment or reschedule.
Mend’s Attendance Predictor is the healthcare industry’s first-ever artificial intelligence machine learning algorithm that predicts no-shows and cancellations before they happen with up to 99% accuracy.
If you're interested in trying our Attendance Predictor, you can sign up for a demo.
If you've been struggling with how to reduce no-shows, one thing you can do is make it easy for patients to cancel and reschedule appointments. This means having a flexible cancellation policy and providing multiple ways for patients to reschedule. A recent survey showed that 80% of patients now put a premium on convenience factors like texting, self-scheduling, and rescheduling and would have no difficulty switching to another provider if it’s more convenient.
Some things you can do to make it easier to cancel and reschedule appointments include:
Making it easy to cancel and reschedule appointments won't eliminate no-shows entirely, but it can help reduce them. At Mend, our telehealth scheduling system makes it quicker and more convenient for patients to modify their appointments 24/7/365.
Digital forms may also help to reduce no-show rates in healthcare. By switching to digital forms, you can make it easier for patients to fill out their information and submit it prior to their appointment.
Mend customers report that when patients complete their forms they are far more likely to attend. We’ve found an 86% completion rate for our digital forms. Sixty-eight percent of patients complete the forms within an hour of receiving the text and/or email. Seventy-five percent of patients complete the forms within the same day.
By using online forms, patients can confirm their appointments with a click of a button. Patients can also fill in their medical history, as well as know what to expect for their upcoming appointment. This reduces the number of no-shows and also ensures that patients have the information they need for their appointments.
One way to reduce the number of no-shows is to get patients invested in their care ahead of time. This means providing them with information about their condition, treatment options, and what to expect from their appointment. Patients who feel like they are part of their care are more likely to show up for their appointments.
At Mend, we don’t just connect with patients before their appointments. During virtual appointments, we connect patients with the first-ever Netflix-style waiting room. Here, patients can view educational videos in just a few clicks. Not only will they be able to get healthier while they wait, but this technology has also shown a 23% increase in patient satisfaction.
Another way to reduce no-shows is to require patients to pay for copays before they come in. This shows a patient’s commitment to coming and will help ensure that there's less of a chance they'll back out. Let patients know the consequences of not showing up to their appointment. If a patient knows that they'll incur a fee or that their insurance won't cover the cost, they are more likely to attend.
Practices can easily manage digital payment with telemedicine solutions. For example, Mend's digital check-in process handles patient co-pays as well as consents, digital forms, and more. This occurs automatically for both in-person and virtual visits.
Research suggests that digital check-in processes can help to reduce no-show rates in healthcare settings. One study found that implementing a digital check-in process reduced no-show rates by 30 percent among pediatric patients.
Other research has shown that digital check-in processes can also lead to reduced wait times and improved patient satisfaction. These two factors alone may help reduce patient no-shows.
Another way to reduce no-shows is to offer incentives for patients who do attend their appointments. This could be something as simple as a discount on future services or a gift card. Incentives help patients see the value in attending their appointment and make it more likely that they'll show up.
It's also very important to follow up with patients who do miss their appointments. This gives you an opportunity to find out why they didn't show up. Plus, you can see if there's anything you can do to prevent it from happening again in the future.
There are a few different types of patients who are more likely to miss appointments. Some patients may have transportation issues or be unable to take time off work. Others may simply forget their appointment or be too busy to make it. Lastly, some patients may not be able to afford the care they need.
Whatever the reason, it's essential to try and identify which patients are more likely to no-show so you can take steps to prevent it. Some ways a practice can achieve this is by following up with patients via a phone call or sending a survey.
For example, a practice may find through feedback that many of their patients no-show due to transportation issues. If you know that transportation is an issue for some of your patients, see if there's anything you can do to help. Maybe your organization can suggest a ride service or help them arrange for public transportation.
When a patient misses their appointment, it doesn’t just affect their overall well-being or continuity of care. No-shows have a serious financial effect on the practices and organizations.
In a recent study, it was estimated that no-shows cost healthcare organizations approximately $150 million per year. That number is expected to rise as the population ages and demand for healthcare services increases.
There are a number of ways to reduce no-shows, but it's important to find the right solution for your organization. To understand the impact no-shows are having on your practice’s bottom line, use our convenient tool.
It's estimated that no-show appointments cost the healthcare system billions of dollars every year. That's why it's so important to find ways to reduce the number of patients who don't show up for their appointments.
No-shows are a significant problem in healthcare, but there are ways to reduce them. By using appointment reminders, attendance predictors, and offering incentives, you can decrease the number of no-shows at your practice. You can also reduce no-shows by being flexible with appointment times. You may also offer patients the option to reschedule if they cannot make their original appointment. Implementing these tips will help you see fewer no-shows and have a more successful healthcare practice.
If your practice is struggling significantly with missed appointments, taking on the task of decreasing no-shows can feel daunting. The good news is that many of these simple but significant changes are achievable through digital solutions.
Eliminating costly missed appointments and creating a streamlined workflow is simple with Mend. All you need to do to reduce no-shows is request a free demonstration. After that, we’ll walk you through integrating these various elements into your existing system. If you’re ready to say goodbye to the no-show nightmare, schedule your demo below.
Healthcare providers rely on getting paid in order to continue operating, and bad debt can have a significant impact on any business. Here are some of the most recent patient payment statistics as they relate to healthcare and what you can do as an organization to ensure timely payment.
What is bad debt in healthcare? It is money that is owed in medical billing to a healthcare provider but is not able to be collected. This happens for a variety of reasons, such as the patient not having insurance or not being able to pay their deductible. Bad debt can be a major financial burden for healthcare providers, as it can often be difficult or impossible to collect.
One of the most significant causes of bad debt is the increasing cost of patient financial responsibility. A recent report estimates the consumer out-of-pocket healthcare costs to reach $491.6 billion or about $1,650 per person by 2025.
There are a few different trends for patient payments currently. As briefly mentioned above, one trend is that patients are increasingly responsible for a larger portion of their healthcare costs. As a result, patients are more likely to be looking for ways to save money on their healthcare costs.
Another trend is that more patients are using online payment options. This is because it is often more convenient and can help save time. Some online payment options also offer discounts. Or, they may offer lower prices than traditional methods like paying by cash or check.
Finally, there is a trend towards using alternative methods of payment, such as medical credit cards. This is because these cards can offer patients a way to finance their healthcare costs and pay over time. They can also often get patients discounts on their care.
The latest patient payment statistics show that the average American household now owes more than $5,000 in medical debt. This is a significant increase from previous years, likely due to the rising cost of healthcare.
According to the same statistics, approximately one in five American households has "bad medical debt." Hospital bad debt statistics translate to those payments that are over 90 days past due.
These numbers are concerning, as they indicate that many Americans are struggling with bad debt to make adjustments and keep up with their in medical bills.
Even though most businesses have gone digital, many healthcare organizations rely on paper bills. In fact, 75% of providers primarily use paper and manual processes for payment collection.
As a result, this method can play a role in leading to bad debt for healthcare organizations. On average, it takes more than 30 days to collect after a patient encounter. To counter this, we can look at ways to improve the collection of patient payments in the future.
The future of patient payments looks like it will be more electronic and automated. More and more, patients are using online tools to pay their bills and track their payments. This trend is likely to continue as the healthcare industry moves towards a more digitized system.
The InstaMed Annual Report shows an increasing interest from patients in digital payment options. The report found that 85% of consumers prefer an electronic payment method for their medical bills.
Another study shows patients aged 18 to 24 are three times as likely to consider switching providers over a poor digital experience.
To stay competitive, patients want a modern, convenient patient engagement experience. Make patient payments easy and effortless, and organizations can get paid faster every time.
With the rise of telehealth comes more options for managing digital processes, including payment. For example, Mend's digital check-in process handles patient co-pays, consents, digital forms, and more, automatically for both in-person and virtual visits.
After a virtual visit is complete, the integration detects a positive patient balance. Mend can then automatically bill patient credit cards on file. Or, we can send a digital form invoice via text and email. Our management system quickly collects the amount due and then documents the payment.
Automation of this process can also cut down on the cost of staffing. Paying staff to collect co-pays or chase patient balances after a visit is time-consuming and expensive.
The pandemic has had a significant impact on patient payments in healthcare. Many patients have lost their jobs or had their hours reduced. Twenty-nine percent of Americans lost their health insurance in 2020. Fifty percent of them remain uninsured in 2021. As a result, the average bad debt percentage in healthcare has increased significantly.
According to a Credit Karma survey, the finance company has seen its customers faced with an additional $3.6 billion in healthcare bad debt medical collections.
There are several ways that healthcare providers can prevent bad debt from occurring.
When it comes to bad debt medical billing, it is first essential to have a clear and concise billing policy in place. Patients have a right to transparent pricing and all costs related to their care before any treatment starts. This will help avoid misunderstandings about what the patient is responsible for paying.
Secondly, automating billing processes and offering digital patient payment options can provide a better overall patient financial experience in healthcare. It can also increase the speed of collection for providers. Mend already solves this by creating a digital check-in experience for in-person or virtual encounters. Patients can also store credit cards on file to charge automatically after the visit. Mend can also send an easy-to-use digital invoice that patients can pay electronically.
Lastly, it is also important to follow up with patients who have outstanding balances. Organizations need to contact patients soon after they receive their bill to remind them of the balance due. Providers can also offer payment plans to patients who are having trouble paying their bill in full.
Overall, there are several steps that healthcare providers can take to prevent bad debt from occurring. By having electronic payment options, a clear billing policy, and following up with patients, providers can help to ensure that patients are able to pay their bill in full.
There is no doubt that patient payment statistics and bad debt are major issues in healthcare. With the rising cost of healthcare, more and more patients are unable to pay their medical bills. This results in bad debt for healthcare providers, which can significantly impact their bottom line. However, there are steps that providers can take to reduce bad debt and improve patient payment statistics. By implementing effective billing and collection practices, providers can minimize the financial impact of these hospital bad debt trends.
It can be difficult to keep up with the latest healthcare payment trends in a rapidly changing landscape. Here are 10 predictions for what we'll see in 2022. From new technology like artificial intelligence to an increase in value-based care, these healthcare payment trends will have a major impact on the industry.
More and more healthcare providers are moving towards digital health. This trend benefits both patients and providers.
With digital health, patients can save time and money. Virtual visits help patients avoid having to take time off work or school. They can also access their health information online, schedule appointments, and manage bills. When it comes to digital payment options, a recent Instamed study showed that 91% of consumers prefer an electronic payment method for their medical bills.
With telemedicine solutions like Mend, providers can benefit from a seamless digital solution. Digital intake forms and automated payment processing reduce costs associated with office space, paper resources, and administrative staff.
The growth of artificial intelligence (AI) in healthcare is changing how organizations process payments. For example, many utilize AI to create more efficient and accurate claims processing. It can also detect fraud in healthcare payments.
Mend can also create automated payment processing flows to decrease the workload on administrative staff. Patient responsibilities such as co-pays are collected automatically before or after an encounter. Then, they are recorded in the payment management system. The patient payment process is a factor that can be utilized by Mend’s AI patient attendance predictor. Learn more in our eBook: How to Automate Patient Payments Before & After the Visit.
The rise of telehealth has been one of the biggest impacts on healthcare payment trends in recent years, resulting in a need for more digital payment solutions. With the patient being remote, swiping a card for payment is no longer possible.
Research shows that even after the pandemic subsides, patients still want digital payment solutions. In that same InstaMed Annual report, sixty-five percent of consumers want to keep using virtual and self-service options. This makes a robust payment processing system not only convenient but necessary.
As healthcare costs rise, patients are looking for ways to reduce expenses. One way to do this is by becoming more engaged in their own care. Engaged patients are more likely to make healthy lifestyle choices, adhere to treatment plans, and avoid unnecessary hospital visits.
Healthcare organizations are starting to recognize the importance of patient engagement while taking steps to encourage it. Patient portals are an example of this.
How an organization collects payment is also a critical element of patient engagement. At Mend, we’ve found that when patients have the option to pay for their appointment ahead of their visit, they are far more likely to attend and actively engage in their care.
In recent years, patients have been paying more out of pocket for their own care. Because of this, they want to be viewed as customers. In fact, sixty percent of consumers expect their digital healthcare experience to mirror that of retail.
Retail experiences like Amazon and Walmart are mobile, fast, and ultra-convenient. Uber and Instacart make for effortless delivery or transportation services. Consumers are aware of these advancements in payment technology. Healthcare organizations that match the experiences of other industries will win in the future.
With services like Apple Pay, consumers are more comfortable using digital cards for retail payment. This same ease of payment proves a beneficial trend to the healthcare industry as well. For example, if a patient consents to store their payment information digitally, they can pay medical bills in just a few clicks.
This frictionless payment option is also a win for providers. Seventy-three percent of physicians say it typically takes at least one month to collect payments from patients, with 12% of patients waiting more than three months to pay. The storage of digital payments can result in higher percentages of payment and a faster collection speed.
Preventative care is also an emerging trend, and there are a few reasons for this. Patients understand that it is cheaper to prevent a disease than treat it. People are becoming more aware of the importance of their health. They know that if they take care of themselves they will be less likely to get sick.
This trend toward preventative care is likely to continue in the future. As people become more health-conscious, they will be more likely to take steps to avoid getting sick. This will lead to lower healthcare costs and a healthier population.
While a good portion of the population utilized telehealth during the pandemic, younger generations drive the demand for ongoing digital solutions. How an organization processes its payments is a large part of this.
In a recent report, patients aged 18 to 24 are three times as likely (61%) to consider switching providers over a poor digital experience.
Another emerging healthcare payment trend surrounds price transparency. In the same InstaMed Annual report mentioned above, 9 in 10 consumers want to know their payment responsibility upfront.
Yet despite this desire, many patients still feel left in the dark. Negotiated rates, eligibility, and deductible amounts are just a few of the elements that cause uncertainty and confusion over final costs. Only 20% of patients always know what they will owe after an appointment. 61% of consumers said their providers did not ask about the affordability of healthcare and/or discuss resources to assist with costs.
Healthcare organizations that provide this information in a transparent manner will gain patient loyalty as well as improve overall satisfaction.
The final trend is toward value-based payments in healthcare. This means that healthcare providers are paid based on the quality of care they provide rather than the number of services. This incentivizes providers to focus on quality over quantity.
Value-based payments are becoming more common as insurance companies move away from fee-for-service payments. In these arrangements, healthcare providers are paid for each service they provide, regardless of if the patient actually benefits from the service. This can lead to unnecessary tests or procedures, which drives up costs without improving outcomes.
Value-based payments help to address this issue by tying payment to outcomes. This approach will help control costs and result in better patient care.
The healthcare industry is constantly evolving, which means how we pay for healthcare services is also changing. We’ve looked at 10 of the most likely healthcare payment trends that we’ll see in 2022. From an increased focus on value-based care to the rise of mobile payments, it is clear that the healthcare industry is heading in a new and exciting direction.
Artificial intelligence is changing the landscape of every business, including your healthcare practice. As one of the world's fastest-growing industries, the global AI market is projected to grow 38.1% annually through the year 2030.
So how are the current and future roles of artificial intelligence (AI) in healthcare impacting your industry? And how can you ensure your practice isn't left behind?
The answer is simple. Integrating forward-thinking AI into your medical practice now will not only improve patient engagement, but it'll also increase your revenue. These two factors alone are enough to set your practice ahead of the competition and provide future growth and success.
As a medical professional, you understand the value of high patient engagement. You also know it's not a guarantee. Ultimately, it's the patient's responsibility to decide on their level of engagement. The best thing you can do is provide them with the tools and information they need to engage.
This is where artificial intelligence (AI) in healthcare comes in.
When you equip your patients with innovative solutions to improve their medical experience, their level of engagement will improve. With more engagement comes:
It's impossible to predict how a patient will engage with your practice. But implementing AI in healthcare is almost guaranteed to improve patient engagement. You'll see your practice grow and thrive with a comprehensive patient engagement system like Mend that offers one-of-a-kind AI using unparalleled machine learning.
Artificial intelligence in healthcare is rapidly evolving. In the future, AI may be able to assist you with more of the tasks humans can do with equal, if not improved, precision. We are years away from artificial intelligence replacing humans in healthcare. But you may be surprised to learn of the current AI capabilities available right now.
Not all current AI healthcare solutions are created equal. Because of the rapid-paced evolution of technology, you want to make sure you choose what you implement into your practice wisely.
The most advanced AI technology solutions improve patient engagement and increase revenue by streamlining the way you do business.
Here are some of the ways artificial intelligence in healthcare is benefiting medical practices right now.
One of the most prominent AI solutions in healthcare is machine learning. Using advanced algorithms that learn and adapt to a patient's activity can bring the efficiency and revenue of your practice to the next level.
Machine learning can predict how likely a patient is to cancel or show up to an appointment. But not all AI in healthcare solutions can do this.
Our Attendance Predictor is the first AI machine learning algorithm with the ability to predict no-shows and cancellations with up to 99% accuracy. It uses basic demographic and appointment data accessed from your master scheduling system. After running millions of times and making constant adjustments, you'll optimize your appointment schedule confidently.
Not all patients receive the same level of engagement opportunities with Mend, either. Our unique AI uses machine learning to provide more engagement opportunities for high-risk patients. Gently reminding and nudging the patients more likely to cancel or not show up gives your practice a leg-up on reducing the number of empty appointment times.
Paperwork can be overwhelming and daunting for your patients and office staff. In fact, according to one study, doctors spend 49.2% of their time on paperwork.
You'll bypass the overwhelm by implementing a comprehensive AI program into your system. Our digital intake forms eliminate physical waste and the time it takes to remind and collect information.
No more PDFs. No more lost paperwork. With Mend, your patients fill out interactive intake forms on any device. Based on their appointment type, our advanced artificial intelligence in the healthcare system knows the correct documents to send via email or text.
That means you:
In days past, patients would have to wait to schedule or reschedule an appointment during regular office hours. Or they'd leave a message, and your office staff would waste time tracking them down to reschedule or confirm.
Advanced AI in healthcare technology allows for more efficient scheduling. With Mend, your patients can schedule and reschedule their appointments digitally 24/7/365. Whatever the appointment type, Mend can handle it. We've got you covered if they need in-person, telemedicine, kiosk, messaging, phone, or home appointments.
When you allow your patients to schedule and reschedule their own appointments, you're reducing your practice's no-show rates by 2-8%. That saves a 30-provider practice around $74 per visit. And that increases revenue by around $560,000.
If you offer telemedicine in your practice, providing a high-quality virtual waiting room is a must. As one of the most unique artificial intelligence options in healthcare, our Enhanced Virtual Waiting Room Experience (EVWR) improved patient satisfaction. In fact, we've seen a 23% increase in how satisfied our clients' patients are with their telemedicine experience.
Your patients won't spend their time waiting for you staring at a blank screen. Instead, using our advanced AI in healthcare EVWR, they'll receive a custom-branded informational experience. As they wait, they engage in a Netflix-style library of Mend Media, like TED talks and health and wellness videos.
Not only that, but our advanced AI will check for connection issues while your patients wait. If there is an issue, our connectivity chatbots will offer solutions to connection issues before the appointment begins.
One of the most recent technologies to make an appearance in artificial intelligence in healthcare is capturing vitals. Believe it or not, you can now collect vital signs in a telemedicine appointment and before in-person visits.
Because we continually advance with technology, here at Mend, we've implemented our patient engagement system to do just that. Using the web camera on any device, with the help of machine learning, FDA-approved vital signs are obtained.
Using this innovative AI in healthcare feature, vitals can be collected:
Our impressively innovative AI can collect vital signs like:
Collecting copays and payments post-visit has never been easier with advanced AI in healthcare. Unfortunately, 75% of today's providers still use paper and manual processes to collect payments.
That's not only time-consuming but can also result in lost revenue.
As soon as a claim is adjudicated showing a positive patient balance, Mend can charge a credit card on file or send a digital form to collect payment. And because Mend seamlessly integrates with your PMS, our advanced program:
This results in a faster revenue cycle, less manual labor, and improved patient experience and satisfaction.
At Mend, we are always looking forward. We focus on improving patient engagement and increasing the speed and efficiency of practices like yours through digital solutions. You don't want any old AI in healthcare solutions. You want one constantly evolving and adapting to today's technological needs.
The high-speed development of artificial intelligence in healthcare is challenging to keep up with. But there are advancements today that, while not quite ready yet, give the nod to what we'll see in the future.
We are a long way away from AI replacing humans in healthcare. But continuing progress within AI in healthcare will undoubtedly help patients and providers in the near future.
There are three key AI advancements to keep an eye on that should make their way into the medical field within the next decade.
Access to the care patients need today is largely dependent on location. Whether someone needs emergency care for a complex procedure, acute illness, or routine outpatient treatment, their options for care depend on where they are.
There is artificial intelligence on the horizon of healthcare that'll change all of that. Rather than medical centers like hospitals offering a wide range of care options, they'll focus more on emergencies, acute illnesses, and complex procedures. Less urgent needs are addressed at clinics, specialist centers, and outpatient surgery care locations.
How is AI in healthcare going to do this?
They do this by connecting these locations through one digital infrastructure. AI will soon be able to analyze local health data and monitor the supply and demand in real-time. These advancements aim to direct patients to and provide the correct treatment. In turn, this reduces bottlenecks in the healthcare system, allowing less wait time and more accurate treatment.
And what about sharing data across the globe?
Currently, about 90% of medical data isn't shared due to privacy concerns. As AI advancements continue, we'll soon be able to balance the risks and benefits of data sharing. When providers have access to medical images and patient data from around the world, lives will be saved. Patients will receive the appropriate care when and where they need it.
Predictive care is one of the most exciting advancements of artificial intelligence in healthcare. Rather than waiting for symptoms to appear, AI will soon be able to assist providers in disease prediction.
Current factors used to predict risk factors of developing certain diseases include genetics and lifestyle habits. With the help of AI and predictive analytics, we'll soon be able to understand other factors that affect our health.
Some of these factors include where we work, air pollution, where we live, our income level, and what we eat. The World Health Organization calls these factors â€œsocial determinants of healthâ€ (SDOH).
In the future, AI in healthcare will also assist radiologists in making diagnoses. Technological advances are going to help them predict if a patient will develop lung or breast cancer sooner. Beyond that, AI aims to help providers determine how well a patient will respond to specific treatments.
When patients have access to the appropriate care when and where they need it, they're more likely to engage in their health actively. AI in healthcare today and in the future means less frustration, easily accessible scheduling, and simple payment solutions. Using predictive healthcare networks and efficient workflows, like those provided by Mend, results in a better user experience.
Providers will experience less burnout with the help of artificial intelligence in healthcare. Not long ago, providers faced the daily stress of trying to help too many patients. The administrative staff wasted valuable time with no-shows and chasing down patients for rescheduling and payment collection. Today, thanks to AI, these challenges are being reduced. And it's only getting better.
What are the challenges your practice faces today? Are you wasting time with stacks of patient paperwork, working with an inefficient scheduling system, and losing revenue? If you're like many providers, you are likely facing many of these issues daily.
Improving patient engagement and increasing your revenue isn't as challenging as you may think. When you integrate Mend into your practice, you'll resolve many of your business struggles quickly. As one of the most advanced options for AI in healthcare on the market today, Mend boasts an impressive number of features to improve patient engagement and increase revenue.
When your patients have an easy, efficient, and rewarding experience with your practice, they're much more likely to stay engaged. And when patient engagement increases, so does your revenue.
Integrating Mend into your practice can take your practice to the next level in service, staff efficiency, and patient satisfaction. It doesn't require any special logins or software. Your patients can use Mend on any smartphone, tablet, or computer.
That means upgrading your digital workflows has never been easier for you or your patients.
Not only is Mend the most advanced AI in healthcare technology on the market, but we're constantly evolving with changing technology. That means when you partner with Mend, you improve your current practice and ensure you stay on top of future AI developments for years to come.
The widespread adoption of telemedicine has been the biggest story in the healthcare industry over the last few years. The question is no longer whether a practice will adopt the telehealth trends, but which platform they will choose. Managers of health systems should become familiar with the many features telemedicine platforms offer to make the right choice. And, more than ever, they must be aware of new trends in telehealth that will soon come to market.
What are the telehealth trends to look for this year? This article will review the most exciting developments in telemedicine today. Several innovations will come to market soon. To be included in this list, telehealth trends had to fulfill the following criteria:
Some of the telehealth trends presented in this article will become standards of care for virtual encounters as well as in-office visits. Managers of large health systems and smaller practices must stay abreast of these exciting changes to avoid being left behind. Here are the hottest telehealth trends, listed according to their place in a patient's journey through a medical encounter.
It is helpful to consider all the steps that make up a medical encounter as a journey that starts as soon as a patient decides to schedule a medical appointment. This journey goes through three phases:
Telehealth trends impact all three phases of the patient's journey. New telehealth trends aim to ensure the voyage is safe, easy to access, productive and satisfying for all.
Staff and patients must complete several tasks before a medical encounter. In the past, patients had to complete some of these steps by telephone or in a doctor's waiting room. The standard tools were archaic: a clipboard, a pen, and dozens of often repetitive paper forms. The process was tedious and tiresome not the best way to generate a good first impression. Vital information frequently went missing, and delays were commonplace. The best telehealth trends are platforms offer a refreshing solution.
Patients will soon schedule all their health visits online or with their smartphones. There are many advantages to this approach beyond convenience. Patients self-scheduling:
Identify At-Risk Patients
Some patients are more prone to miss appointments than others. Eliminating missed appointments is one way to improve access to care and health outcomes. Imagine if you could identify patients at higher risk of not keeping their appointments. How would you do that? By using artificial intelligence. AI-powered algorithms can predict the likelihood an individual will keep their appointment with up to 90% accuracy.
Mend's patented AI-powered Attendance Predictor is one of the most exciting telehealth trends because it uses information obtained from a patient engagement platform to rank patients into risk categories. Identifying at-risk patients enables practices to engage patients and remove obstacles in accessing care.
Custom Appointment Reminders Based On AI
Another one of the exciting telehealth trends we now see is using customized text messages to remind patients of their appointments. Studies show that 90% of text messages are read within three minutes of receipt. Fully automated text messages can be customized based on an individual's risk.
Mend's telehealth platform uses its Attendance Predictor to automatically generate customized text messages. More frequent text messages, worded in clear language, encourage at-risk patients to confirm and keep their appointments.
Complete Forms Digitally
Clipboards and pens and endless paper forms in a provider's waiting room will soon be relics of the past. Patients will be able to fill out intake information using a smartphone, tablet, or personal computer in the comfort of their homes. They will be able to send their medical histories, and photographs, and attach files if needed.
A popular telehealth trend we see is practices that use digital forms have an 86% completion rate. High form-completion rates translate to low no-show rates. A completed form serves as an appointment confirmation. It signals a high likelihood the patient will attend the visit. And with Mend, 68% of forms are filled out in less than one hour.
Using digital forms keeps patient information accurate and up to date with less work. This improves workflows and patient experience.
It is now commonplace to check in for a flight or a hotel online. Many businesses use the check-in step as an opportunity to carry out tasks such as verifying information and collecting payment. Self-check-in is another telehealth trend that will become routine for medical practices.
Self-check-in will allow patients to:
Virtual Waiting Room
Important telehealth trends nudge patients to take a more active role in their health and wellbeing. Wait times are opportunities to engage patients and provide education on health and lifestyle issues.
Mend has created a virtual waiting room experience that uses a Netflix style portal to access a wide choice of videos. Health systems can upload custom videos to highlight their providers and the services they offer. Data shows that Mend's virtual waiting room boosts patient satisfaction by a whopping 23 percent.
The tasks completed before the visit ensure everything is in place for a more productive medical encounter. The telehealth trends for aiding medical encounters are among the most exciting in the industry. Here are a few tools that will soon be available.
Real-Time Translation With Captioning
Health systems are responsible for providing care in the preferred language of their patients. Often, this requires the use of interpreters and translators. Translation services are often costly and can cause delays in care due when they are not readily available.
Two new telehealth trends solve these problems. One is real-time captioning. Providers and patients can communicate freely during telehealth encounters, despite language differences, with captioning on the bottom of their screens. The other option is having an interpreter join the encounter remotely.
AI Translation For Sign Language
One unique challenge is that of providing telehealth services to patients who are hearing impaired in a way that is sensitive to their needs. Mend's platform offers AI-assisted American Sign Language translations with real-time captioning for both in-person and virtual visits.
Automatic Charting And Note Transcribing
Surveys on health care provider burnout show that providers want to spend more time with patients and less time on administrative tasks. One telehealth innovation aims to help providers do just that. In the near future, AI plug-ins on telemedicine platforms will transcribe encounter notes and chart them automatically, freeing providers to focus on patient care.
Secure and fully encrypted HIPAA compliant systems will capture and record patient encounters. AI will identify each participant, map out the conversation, and extract key data. The software will chart encounter notes and suggest billing codes at the appropriate complexity level in real time. AI-assisted charting and note-taking will allow physicians to just be doctors again.
When the face-to-face part of a health encounter ends, several more tasks are at hand. This is true regardless of whether the visit was virtual or in-office. Staff must process bills and collect payments from third parties and patients. Practices need to keep patients engaged to monitor response to treatment and ensure follow-up. This is also the time to request reviews and evaluations. Several telehealth trends will help health systems provide care after the formal part of a visit ends.
Payments will be collected automatically
Collecting payment for services rendered is a tedious process. 75% of practices still rely on paper billing and manual processes for collection. Delays in payment and unsettled bills have a negative effect on a practice's cash flow. One telehealth trend provides a solution to this problem.
Mend creates an interface between billing and Practice Management Systems. Once a third-party adjudicates a claim and determines the patient's balance of the bill, Mend can automatically charge a credit card kept on file. Alternatively, the software will dispatch digital forms to collect payment automatically.
Patients prefer the convenience of automatic payments and not having to receive bulky paper statements. Practices enjoy faster revenue cycles with less manual labor.
Like it or not, the use of online reviews is a growing trend that reflects the rise of consumerism in the healthcare industry. More than ever, medical practices must ensure they maintain a healthy online presence. According to a recent survey, 90% of patients reported using online reviews to evaluate providers. Almost three in four said they used reviews as the first step in choosing a new provider. The power of reviews is such that nearly half of patients would book an appointment with an out-of-network provider who has favorable reviews.
The good news is that only 1% of patients leave a very negative review, and just 10% leave somewhat negative reviews. So, a good strategy to polish a practice's online profile is to encourage the vast majority of satisfied patients to leave great reviews.
Users of a service are most likely to leave a review immediately after an encounter. Therefore, the most effective way to generate more reviews is to nudge patients into doing so right away. Post-visit surveys, reviews, and other feedback can be requested with user-friendly tools as soon as a health visit ends. And patients will be more likely to write excellent reviews when they are dazzled by the ease and convenience of a well-run telemedicine visit.
Follow-up appointments are essential to the continuity of care. They are also crucial to the continued growth of a practice. As with any business model, it is easier and less costly to retain current clients than to attract new ones. Ensuring that patients return for follow-up is a telehealth trend that leads to better health outcomes and well-booked provider schedules.
Just as with booking the original appointment, letting patients self-schedule follow-up visits lowers the likelihood of missed follow-up appointments. And patients enjoy the freedom and ease of altering visit times should their schedule change.
When after-encounter tasks are completed, the patient's journey comes to an end. But a new journey begins. Using the latest telemedicine tools, practices can keep their patient engaged. Patients and providers prepare for the next encounter. A new cycle begins, ensuring continuity of care. Should an unexpected arise, patients have the option to schedule a telehealth visit quickly and with ease. With telehealth, patients are allowed to take an active role in their care.
The hottest telehealth trends are not gimmicks. They are solutions to real problems healthcare systems and patients face every day. The best telehealth trends address the issue of access to care. They remove barriers to care by making appointments timely and easy to access. They improve communication with translation tools and AI-powered captioning for American Sign Language.
Some telehealth trends also remove many of the administrative hassles that providers and staff encounter. Scheduling and billing are done automatically. Patients fill out forms prior to visits. Webcams obtain and record vital signs prior to linking up with a provider. AI-powered software will generate visit notes and transcribe them automatically. The platform will suggest precise billing codes.
Perhaps, the most significant telehealth trend is to keep patients engaged not only during an encounter, but also before and after the visit. Self-scheduling of appointments, virtual waiting rooms with educational videos, and giving patients the opportunity to leave feedback keeps patients connected to a practice. And keeping patients engaged leads to better health outcomes and more satisfied customers.
Mend has a proven track record of offering cutting-edge telehealth solutions. We help organizations of all sizes run more efficiently. To see how Mend can help keep your patients engaged and improve your company's bottom line, click here.
These days, patients are spending more on healthcare than ever before. Their out-of-pocket spending hit $491.6 billion in 2021. That's up almost 10% from the previous year and is on track to reach $800 billion by 2026. Today, patients prefer convenient payment options to stay on top of medical bills. So if you don't automate healthcare payments, you may want to look into it.
Manually collecting payments is time-consuming and increases the risk of uncollected payments. Patient payments that aren't integrated or automated can create a lot of manual work for your staff. Fortunately, there are ways to automate healthcare payments to make life easier for your patients and practice.
There are several reasons why switching from paper to automated patient billing is important. Everyone is attempting to do their part to help the environment. And when you automate healthcare billing, your practice is doing your part.
But the benefits of automated patient billing go beyond reducing your carbon footprint. When you automate healthcare payments, you increase patient satisfaction. And your practice benefits in multiple ways.
No more endless rows of file cabinets and piles upon piles of patient paperwork. Of course, you still need to store patient billing information somewhere. But with today's space-saving cloud technology, that storage space is invisible.
You may think choosing to automate healthcare payments increases your practice's costs. In reality, the opposite is true.
You don't have to designate an employee to keep tabs on all the paperwork. There's nobody manually taking and tracking payments, following up after an appointment, and taking note of overdue payments. You should have someone available to talk to a patient, you don't need to hire people to do that job.
Not to mention, it's time-consuming to have a staff member chase down unpaid copays and medical bills. When you have to sell uncollected payments to debt collectors for pennies on the dollar, that's a lot of wasted money and increased patient aggravation.
A 2018 study revealed that 65% of medical data breaches occurred using paper or film-based patient records. Yet, 75% of providers continue to use paper and manual billing processes.
Data breaches are far less likely when you use a client portal, text, or email. Patients often cite privacy as one of their biggest concerns. So switching to automated patient billing provides more security and better overall service to your patients.
Getting a medical bill in the mail isn't the most efficient way of ensuring your patients pay on time. They could throw the bill in a pile of mail and accidentally forget about it.
When you automate healthcare payments, you can tailor payment reminders to each patient's individual needs. And when there is an easy-to-use medical payment option at their fingertips, they're less likely to forget about paying.
When you don't automate patient billing, your patients may get multiple bills in the mail. And many times, all of the relevant payment information isn't included in the same envelope. This can lead to patients resenting your practice, assuming you're not providing all of the information they need.
Automated healthcare billing does away with all of that. When your patients receive a payment reminder, they'll be able to see all relevant information in one place.
Your practice can utilize automated patient payments before and after each in-person or virtual visit. But to do this, you need a comprehensive, reliable, and easy-to-use software platform like Mend.
Our innovative healthcare management system lets you automate patient billing when integrated into your PMS or EHR. Your patients get a digital check-in experience whether they are visiting in-person or virtually. They can conveniently store their credit card information for automatic charges or upon receipt of an invoice.
But the benefits don't end there.
When you automate healthcare payments with Mend, you'll see your practice's efficiency and bottom line increase.
Mend's automated payment feature delivers further benefits, including:
Once your patients digitally check-in with Mend, they'll be able to pay their copay right away. They can use the card on file or use a different card.
They will also be able to fill out any necessary digital forms before their visit. This saves you and your patient time, money, and aggravation.
When you integrate Mend into your practice's computer system, it can automatically bill patients' credit cards via adjudication. Or, if there is no credit card on file, it will send an invoice via text and email.
When patients have this reminder to pay at their fingertips, payments are collected quickly. And, they are automatically documented in your practice's management system.
After your patient's visit, there are two options to receive healthcare payments. Mend can automatically bill their credit card on file, so they don't need to worry about paying it.
Or Mend can send them a digital form invoice. They receive a secure link via text and email and authenticate using only their date of birth. From there, they proceed to pay their bill using a card stored on file or by entering a new payment method that will be stored securely for future payments.
Your patients want a modern and convenient patient engagement experience in today's technology-driven world. To stay competitive, you need to provide them with an effortless automated healthcare payment option.
With Mend, you'll get that. And more.
Our innovative healthcare management system is the best way to automate healthcare payments. Mend seamlessly integrates into your practice's already existing EHR and PMS software. That means you can improve productivity, reduce costs, and increase patient satisfaction simply by using Mend.
But that's not all.
Mend can give you the competitive edge you need in today's technologically-advanced healthcare market. Our unique system includes other valuable features to streamline the way your practice does business.
These features include:
There's no other healthcare management system on the market like Mend. Our advanced technology is the best way to automate healthcare payments and keep you ahead of the curve. Contact us to schedule your free demonstration to learn more about how Mend can help your practice.
Virtual health is the future of healthcare. Learn more about the future of telemedicine & patient engagement from the experts that are revolutionizing it.
If you're wondering what's in store for the future of telemedicine, you won't have to look too far. Telemedicine has already brought change and innovation to the healthcare landscape, with more advancements and capabilities coming on board in the near future. Before we dive into the details, here's a brief overview of how patient engagement tools will alter care before, during, and after a visit:
Before the visit:
During the visit:
After the visit:
Let's explore each element further now.
When we think of telemedicine, the ability to conduct virtual visits is often the first thought that comes to mind. But the truth is, telemedicine will create future changes within your practice before a patient even steps into your (virtual) waiting room. Here's how.
A future where self-scheduling is the norm will benefit patients and care teams alike. When platforms like Mend give patients the ability to self-schedule, it increases patient satisfaction and the likelihood that they will keep the appointment. In fact, a recent Accenture survey found that 68% of patients want the option to book, change, or cancel appointments online.
This, of course, will also have a direct effect on the clinical side. No-shows and last-minute cancellations result in lost revenue. When patients self-schedule with Mend, the no-show rate reduces to as low as 5%. Self-scheduling will also decrease the workload at the front desk. This will allow for the reduction of staffing or redirection of labor.
Imagine a future where you can predict the likelihood of a patient showing up for their appointment. With software like Mend, you can.
Mend's Attendance Predictor is the industry's first-ever artificially intelligent machine learning algorithm. Once its algorithm learns a patient's pattern, it will modify appointment reminders. Those who are at high risk of no show will receive more urgent messages that prompt them to take action to confirm or reschedule.
This dynamic approach will help keep your patient schedule full, so you can increase productivity â€” while also reducing the loss of revenue secondary to no-shows.
In the future of telemedicine, it will no longer be necessary to wait for patients to complete forms. That's because they can get a head start as soon as their appointment is scheduled. Sixty-eight percent of Mend Digital Forms are completed within an hour, and Mend averages an 86% completion rate overall.
When patients have access to digital forms, your care team can obtain the necessary information before the visit. This will allow you to maximize your time with patient care.
Patients signing in on a clipboard will soon be a thing of the past. With the evolution of telemedicine, patients will have a more personal, elevated, and streamlined check-in experience.
With Mend, patients will be sent a link where they can join a visit with just a single click. Here, they will also be able to make any necessary co-pays and upload their vitals.
Today, most bills are sent and paid electronically â€” and healthcare should be no different. In fact, 85% of consumers say they prefer an electronic payment method for their medical bills.
Patients will click a link to join their virtual visit with Mend. There, they will be greeted with a beautiful, easy-to-use interface where their billing will be all in one place. This includes co-pays and any outstanding balances. They'll also be able to keep a card on file for easy payment processing.
When envisioning the future of patient engagement, every person should have access to telemedicine regardless of physical location. That's why every telemedicine app should be able to identify any connection risks. (It's also an important KPI to measure the success of your telemedicine program â€” more on that here.)
Telemedicine apps can use artificial intelligence to identify any poor connections and automatically engage proactively to fix the issue. Mend is one telemedicine and patient engagement platform that does this already.
One of the biggest problems in the early days of telemedicine was how to assess a patient's vitals from afar. In the future, it'll be easier than ever for patients to upload their vitals from the comfort of their homes.
At Mend, we have what we've nicknamed the Star Trek Tricorder. Accessed via a mobile device, our webcam will first visualize the patient and then analyze their vitals. This will include their heart rate, breathing rate, and blood pressure.
Streaming services revolutionized how we access TV and film â€” so why not apply the same concept to help patients? At Mend, we connect patients with the first-ever Netflix-style waiting room where they can view educational videos in just a few clicks. Not only will they be able to get healthier while they wait, but this technology has also shown a 23% increase in patient satisfaction.
Once you connect with your patient in the virtual space, more benefits await. Here's what you can expect soon in telemedicine.
Approximately 1 in 5 Americans do not speak English as their primary language, and about 10,000,000 people in the U.S. are deaf or hard of hearing. To remove this barrier in the delivery of care, we can look once more at artificial intelligence.
In the near future, Mend will offer real-time translations and real-time captioning for various languages. A.I.assisted ASL translations (as well as real-time captioning) will also be available.
Physician shortages and burnout are on the rise â€” and technology can play a role in solving these issues. Soon, physicians will be able to take advantage of AI-assisted note-taking and automatic charting and coding. It's a simple yet effective way to give time back to physicians so they can do what they do best â€” take care of their patients.
The future of telemedicine continues to improve the clinical experience even after the virtual visit. Here's how.
Despite fintech advancements across various sectors, 75% of physicians still primarily use paper and manual processes for collections. But with the future of telemedicine, a faster revenue cycle is possible.
Telemedicine apps like Mend can collect payment automatically post-visit. First, the system will check the patient's responsibility in a Payment Management System. Once it's determined, it will immediately send a payment request or charge a card on file. This process will save time for your care team and allow for the directing of their skills elsewhere.
With Mend, you don't have to travel too far into the future to enjoy many of the core benefits of telemedicine â€” they're already here. To explore everything Mend has to offer and see what more is on the horizon, schedule a demo today with our experts. We're ready to help.
Are your patients tired of arriving early for medical appointments? Do they spend half an hour filling out forms about their history? These factors can lead to missed appointments and lower revenue. Digital patient intake forms offer an ideal solution because they improve patients' visits.
Here are five ways digital forms can help confirm appointments and improve attendance.
When patients book visits online, they can choose the best date and time. This results in:
When patients complete their forms online, they become more involved in their care and will keep the appointment.
Using digital patient intake forms makes booking visits easier for the patient because:
A busy waiting room is stressful for providers and patients. It can lead to patients skipping their appointments. Digital patient intake forms reduce the time patients spend waiting by:
For many patients, attending an in-person doctor's visit is worrying. Using digital forms provides a better patient experience because:
During the COVID-19 pandemic, telehealth and other types of virtual visits became common. Digital patient intake forms boost the use of telehealth by:
These factors all help to increase income and profits for the provider. Meanwhile, the patients have a better experience.
When you provide digital forms for patients, you enable them to be better organized. You're also helping them get used to using computers. You have to do less work, and your record-keeping gets better. Your office benefits from getting the info faster and easier.
What is a medical practice's worst nightmare? A full appointment book with an empty waiting room. The best way to avoid this scenario is to allow patients to book and cancel their own appointments online.
Here's a scary fact; one in four scheduled medical visits end up as no-shows. Missed visits don't just damage patient health. They lead to lost revenue.
The solution to this is to do what other industries do. Allow patients to schedule their appointments. Whether it's booking flights or making dinner plans, customers prefer turning to their personal smartphones to take charge.
Customers enjoy the ease and speed of self-scheduling. Better yet, they do not have to navigate telephone menus or become frustrated by dropped calls.
Health systems would do well to follow the lead of every business that provides customer service. Make self-scheduling of appointments an industry standard. The task is not as challenging as it may sound.
Years ago, if you asked office managers how they reduced no-shows, the answer was the same. Overbook and send telephone reminders. This creates chaotic provider schedules. And telephone patient reminders are time-consuming. These strategies are ineffective and leave patients unhappy.
The best way for health teams to increase the number of visits is simple. Put patients in charge of scheduling their own appointments. Patient self-scheduling can lead to:
Before the internet, you had to phone several airlines to get the best price to book a flight. Or hire a travel agent. The process was tedious, time-consuming, and frustrating. It often left you wondering if you had made the best choice. Now, travelers routinely book their flights with ease. No one would want to go back to the old way of doing things.
Until recently, most health care teams relied on an archaic approach to scheduling appointments. Phone calls to book an appointment were often the first contact patients had with a practice. Long hold times and dropped calls hurt first impressions. Patients were frustrated and left with a feeling of helplessness. Is it any wonder they resisted calling back to reschedule or cancel?
Patient self-scheduling eliminates the qualms of booking. It is faster and more convenient. It empowers patients to take a more active part in their health choices. By offering more options in a visual format, online scheduling helps patients make better choices. But patient self-scheduling software can do a whole lot more for your team.
Long wait times harm patient satisfaction. Even worse, delays in health services lead to poor outcomes. That is why the Institute of Medicine listed timeliness as one of the six aims of healthcare quality. Waiting does not just take an emotional toll on the patient as well as the provider; it can result in medical harm.
Prompt communication between patients and providers is crucial in managing chronic diseases. It is important for the diagnosis and treatment of acute illnesses. Patient self-scheduling is an effective way to ensure quick access to care. Timely treatment reduces risks of adverse events caused by delays and barriers to care.
Health teams rely on technology to improve efficiency and maximize revenue. Patient self-scheduling is an essential part of any software package.
It boosts patient volume by:
It improves the quality of care by:
It improves office workflow by
It improves patient satisfaction by:
It improves a company's bottom line by:
Mend provides all the essential features of a self-scheduling system.
Mend is a telehealth and patient engagement platform that helps practices care for more patients. Mend provides a full-service portal that helps practices plan an entire patient journey. Patient self-scheduling tracks this process from booking to post-visit contact. Self-scheduling with Mend reduces no-shows. 70% of Mend Enterprise teams average single-digit no-shows. Some achieve rates as low as 2%.
Mend includes a unique feature: an Attendance Predictor. It is an AI machine learning tool that allows you to predict no-shows and cancellations with an accuracy of up to 99%.
The Mend self-scheduling journey looks like this:
Post-visit care includes:
Using a single platform ties self-scheduling to Telehealth, and provider access to EHR. And third-party payments are processed in a 100% secure and HIPAA compliant environment.
The best patient self-scheduling systems integrate seamlessly with Patient Management Systems. Booking a visit should tie in seamlessly with telehealth, billing, boosting a practice's online presence, and other administrative tasks.
Many industries have been much quicker than the health care sector at adopting user-friendly customer portals. The self-service approach is proven to engage customers. It also provides timely service for companies with limited resources. Outside of healthcare, self-scheduling is an industry standard.
Barriers to adopting patient self-scheduling can be addressed by:
The transition to a patient self-scheduling system is best accomplished by keeping staff well-informed and allowing them to provide feedback and input throughout the process. Reasons for reluctance to change must be understood and addressed in a sensitive manner. Once the benefits of self-scheduling are understood, staff become invariably receptive to changing their old workflows.
More than ever, health systems face many pressures. The challenge is to provide compassionate care and enhance satisfaction while maximizing the bottom line. Accessibility and equity are keys to quality care. Health care companies must learn to function with the speed of e-commerce sites.
Patient self-scheduling is a crucial piece of a complete patient engagement portal. An integrated software solution such as Mend provides an edge. Allowing patients to book their appointments can lead to better timeliness of care and improved health outcomes. And it improves the efficiency of other administrative hassles. With the metrics Mend offers, you can see your business grow in real-time.
Schedule a demo to see how Mend can boost your team's performance.
Practices like yours have always focused on providing quality medical care. But in today's telehealth market, it’s crucial to also focus on how to improve patient satisfaction in telemedicine.
Virtual medical and mental health professionals are prioritizing patient satisfaction with Telemedicine more than ever before. A high satisfaction rating can drive more patients to your practice. And that means a more attractive bottom line.
But how do you improve patient satisfaction in Telemedicine? It may seem like an impossible task, especially since every patient's ideal medical experience varies.
When it comes to patient satisfaction in telehealth, you need to focus on making the entire experience enjoyable. Your patients should feel comfortable, welcome, safe, and valued. From first contact to ending each successful Telemedicine visit, the process must be smooth and easy.
Lucky for you, Mend does all that and more.
The idea of patient satisfaction is relative to each individual. But here at Mend, we have our own definition. And we hold ourselves to high standards.
We define patient satisfaction as the measure of how well a patient perceives the level of care they receive from you.
There is a debate about the connection between the patient experience and health outcomes.
An article in the New England Journal of Medicine article suggests that patient satisfaction indicates the quality of care received. Regulatory agencies have also confirmed the connection. This is due to their reporting requirements for reimbursement.
Although Telehealth has been around for a while, patients may be reluctant to use it. The rise of Telemedicine forced many patients' hands on the matter thanks to the pandemic. But that doesn't mean there aren't parts of Telemedicine that intimidate patients.
When patients visit you in your in-person office, it's a private, intimate meeting. But some patients may not feel as secure talking about personal health concerns over the worldwide web.
Many patients don't understand the added security added to HIPAA-compliant Telehealth programs. Educating your patients and calming their fears on the matter will make them more open to the idea.
When considering how to improve patient satisfaction in Telemedicine, ensuring your patients feel safe goes a long way. They're more likely to be satisfied with their Telehealth visits if they do.
Technology is supposed to make our lives easier. But we all know sometimes that isn't the case. Especially when you have to learn how to work with something new.
Connection and login issues, confusing downloads, and too many buttons to push are common patient complaints in Telemedicine. This is a significant source of reluctance regarding patients' willingness to use Telehealth.
It's also a chance for your practice to shine. Using an innovative, easy-to-use Telehealth platform like Mend, you'll gain many points with your patients.
Many patients worry the quality level of care they'll receive through Telemedicine isn't as good as in-person visits. A fear of missed physical symptoms when not in your physical office is a common concern.
The pandemic brought about the necessity of ensuring quality telehealth programs. Because of this, Telemedicine has come a long way. Especially here at Mend.
A 2021 survey revealed that eight out of ten adults using Telemedicine had their initial medical concerns resolved. Therefore, it's easy to conclude that Telehealth is effective. When you can deliver effective treatment using our state-of-the-art platform, you're sure to improve patient satisfaction with Telemedicine.
Improving Telehealth satisfaction with your patients starts with creating a comfortable environment and positive experience. Of course, providing excellent medical care leads to satisfied patients.
But don't underestimate the importance of customer service. Even if your patients get excellent care, they still may report low satisfaction. If they have a negative experience with the Telehealth program or staff members, that impacts satisfaction.
Here are five valuable ways to achieve a 5-star patient satisfaction rating. All of which Mend accomplishes.
One critical aspect of ensuring high satisfaction among patient levels is to maintain stellar communication. You may think this requires you and your staff to waste valuable time on the phone or computer.
That may have been true in the past. But when you integrate our innovative, one-of-a-kind patient engagement platform into your practice, you'll actually save time.
Our Attendance Predictor is the industry's first-ever artificial intelligence machine learning algorithm. It integrates into your EHR or PMS to predict patient no-shows with up to a 99% accuracy!
Mend's innovative system sends the right number of appointment reminders via the proper preferred channels. So you'll spend less time communicating about appointments and more time meeting with them about their medical needs.
Solid communication leads to improved patient satisfaction.
When putting strategies into practice to improve patient satisfaction with Telemedicine, it's crucial to replace outdated systems. Patient engagement platforms like Mend help you streamline your practice's business operations and improve patient outcomes.
Implementing Telemedicine means you can't run your practice the way you always have. Simply adding a video visit option isn't enough.
Your patients deserve more.
They deserve advanced Telemedicine that provides positive patient outcomes and streamlines your practice. Show your patients how to get high-quality care using a state-of-the-art patient engagement platform like Mend.
You may have heard of virtual waiting rooms used in Telemedicine. But you've never seen a virtual waiting room like ours.
Mend's Enhanced Virtual Waiting Room Experience has resulted in a 23% lift in patient satisfaction.
Why? Because it makes the whole Telehealth experience more comfortable, enjoyable, and efficient. Your patients won't spend their time in a dull virtual waiting room. They won't have to wonder if they're even in the right place.
The Enhanced Virtual Waiting Room feature allows you to create custom-branded virtual waiting room experiences for your patients. Rather than staring at a blank screen, they'll engage with a Netflix-like library of curated, specialty-specific Mend Media, including:
Another valuable feature of our EVWR is the live support. In times past, you might've had to play the technical support role and be your patient's doctor. But in our EVWR, that's not the case. With Mend, you get:
In our EVWR, they'll make use of their valuable time, learning about your practice and procedures. This allows for a more engaging patient experience. Virtual wait times can last up to 20 minutes. So passing the time efficiently and enjoyably will improve the patient experience.
Your patients don't want to jump through hoops to schedule or reschedule appointments. They don't want to log in to several locations or click through pages. Integrate with a sophisticated patient engagement platform like Mend, and your patients won't have to worry.
Our program grants your patients scheduling access 24/7/365. And it's all done at the click of a button.
One of the biggest deterrents for patients' desire to use Telemedicine is that it's difficult and frustrating to use.
We understand that.
That's why we created Mend to streamline the process not only for you but also for your clients. You don't have to install a million different things, and neither do your patients.
On a tablet or smartphone, it's an app. On a computer, it's a website portal. That's it.
Our platform also provides digital intake forms to your patients. That means no more printing out forms and keeping track of them. Once they're filled out in Mend, they integrate into your practice's computer system.
You have options when it comes to offering Telemedicine to your patients. But if you want to improve patient satisfaction, you have to set yourself apart from the rest.
And that's just what we did at Mend.
We set out to create the best high-tech, high-touch digital patient engagement solutions. Our goal is to streamline your operations and improve patient outcomes.
And we did it.
Your patients deserve a Telehealth experience that is
Don't wait to implement the best patient engagement program into your practice. Contact us for a free demonstration to learn more about our incredible EVWR and innovative platform. You have nothing to lose.
Are you wondering which telehealth KPIs you should be using to measure the success of your telehealth program? Does your telehealth program check all of the boxes, or was it a temporary fix during the COVID-19 pandemic? These are great questions every CIO or provider should be asking.
Because encounters happen virtually, telehealth programs can offer a wealth of data. Whether you're considering implementing telehealth or switching from one service to another, it's essential to know and understand telehealth KPIs. This way, you can leverage the data to benefit your patients and practice.
There are six important indicators to consider with any telehealth program. These include:
Let's further explore each of the telehealth KPIs now.
The number one reason providers implement telehealth in their practice is to increase productivity. This occurs by decreasing the rate of no-shows or last-minute cancellations. The average no-show rate across the globe is 23%. For the average 10-provider practice, that's an annual loss of $857,808.
The ability to track this key performance indicators for telehealth over time can increase patient attendance rates and help unprofitable organizations become profitable.
Mend can also help predict which patients are at high risk for a no-show or cancellation. The artificially intelligent (AI) algorithm first predicts when a patient may not show. Then, the system automatically sends an appointment reminder sequence that encourages them to confirm or reschedule. When you enable Mend telehealth in your practice, the no-show rate is in the single digits.
Another important telehealth KPI to assess is the virtual patient wait time. By connecting virtually, patients already save time on commutes, which is a plus for telehealth. Yet long wait times can hurt patient satisfaction, whether in-person or virtual.
That's why it's important to keep the wait time as low as possible. Automated patient intake forms via telehealth platform integration can help this process. With Mend, you can use templated intake forms. Or, you can custom design your own to replicate any workflow. Forms can then be sent manually or automatically to patients triggered by appointment types. This technology will allow the patient to complete the form ahead of the appointment or contact their providers' office with questions. Completing the forms ahead of the appointment in a secure HIPAA compliant format significantly decreases the wait time prior to connecting with a physician.
Patient satisfaction is one of the most important telehealth KPIs for measuring the success of any program. Yet some lists of telehealth KPIs often overlook this element. If a patient doesn't have a satisfactory experience, they are less likely to return to that provider.
With increasing demands on providers, periods of waiting are unavoidable entirely. This leaves the question of how telehealth programs can help make the most of this time. Some telehealth platforms, like Mend, offer content while the patient is waiting. However, Mend is the only telehealth platform to offer a robust, enhanced waiting room experience. Designed with a Netflix-like interface, patients can choose video content to engage with while they wait. This may include informational videos or custom content about a provider or organization.
Some vital benchmarks for patient satisfaction include ease of use, low waiting times and instant technical support. The provider's ability to provide information clearly over the virtual platform is also an important consideration. When implementing any telehealth program, closely monitoring this KPI will indicate the success of the overall clinical delivery. Patient demos can also help get patients on board for virtual care and improve success rates.
Of the six telehealth KPIs, successful encounters are the most challenging metric to measure success of telemedicine program. That's because it can be difficult for some telehealth platforms to analyze if a visit was accurately coded and then submitted for billing.
To solve this, Mend uses an integration to help aggregate data within a provider office or across an organization. Mend integrates with 81 EHRs to pull pertinent data. This may include if a provider has been connected for at least 2 minutes for a virtual appointment or if the appointment was marked as checked out. If one or both of these elements occur, there is a high probability of a successful encounter.
The number one concern for any telehealth program is connectivity. If providers can't connect with their patients, delivering virtual care can be challenging or impossible. Closely examining this telehealth KPI on both the patient and provider sides can help improve overall outcomes.
With some platforms, it's possible to assess which patients may have a poor internet connection. Mend, for example, will help develop processes to connect these patients when connectivity issues are identified ahead of the scheduled appointment. In other instances, telehealth kiosks can be made available.
On the provider side, poor upload speed can affect the telehealth quality metrics of all the virtual visits. Mend can work together with an organization's IT department to identify any staff member averaging under 100 Kbps. User and appointment average bitrate reports are also available for monitoring and assessing ongoing connection quality.
As with any software investment, you want to ensure that the application is utilized. Provider adoption is the final of the six telehealth KPIs to consider when implementing a telehealth program.
Many platforms can easily track this telehealth performance metric. Yet the rate of adoption will vary from organization to organization and provider to provider. For example, behavioral health physicians may implement telehealth services in their day-to-day practice. Physical therapists, on the other hand, may occasionally utilize the service.
Organizations may also choose to purchase an Enterprise software license with a platform like Mend. In this case, any provider can access it whenever they need it. When this happens, Mend telemedicine performance metrics will also measure the success of provider adoption when the software goes live.
While digital options were already increasing, the COVID-19 pandemic was a catalyst for the implementation of telehealth. In fact, 97% of primary care providers turned to virtual practices over the course of 2020. This was a crucial step in the continuity of patient care.
If you implemented telehealth software in your organization during the pandemic, you might now be wondering if it does everything you need it to do. Measuring telehealth KPIs is one way to gauge the success of a program.
At Mend, we've helped over 4,600,000 patients and growing, so we know how to help you connect with your patients from virtually anywhere. We work closely with our clients to monitor telehealth KPIs to ensure the success and effectiveness of our program. To explore everything Mend has to offer, schedule a demo today with our experts to learn more.
A great telehealth program is true to the core values of the healing arts. Since ancient times, therapies have sought to combine empathy, knowledge, and tools at hand to ease the suffering of others. The rise of computing has brought video meetings from the boardroom to the living room. With telehealth programs, health systems have a unique opportunity to make quality remote medical care accessible to all.
What are the benefits of telehealth?
A well-run telehealth program touches every sphere of a health system. Patients enjoy easier access to care, better clinical outcomes, and more satisfaction. Staff benefits from streamlined workflows and the ability to work from outside their offices. On the business end, telehealth programs reduce costs, eliminate free care, and create new revenue streams.
How do you set up a profitable telehealth program?
Managers need not tread new ground. By following a step-wise approach, health systems can design a telehealth program that meets their team's needs. A crucial step is to partner with an experienced software provider that can help your team reach its goals.
A 2017 article published in the New England Journal of Medicine identified five key drivers for the growth of telehealth:
Drivers of telehealth program growth:
1. The rise of consumer goods such as wearable sensors and wireless monitors.
2. Advances in EHR and clinical decision support systems that can â€œtalk toâ€ telehealth service platforms. This integration boosts efficiency, eases documentation, and reduces the risk of error.
3. Projected shortages in the health-profession workforce. Health systems may face growing staffing shortfalls already seen in rural and under-served urban areas.
4. Payment changes with a shift toward value-based reimbursement. This trend favors providers using lower-cost settings outside of hospitals and clinics.
5. Growth of patient-driven health care. Patients expect better access to their providers, more convenience, and high-quality care.
In 2016, the Journal of General Internal Medicine published an eye-opening satisfaction survey. More than 1,700 patients who had at least one telehealth encounter responded. The results were clear.
These eye-opening levels of patient satisfaction cannot be pinned on the brief thrill of using a fancy new gadget. Later studies have confirmed high levels of satisfaction across multiple specialties. A 2021 survey found specific predictors of patient satisfaction with telehealth programs goes beyond trust in the medical provider.
Predictors of satisfaction with telehealth sessions were:
So, you want to offer a telehealth program as part of your health system's aims. Perhaps, you have an urgent need. But your experience with rolling out electronic health records or with an initial, rushed attempt at providing telehealth reminds you that proper planning is crucial.
What should a telehealth program do for your team? Here are some of the most often cited goals:
For a smooth roll-out of a telehealth program, health systems can follow a roadmap. One toolkit, created by the California Telehealth Resource Center, uses a sequence of seven steps spanning three phases:
Managers can plan each step by answering a few key questions.
STEP 1: Assess the needs of your organization.
STEP 2: Define the program's model.
STEP 3: Document the business case.
STEP 4: Design the program and develop a technology plan.
STEP 5: Plan how you will monitor performance.
STEP 6: Implement the telehealth program.
STEP 7: Monitor and execute quality improvement.
A great telehealth platform improves the services your team already offers. It can also add extra features that streamline workflows and enhance patients' experience.
Here's a comprehensive list of features integrated into a full-service telehealth platform:
The planning and rolling out of a successful telehealth program may seem like a daunting task. The most important step may be to partner with an experienced provider such as Mend. We have a proven track record of designing customized platforms for even the largest health systems. Let us show you how partnering with Mend can increase the profitability of your telehealth program.
Contact a customer support specialist at Mend today. Let us show you how we can help your team enhance access to care, see more patients, increase patient satisfaction, improve staff morale, and boost your company's bottom line.
When considering the future of telehealth, it helps to look backward. 2021 had a lot to teach us about where telehealth is going. Most importantly, we learned that telemedicine wasn't just a pandemic trend, as more and more people continued to see their healthcare providers virtually even as in-person offices opened up.
So what does the future of telehealth look like? Virtual doctor appointments will continue to be a major player in the healthcare industry, as 79% of patients were very satisfied with the care they received during their last visit. We're also likely to see new advancements in technology and software that help digitize the patient experience from start to finish.
Here are the top seven ways we think 2021 will predict how the future of telehealth will look going forward.
Telehealth saw a huge surge in popularity because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and it looks like that popularity isn't going anywhere. Patients, providers, and hospitals all seem to be on the same page about the future of telehealth.
â€¢ 73% of patients will keep using telehealth services in the future.
â€¢ 68% of physicians were personally motivated to increase their use of telehealth.
â€¢ 90% of hospitals believe that the rise of telehealth will continue, even as the pandemic ebbs.
â€¢ Even 71% of seniors, who typically have a harder time adopting new technologies, noted that they were likely to use telehealth again in the future.
Now that they've gotten a taste of what telehealth has to offer, patients will be expecting improved security. They'll want to know that their personally identifiable information isn't available for anyone to access. That includes making sure their intake forms, appointment scheduling, and video visits are secure.
â€¢ 73% of patients value having a private and secure connection over a connection that's convenient and easy to access.
â€¢ Mend, a comprehensive patient-engagement platform, offers a HIPAA-compliant telehealth solution to give your patients peace of mind.
â€¢ If patients, staff, or providers are having trouble, it takes just 15-20 seconds to connect to a Mend support specialist.
From start to finish, telehealth offers the opportunity to completely virtualize a patient's journey. With a hybrid software suite, such as Mend, providers can connect with patients for scheduling, appointment reminders, online forms and even the visit itself â€” all through one platform. The future of telehealth will be greatly dependent on applications that can do it all in one neat package so that patients can get the help they need at any stage of their care.
â€¢ Telehealth visits can be used for medication management, follow-ups, lab results, chronic care management, therapy, pre- and post-op care, and much more.
â€¢ In 2022, the U.S. Centers for Mediate & Medicaid Service (CMS) has 272 separate billable telehealth services. Having telehealth software that accurately categorizes and bills for these services is crucial for revenue.
â€¢ 63% of patients are willing to use messages to communicate with their healthcare provider, which can be a good way to move the patient along from diagnosis to treatment to follow-up.
Because so much of the healthcare landscape is transforming into a digital experience, lawmakers will likely need to create more regulations to protect patient privacy. During the pandemic, most states along with the CMS relaxed laws that previously required clinicians to hold a valid license in the state where their patient lives.
â€¢ As of January 2022, most of these waivers have expired, with only 23 states still offering out-of-state physicians to provide telehealth.
â€¢ 27 states and Washington, D.C., never had a waiver or have ended their temporary pause on regulations.
â€¢ However, 19 states have long-term or permanent policies that allow out-of-state telehealth practice.
â€¢ To stay legal, providers will need to make sure the tools they're using â€” such as Mend â€” are HIPAA and HITECH compliant.
Despite the initial costs of adopting a telehealth setup, in the long run, these systems will likely continue to be cheaper for both patients and providers. Once the costs of integrating new software and training employees are covered, the cost to maintain a virtual setup is infinitely cheaper than renting an office space and hiring office staff.
â€¢ More than one-third of telehealth patients saw an online-only provider, which means online providers are stealing revenue from traditional primary care models.
â€¢ Telehealth appointments with virtual waiting rooms can increase customer satisfaction by 23%, increasing how often these patients engage with the practice and thereby increasing revenue.
About 40% of Americans suffer from a chronic health condition. While many of these conditions could be treated with lifestyle modifications, many patients don't follow through with their treatment or keep up with their scheduled doctor appointments. Telehealth could be a good way to improve treatment adherence and improve patient quality of life.
â€¢ 52% of patients said they have seen their doctor more frequently with telehealth, meaning patients with chronic conditions could be more engaged.
â€¢ 88% of Americans want to continue using telehealth for non-urgent consultations, which can hopefully lead to more check-ins about treatment adherence.
One amazing benefit of telehealth is the ability to integrate electronic health records (EHRs) no matter the platform. This can lead to more streamlined and focused care, as providers can access the patient's entire medical history with just a few clicks instead of flipping through paper files.
â€¢ Mend, in particular, offers full API coverage that allows engineers to build their own applications on top of its platform, allowing integration for hundreds of EHR vendors.
â€¢ One study found that EHRs could reduce adverse drug events by 52%, meaning telehealth could further help to prevent these reactions.
Are you ready to be a part of the future of telehealth? If so, you're going to need a telemedicine platform to help your practice or facility stand out in a sea of virtual offerings. When you choose Mend, you'll get help with everything patient engagement in one simple solution. Mend follows the patient throughout their entire journey by providing easy scheduling, appointment reminders, virtual waiting rooms, and more. And, with Mend's AI backed Attendance Predictor, you can significantly reduce your no-show rates to help you see more patients.
Telehealth is here. Make sure you don't get left behind.
You provide excellent medical care and deliver a high-quality patient experience. Your practice adapted and changed how you operate amid a worldwide pandemic. But you lost revenue, and patients fell behind on their regular care routines. So what are some creative ways to increase patient volume using telehealth programs?
You have to do more than simply promise quality virtual medical care. Today, patients need to feel your telehealth program is:
â€¢ Easy to use
With the rise of telehealth programs, there are several options to choose from. Whether you are treating physical or mental health concerns, selecting the right one can be an overwhelming task.
But not all are created equal.
When it comes to how to increase patient volume in a medical office you have to offer more than an online office. You need to provide a five-star telehealth experience. A predicted 73% of users will continue to use telemedicine in the future. So that five-star experience extends the success of your practice for years to come.
Here are eight creative ways to increase patient volume and satisfaction using telehealth programs.
When patients don't show up to their appointments, your bottom line suffers. You also miss out on the opportunity to treat another patient. You're not alone. The average no-show rate around the world is an astounding 23%. That's over $857K in lost revenue for a 10-provider practice!
That's a big financial hit and a lot of empty appointment space.
With the right technologically advanced telehealth program, you can significantly reduce no-show rates. When choosing a telemedicine program, you want to make sure it includes invaluable features to minimize no-show patients.
Some of these features include:
â€¢ Automated email, text, and voice appointment reminders
â€¢ Easy patient self-scheduling 24/7/365
â€¢ Convenient patient-led appointment changes and cancellations
â€¢ Automatically-sent digital paperwork
â€¢ Valuable EHR and PMS integration
â€¢ Timely calendar invites
If getting all of the above telehealth program features sounds too good to be true, think again. Mend provides all of these and more.
Look for Creative Ways to Increase Patient Volume with Bonus No-Show Reduction Features
You want to offer a user experience that transcends all others. So you need a telehealth program that provides the most advanced no-show reduction features.
Mend is the only telemedicine program on the market that uses groundbreaking AI to predict no-shows. Our machine learning algorithm and patient engagement tools can predict no-shows and cancellations and they can do so with up to 99% accuracy!
Another amazing feature of our telehealth program is our AI. You don't have to customize the algorithm to your practice or patients. Our program's AI does the work for you. Once it detects a high no-show rating, it sends alternate reminders to patients, encouraging an appointment confirmation. All that's left for you to do is use the presented information to ensure you fill your schedule.
With data like that, there's no doubt your no-show and cancellation rate will decrease. It's almost a given that you'll increase patient volume with our unparalleled AI.
Not all of your patients are technologically savvy. That means not all of them will be excited about the idea of telemedicine.
But if you told your existing and prospective patients that they don't have to jump through hoops to:
â€¢ Schedule an appointment
â€¢ Pay a bill
â€¢ Fill out paperwork
You'll likely get them intrigued.
Mend's easy-to-use program seamlessly integrates into your website. Your patients can click the scheduling link and choose a date and time that works best for them. And if they need to reschedule? No problem. They can do that in a matter of minutes too.
Fact is, people are busy. Many patients think about scheduling an appointment after hours, only to forget in the morning. With Mend, your patients can schedule, reschedule, or cancel their appointments 24/7/365.
And convenient scheduling equals increased patient volume.
If there's one benefit that comes to mind when thinking about telemedicine, it's convenience. Never before has meeting with your doctor or therapist been easier. The past couple of years has brought with it plenty of negatives. But one positive Plato would agree with is:
â€œNecessity is the mother of invention.â€
Of course, telehealth programs weren't just invented. But thanks to the world's circumstances, practices like yours were forced to think of creative ways to increase patient volume.
Telemedicine can reach a more significant number of patients from practically anywhere. But we all know internet connections can be fickle. So there may be several existing and prospective patients reluctant to use it.
But Mend is differentâ€”our telehealth works when others don't.
Mend picks up the slack. When there isn't enough bandwidth connectivity available to meet with a doctor using video and audio, providers can quickly call the patient's mobile or landline using a dialer feature.
That means you can reach more patients in more places. (48% less bandwidth needed than Zoom!)
But that's not the only way Mend extends your reach.
Our telehealth program ensures your digital forms will collect both phone numbers and email addresses from all patients. Extend your reach and reduce no-shows by sending reminders and notifications by email, text, and voice message.
Making fewer patients â€œunreachableâ€ equals increased patient volume.
Making a good first impression is essential in any business. When it comes to how to increase patient volume in a medical practice there is no exception. Filling out intake forms can be a tedious, time-consuming, and annoying process for your patients. And keeping tabs on that paperwork can be an inefficient and irritating waste of time for your staff.
Your patients don't want to have to print out PDFs and hand-write their information. They don't want to have to remember to bring it to their appointment. It's a hassle. The proof is in the numbers:
â€¢ 5% of patients return intake forms via mail
â€¢ 5-14% of patients engage with patient portals
â€¢ 9% of patients answer their phones
When it comes to how to increase patient volume you need to streamline your intake process. (Not to mention, decrease patient and staff burden.)
That's where Mend comes in.
Our comprehensive telehealth program doesn't include a bunch of PDFs. Instead, Mend uses your exact interactive intake forms patients can fill out on any device. And based on the type of appointment, our platform knows the proper forms to send via text or email.
In days past, the chances of getting intake paperwork returned quickly, or even at all, was a grim prospect. But over Mend's last 1,000,000 digital forms:
â€¢ 86% were completed
â€¢ 68% came back within one hour
â€¢ 75% came back within one day
Providing a seamless intake experience allows you to:
â€¢ Schedule more patients with the time you save
â€¢ Improve workflow
â€¢ Ease the burden on the administrative team
â€¢ Increase patient satisfaction
It's likely that you'll always have holes in your appointment calendar. If you could accept virtual walk-ins, wouldn't that mean you could increase patient volume? Of course, it does.
Patients' illnesses and health concerns don't always happen on a convenient schedule. Years ago, they might have tried to walk into your office to see if there were any openings. But with Mend, your patients can see if there is any same-day availability at the touch of a button via Mend's Waiting Room Links feature.
That makes filling in unused appointment time convenient for your patients and profitable for your practice.
Waiting rooms have a history of being sterile, unwelcoming, and uncomfortable. The fluorescent lighting, outdated magazines, and various sick individuals make it that way.
Virtual waiting rooms aren't much better. You sit there in your chair waiting for your doctor, wondering when and if they'll ever show.
But what if you could create a more inviting virtual waiting room experience for your patients? A place where they could browse through videos and articles Netflix-style, enjoying the experience rather than simply waiting.
That's what your patients experience with Mend.
In 2021, Mend helped facilitate over 400,000 virtual visits per month. Our providers' patients collectively spent 18 years in our enhanced virtual waiting rooms. But their time with Mend wasn't wasted.
Mend patients spend an average of 14 minutes in the enhanced virtual waiting room. Rather than providing a blank screen, we inform, educate, and entertain them with custom curated videos and content. This has led to a 23% increase in patient satisfaction. And satisfied patients increase patient volume by telling others.
Your patients deserve more than non-HIPAA-compliant video conferencing platforms like Skype and FaceTime. These work just fine for chatting with friends and family. But when talking about mental and physical health issues, that's another story.
Your telehealth program must be HIPAA compliant to be safe, secure, and private. Other video conferencing platforms may provide high encryption levels. But they don't provide the necessary security that comes with a Business Associates Agreement (BAA).
Mend not only provides convenient, highly-accessible virtual medical care, it's also 100% confidential, secure, and HIPAA compliant.
And that's something that'll speak to all of your current and potential patients.
Staff workflow is crucial to delivering seamless, efficient care to your patients. And efficient care can help you increase patient volume. Other telehealth programs force you to click around to several different windows during a telemedicine visit. Between the EHR, PMS, EMR, and video screen, there can be a lot of confusion and wasted time.
But with Mend, your staff can provide efficient, single-screen visits. They can stay in the EHR and master schedule while meeting with patients. Our desktop notifications alert providers of important activities whether they are logged in or not.
Mend notifies you when a patient:
â€¢ Logs on for a scheduled visit
â€¢ Logs on for an on-demand visit
â€¢ Completes a new form
â€¢ Requests an appointment
Our innovative telehealth program allows you to stay in your patient's chart. So you can review notes and labs during patient appointments. You'll stay picture-in-picture (PiP), so you'll never have to click around to find your patient.
Efficient telemedicine visits streamline your schedule, giving you more time to schedule additional patient visits. Mend integrates with hundreds of PMS, EMR, and EHR systems with full API coverage. So there is a good chance it can blend with your established system seamlessly.
And if you ever encounter an issue, help is available. Our instant technical support AI chatbot can help you on the spot.
The future of patient care lies in telemedicine. The necessity to change and adapt in a pandemic-stricken world has proven that. Patients have experienced the convenience and quality of medical care they can receive. They're more open to scheduling virtual physical and mental health visits.
Now is the time to make a five-star impression with Mend's fully-integrated solution to increasing patient volume.
A foolproof way to help more patients is to provide a telehealth experience that is:
â€¢ Easy to Use
With Mend, your patients' five-star telemedicine experience allows them to:
â€¢ Schedule and reschedule 24/7/365
â€¢ Maintain video and audio on low bandwidth connections
â€¢ Enjoy an enhanced waiting room experience
â€¢ Pay copays digitally
â€¢ Fill out and submit intake forms conveniently
â€¢ See walk-in appointment availability
â€¢ Maintain a safe, HIPAA-compliant doctor visit from just about anywhere
Providing an exceptional telemedicine experience for your patients is a powerful tool for business growth. News will spread. Don't underestimate the power of word-of-mouth marketing. People are always looking for positive reviews about doctors' visits.
When thinking about creative ways to increase patient volume, investing in the future of telemedicine is your best bet.
And the future of telemedicine is with Mend.
Innovation is the key to better health outcomes. Mend allows you to provide forward-thinking digital patient engagement solutions to do just that. Our mission is to revolutionize healthcare delivery so every patient can receive extraordinary care.
With Mend, you'll:
â€¢ Increase patient volume
â€¢ Streamline your practice
â€¢ Reduce no-show rates
â€¢ Lower overhead and inefficiencies
â€¢ Improve patient satisfaction
â€¢ Relieve front-desk bottlenecks
The benefits don't end there. Schedule a free demo to learn more about how our fully-integrated, turnkey telehealth program can benefit your practice. Our team of telehealth program specialists will walk you through how Mend works.
Your answer to increased patient volume is only a click away.
Privacy is one of the most important parts of a patient's healthcare experience. Disclosing protected health information (PHI) can cause serious harm to a patient's safety, personal life, and state of mind. Data breaches or mishandling can also put a practice at serious risk of legal and financial trouble. That is why it is essential to adopt a HIPAA compliant telehealth program when offering virtual care services.
Providers have an immense legal and ethical duty to safeguard PHI. Keeping PHI secure is the main goal of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). HIPAA protects patients by limiting who can access PHI, when they can access it, and how they use it. Under HIPAA, there can be steep penalties for breaches involving PHI. When it comes to telehealth, all HIPAA compliant entities in the healthcare industry must practice caution and discretion in how they handle patient data.
The healthcare industry faces more data breaches than any other sector. Studies show that health data breaches have affected over 250 million Americans since 2010. Healthcare is more digital than ever. That includes the storage of health records and care delivery. Likewise, there are more chances for breaches than ever, whether they are intentional or due to human error.
These risks are concerning, but what is the direct impact to healthcare providers when a breach occurs? HIPAA includes financial and criminal penalties for breaking the law's rules on privacy and security. For healthcare organizations (HCO), each violation could cost as much as $50,000 in fines. Individuals could face fines up to $250,000 and up to 10 years in prison. These penalties have the potential to reach millions of dollars in cases involving many people's PHI. Even if a breach is unintentional, the consequences can be severe. A provider must also consider downstream effects like damage to their reputation and loss of patient trust.
HIPAA is not the only federal law that informs the proper handling of PHI. Many rules are crucial for providers to consider when using digital tools to handle patient data. These laws are also important to HIPAA compliant telehealth programs, as they update protections for the digital age.
The Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) of 1998
COPPA sets rules for collecting data online on children under the age of 13. The law requires companies to inform parents or legal guardians on the use and sharing of children's personal information. The intent of COPPA was to protect young people amid the rise of e-commerce and targeted online marketing. However, HCO's must also comply with these rules when collecting and storing data on patients under 13 years old.
Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce (ESIGN) Act of 2000
The ESIGN Act set rules on collecting and confirming consent for electronic signatures. Telemedicine and HIPAA compliance permits collecting e-signatures in healthcare, but any process must comply with the ESIGN act. Of course, any method for storing e-signatures must also comply with HIPAA standard, just like any other PHI.
The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act of 2009
The HITECH act strengthened HIPAA for the digital age. The intent of the law is increasing protections for PHI stored electronically, or ePHI. The law includes financial incentives for adopting safe and efficient EHR systems to manage patient data. Providers can also face added penalties for breaking HIPAA rules when handling ePHI.
Congress amended HIPAA itself in 2013, expanding privacy and security rules to cover healthcare business associates. The 2013 amendment pertains to vendors whose software handles PHI, making these HIPAA guidelines on telemedicine very relevant.
Keeping up-to-date with all of these crucial laws can feel overwhelming. However, there are public resources to help understand what these rules mean for you. Government agencies provide a great deal of material on the laws they enforce. Medical journals and other publications also publish articles to help the healthcare industry understand the laws that govern it. Take a look at some of these sources to learn more:
The burden to protect PHI has only grown with the rise of web-accessible tools in healthcare. The same HIPAA rules apply to in-person healthcare and telehealth. With the challenge of cyberattacks growing, providers must look beyond their own conduct to promote security. They must also scrutinize how their software tools keep PHI secure.
Telehealth has become a very convenient method of care delivery for both patients and providers. However, this convenience can put PHI at risk if HCO's don't do their due diligence. Telehealth services rapidly expanded due to a dire need during the COVID-19 pandemic. This led to many providers choosing the fastest and simplest technology options. Video conferencing platforms like Zoom and Skype became popular for quickly starting a telehealth program.
However, standard video conferencing tools do not always include the security required with HIPAA compliance in telemedicine. The risks that come with a non-HIPAA compliant telehealth platform are high. Recent reports have revealed that Zoom will pay $85 million to settle a lawsuit for violating users' privacy. These breaches include actively sharing user data with other firms and allowing hackers to access meetings. For any user, this negligence is troubling. However, for healthcare providers and their patients, it is dangerous.
The Zoom lawsuit proves that providers must be exhaustive when building a HIPAA compliant telehealth program. Unsecured software can expose any practice or hospital to serious liability. Software vendors must also make privacy and security a top priority.
The Right Tools for High-Quality Telehealth
An encrypted video feed is a must to keep telehealth visits secure. However, that should not come at the expense of connection strength. Consider the bandwidth requirements of your software options. Encrypted video with a strong connection even at low bandwidths will provide both security and a positive user experience. With both high video quality and security, you can offer HIPAA compliant telehealth that is easy to use.
Providing Useful Instructions at a Distance
Even before a telehealth visit begins, providers can educate their patients to help make remote care run smoothly. The right telehealth software can help with notifications sent ahead of an appointment. Patient notifications should encourage pre-visit routines like preparing crucial information, testing connection speed, and securing their location. Instructions for connecting can make it easy for a patient to join their visit and keep their visit secure.
Providing an easy-to-understand user experience can also reduce security threats. Consider whether a platform requires patients to remember specific login data. Many patients have a dangerous habit of writing down usernames and passwords in unsecured locations. These credentials can be lost or stolen, creating vulnerabilities in your system. Verifying patient identities with a unique generated code for each visit reduces your dependence on their data privacy practices.
Some of these best practices may vary depending on the type of visit or the provider's clinical specialty. That is why HIPAA compliant telehealth software should include customizable methods to notify patients based on a provider's needs.
Secure the Provider and Patient Locations
Building a HIPAA compliant telehealth program goes beyond the technology itself. Providers must take their surroundings during a visit into account. Select a secure and quiet working location where only authorized individuals can see and hear the visit. Whether an office is in a commercial space or a home, it must be private.
Providers should separate themselves from staff, other patients, and anyone not essential to the visit. Sessions held in unfamiliar locations must be just as secure. If you cannot protect PHI in your current location, strongly consider whether you should reschedule a visit.
Likewise, the patient should also conduct their visit in a private location. Under HIPAA the patient is responsible for securing their own safe space for virtual treatment. Yet a provider can act as a valuable resource to help the patient protect their own privacy. A proactive approach to security can go a long way towards protecting patients and building trust. Here are some precautions that providers can take with patients when starting a telehealth visit:
These steps go beyond the requirements of HIPAA, but diligence is key to protecting your patients.
The software you choose should be an asset to building a HIPAA compliant telehealth program, not a liability. A platform should encrypt communication channels and secure stored data. Providers have a responsibility to scrutinize the entire care environment, both physical and digital, to keep PHI secure. Equipping your workspace and care team to prioritize security is an important piece of the puzzle. Choosing a software partner that values security creates even more protection for you and your patients.
If you want to be confident that your telehealth services protect you and your patients, consider Mend. Mend is a total telehealth and patient engagement software that never compromises on security with all HIPAA compliant features. Mend is also SOC 2 Type 2 based on HITRUST, NIST CSF, HITECH Act, E-Sign Act, COPPA, ADA WCAG 2.0, PCI, CAN-SPAM, TCPA, & 42 CFR Part 2 compliant. Take advantage of high-quality video visits, automatic patient reminders, live tech support for patients and providers. Offer HIPAA compliant telemedicine with Mend, and use our suite of tools to help more patients than ever.
Telemedicine providers are changing healthcare worldwide. More and more practices are adopting telemedicine. How can you start searching for the right solution? There are many top telemedicine software options to consider, making it challenging to narrow down your options. It is even more difficult to be sure which one best fits your practice. So let's look at some of the most important things to know when choosing the best telemedicine software for you.
Healthcare providers can use telemedicine to diagnose and treat patients. The key difference with traditional care is less of a need for in-person contact. Patients and healthcare providers can connect from almost anywhere with telemedicine software.
Virtual visits are one of the most common uses of telemedicine software. These visits can take place over phone, video, or online messaging. A virtual visit is often more convenient for patients when they do not need in-person attention. Some health conditions or urgent needs may even require remote care. Physicians can also write prescriptions and send their patients important files like test results online.
Providers often work together to deliver effective care. Care teams can use telemedicine software to connect in a secure way. Just as important, it can make working together more efficient. For example, some of the best telemedicine platforms allow providers to submit digital prescriptions.
Interest in telemedicine continues to grow. There are many ways to be successful with the right solution. Practices can simplify work, reduce costs, and increase access to care.
For patients, many factors can make it difficult to get in-person care:
Virtual visits are more flexible and convenient for patients. Remote visits can remove obstacles to care like distance or time constraints.
Telemedicine software for providers helps to increase efficiency and profitability. Flexible hours can mean fewer no-shows and canceled visits. Practices can acquire new patients who have more access to care, and reduce overhead costs and manual tasks.
Telemedicine can even help limit the spread of infectious diseases. We saw providers use this tactic in the fight against COVID-19. This will continue to help providers protect their patients and staff in the future.
Yet there are more and more telemedicine software options to choose from. So what do you need to consider to pick the best telemedicine software?
Always focus on how telemedicine will affect your practice. There are many points to consider. These three questions can point you in the right direction:
Telemedicine software is more than just remote healthcare visits. There are many tools that make up a platform. It must be easy to use for you and your patients. Make sure the features address your unique goals and challenges. A well-rounded offering will give your practice better options for how to make use of telemedicine.
Healthcare is often stressful for patients. Complex logins can make that worse. Joining a visit must be quick and easy. Look at what telemedicine software is supported by browsers, systems, and devices. Too many limitations can hurt patient access to care.
The time before a visit starts can be crucial. Patients need to be sure that they are in the right place when they log in. It is also important to make sure they stay engaged and avoid distractions for when the provider joins. Examine whether telemedicine software provides a welcoming virtual waiting space for patients. This can help make visits efficient and impactful, as well as reduce drop offs. For example, the Mend platform comes with an Enhanced Virtual Waiting Room experience. Patients can browse relevant health and wellness videos and articles before their visit. They also have direct access to live tech support if the need arises. How did this impact patient satisfaction? Patients who experience this virtual waiting room give their Mend visits an average rating of 4.94/5 stars.
Do sudden gaps appear in your schedule? No-shows are a big financial risk for practices. Ask how telemedicine software can help you lower your no-show rate. Automated reminders can keep patients up-to-date and reduce work for your staff. Patient self-scheduling is an easy and efficient way to book appointments. When patients are active in their care, both they and their providers benefit. Make sure that the software makes scheduling just as easy for you.
Providers need a solution that also makes their jobs simpler. Telemedicine software should deliver on this promise from the start. Software that is difficult or time-consuming to install may not be easy to work with either. Look for a solution that is easy to implement. Even if you need custom options, a vendor should work with you to make the startup as painless as possible.
Telemedicine should make day-to-day work easier for your staff. The software should be easy to navigate and understand. At its best, telemedicine software can save time and reduce staff burnout. This means your team stays focused on providing the best care.
Integrating telemedicine software with an EHR, EMR, or PMS can cut down on redundant data entry. Managing and reviewing patient charts is easier and faster when these systems work well together. How telemedicine software collects, stores, and shares data can have a large impact. Forms should be easy for patients to fill out while they wait for a virtual visit to start. Built-in payment capture can take yet another manual step out of the process.
Telemedicine software should always be secure. The risk of data breaches is a threat to patients and practices. The US government was not strict in enforcing HIPAA compliance for telemedicine during COVID-19. Yet it is unlikely that this will always be the case. Telemedicine software must protect patient privacy.
Telemedicine is about bringing patients and providers together. Clear video and sound are an important part of that. Make sure any software offers HD video and supports clear audio. All parties must understand each other during a virtual visit. Secure messaging can complement video and audio for a seamless experience.
It is important to know your telemedicine software budget. Vendors should also be transparent with you. Pricing and options should always be clear. Telemedicine must adjust to fit the needs and budget of different practices. The cost of telemedicine software depends on its features and functions.
Many vendors build solutions for single-provider practices all the way up to large health networks. Custom options can also help you find the right fit. For example, Mend offers multiple options to meet different needs:
|Mend One||~$50 pupm||Our Mend One solution offers core telemedicine features. HD video, secure messaging, live tech support, and more. No equipment or downloads necessary.|
|Mend Enterprise||Quoted||A custom solution for custom needs. Full-service implementation, payment capture, and custom workflows with the best telemedicine software. Live tech support responds in seconds to help you and your patients. No special equipment, downloads, or fees for maintenance upgrades.|
Telemedicine software costs and pricing structures vary with different vendors. Most telemedicine software options include a subscription fee. Some may charge to install software and train users. Any special equipment needs or custom software changes may come with added costs. Maintenance and upgrades may also have a price. Some telemedicine software providers also offer extra services like patient marketing.
Success depends on more than just a product. You need a lasting relationship with a telemedicine software vendor. After the initial setup, you should be able to rely on tools and support for your practice. The right vendor will want to help you grow with their product.
Learn as much as you can about a telemedicine software company's values. Review their mission statement and hear what real customers have to say. Make sure any vendor lives up to their stated values.
Always keep your eyes open to how telemedicine software vendors treat you. What is their response rate, and do they answer right away? Do they have a helpful and friendly attitude at every stage? Make sure their responses to your questions are transparent and that claims are never vague. Lastly, a quality telemedicine software vendor offers relevant material and knowledge for the providers and consumers.
IT problems can throw off appointment schedules and lead to a bad patient experience. Do your telemedicine options offer support for when these problems arise? Many telemedicine software platforms will offer support to providers, but not for patients. Make sure that both your staff and your patients can access help for technical issues. A built-in chat feature staffed by real people is one of the fastest ways to get help. Live technical support helps patients and providers stay connected for a remote visit. Fast responses are key to keeping your schedule on time.
Even the best telemedicine software should have strong tech support. Make sure to ask if technical support comes at any added cost. Also check whether or not they outsource support services. Your telemedicine software provider should offer consistent service from day one.
Mend is an experienced telemedicine software company. We transform digital health services so you can engage and connect with patients.
We invite you to see the proof with a free demo from our experts. You can also sign up to receive more insights on telemedicine by email.
The software features should meet your practice's needs. Make sure the price matches your budget. Also consider the level of service the company provides.
Monthly or annual subscription fees are often a main cost for telemedicine software. The best telemedicine equipment or training may come with added costs. Always make sure pricing is clear and not vague.
Many telemedicine rates are the same as in-person rates. Payers must list any difference in rates. Knowing the right billing codes can keep payments accurate.
Startup costs include software, training, and equipment. Processes like updating care protocols and legal review may also come at a cost. Some costs depend on the practice size.
Telehealth is more important now than ever. Below is an excerpt from Mend's latest eBook which discusses how practices of all sizes can easily integrate telehealth. If you would like to download the entire eBook, you can do so for free by going to The 2021 Guide to Fully Integrating Telehealth and Eliminating No-Shows.
As we adjust to the â€œnew normal,â€ we must reflect on our understanding of patient needs and challenges from pre-pandemic times, and apply them to the new barriers to care we have begun to encounter.
In 2018, across geographic regions and healthcare specialties, as many as 23 percent of scheduled appointments were not completed.
In order to address no-show rates, healthcare organizations must understand and address the reasons that patients don't present for scheduled appointments.
By identifying the most common barriers, clinics and practices can employ solutions that change the entry point to care and improve administrative processes to reach more patients.
According to a study by Todd Molfenter, strategies such as streamlining processes, reducing wait times, and introducing automated appointment reminders reduce no-show rates considerably.
Missed appointments can happen in any population, and the reasons vary widely. After examining demographics across the spectrum, Zivin, et al in the American Journal of Managed Care identified specific populations who are most likely to miss appointments.
â€œResearch demonstrates that â€˜no-show' patients are more likely to be younger, male, and unmarried.â€ Their study also identified young adults with children and those with less experience in mental health treatment to have a higher likelihood of no-shows.
While these populations may be more likely to miss an appointment, they are also most likely to be accessible via technology. These patients need a better way to access care, and a more comprehensive tool to help overcome psychological, motivational and/or physical
barriers. By working with enhanced tools that introduce engagement via technology, these populations are able to receive care and interact with their care teams in ways that are familiar and simple for them.
Access to technology can also be a barrier for some populations, and thus makes receiving care virtually challenging. Some social determinants of health could remain as barriers for vulnerable communities, such as digital literacy and access, lack of medical insurance and limited financial resources. Recent studies estimate that at least 1 in every 4 Americans may not have digital literacy skills or access to Internet-enabled digital devices to engage in video visits.
Improving access and affordability of healthcare is feasible through telehealth, but other advancements will also be required to reduce these inequities. As noted by Nouri et al., â€œNow that telemedicine is the default for delivery of primary care â€” and is likely to remain so for the near future â€” it is imperative that we proactively evaluate and address disparities in access to telemedicine to limit the already worsening health outcomes and health disparities.â€
In July 2020, local lawmakers from Baltimore, Philadelphia and Detroit introduced resolutions urging Comcast to improve broadband strength and expand public hotspot access swiftly and equitably in support of virtual learning for students across those communities. In June, a bipartisan coalition of United States Governors submitted a letter urging federal support for digital infrastructure developments, stating, â€œThis investment will unlock the potential of a new generation of technologies for healthcare advancement, ensure that school children across America have access to the best educational tools, foster new ways of doing business... and give states and communities the opportunities to capitalize on smart infrastructure deployment.â€ These efforts and similar public/private partnerships â€” prompted further by the COVID-19 pandemic â€” could dually benefit access to technology and internet connectivity critical for modern-day healthcare delivery.
Beyond post-covid apprehension about in-person meetings, behavioral and chronic illnesses often impair motivation, making it difficult for patients to follow through with available help. Patients who are struggling with anxiety, depression, bipolar disease, PTSD, etc. may not be motivated to leave the house, even if the end goal is the treatment that will help them overcome this. Further, the stigma associated with behavioral health treatment can be independently anxiety-inducing.
The right HIPAA compliant telehealth software can instantly connect patients with their providers in a secure video conference with just the tap of a link and date of birth.
Research shows that in some diagnoses and instances, treatment via telehealth is as effective or more effective than in-person care. By increasing diversity in the range of providers available, telehealth makes it easier to match patients with an appropriate specialist. Additionally, telehealth has been shown to bridge cultural and linguistic gaps.
On the top-rated platforms, telehealth visits consistently average single digit no-show rates without requiring the patient to download software to connect.
Ask vendors about their connectivity rates and find out if instant support is available if a patient or provider ever has trouble connecting. The right telehealth solution will ensure your staff and providers do not need to assume the role of a help desk...
Telehealth advocates aren't impressed with the lack of support for connected health services in the latest pandemic relief package.
While the $900 billion bill, passed by Congress and signed by President Donald Trump shortly before Christmas, does include funding for broadband expansion â€“ including the Federal Communications Commission's COVID-19 Telehealth Program â€“ and Medicare coverage for telemental health and telehealth at rural hospitals, it doesn't extend telehealth access and coverage provisions enacted during the coronavirus pandemic.
Organizations like the American Telemedicine Association, Alliance for Connected Care and Connected Health Initiative, healthcare providers and dozens of lawmakers had lobbied to make at least some of those emergency provisions permanent. But those calls were largely ignored.
â€œThe noticeable lack of permanent reform or a guaranteed extension of the telehealth flexibilities in this relief package is disheartening for the millions of Americans who relied on telehealth to access care, and our healthcare providers still on the frontlines of the pandemic,â€ ATA CEO Ann Mond Johnson said in a press release issued a day after Trump signed the bill. â€œWe believe arbitrary restrictions on telehealth must be permanently removed to make way for a modernized and more accessible healthcare system.â€
To be fair, the news wasn't all bad. The bill did add critical access Hospitals (CAHs) and small, rutral hospitals with less than 50 beds to the list of sites eligible for reimbursement through Medicare for certain telehealth services, opening the door to the expansion of telehealth services in parts of the country where access is a challenge. And it eliminates geographic restrictions for the mental health treatment delivered via telehealth, while also allowing patients to be treated in their homes.
The bill also increases funding for a variety of programs aimed at expanding broadband to underserved regions and populations, including the FCC's COVID-19 Telehealth Program, Broadband Infrastructure grant program and Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program, and it adds $60 million to the Department of Agriculture's Distance Learning and Telemedicine grant program.
Those provisions were met with approval, and also some disappointment. Critics noted the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Service still has a strict definition for â€œrural,â€ and it limits what telehealth services can be provided to rural sites. And the telemental health coverage comes with the condition that patient and provider meet in person within six months of the first telehealth session and have in-person exams at regular intervals.
â€œWe are disappointed that the telemental health provision includes an in-person requirement, as we strongly believe a provider-patient relationship can be established via telehealth,â€ Johnson said in the ATA's press release. â€œParticularly in light of the crippling provider shortage, this in-person pre-existing relationship requirement will unnecessarily deprive Medicare beneficiaries of telemental health options, and we are hopeful Congress will remove this provision in the near future.â€
â€œWhile this provision would expand access to tele-mental health care, we are very disappointed to see an in-person requirement added to statute,â€ the Alliance for Connected Care added in a separate news release this week. â€œYears of telehealth advocacy have been devoted to removing these restrictions. Adding an in-person requirement prevents people that are homebound, transient, or have existing healthcare access challenges from using telehealth â€“ really negating so much of the value that telehealth creates in helping people that NEED expanded access to care.â€
On a more positive note, the bill adds $6.5 million to the Telehealth Centers of Excellence program and directs the program to take on HIV prevention, care and treatment. It also provides $1 million for a national study of rural telehealth investments, and it encourages the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to support the use of telehealth in tackling the nation's opioid abuse epidemic.
It also urges the US Drug Enforcement Administration to follow through on a long-delayed pledge to create a special registration process to allow healthcare providers to prescribe controlled substances via telehealth for substance abuse treatment. That registration process was included in the Ryan Haight Act of 2008 and reinforced by the Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment (SUPPORT) Act in 2018.
Telehealth advocates and lawmakers have lobbied the federal government to create that registration process, and the Trump administration had said it would do so, but no action has been taken.
Supporters are now focusing on the more than a dozen bills still before Congress, and hoping that the administration of President-elect Joe Biden and a new Congress will pick up the slack.
â€œWe applaud Congress for starting down this path this year but urge state and federal lawmakers to take definitive measures next year to act on permanence,â€ Johnson said. â€œThere is still much work to be done to set the course ahead for access to telehealth following the PHE. The ATA remains optimistic that we will see movement in the new Congress during the months ahead and will continue to work to ensure access to telehealth becomes a permanent modality in a hybrid delivery system that includes both in-person and virtual care.â€
Recently Indian Health Services (IHS), which is managed by the Department of Health and Human Services announced its desire to expand telehealth across IHS federal facilities. Telehealth services allow patients can stay home and reduce their risk of infection and also keep healthcare workers and others in waiting rooms and emergency departments safe from COVID-19.
â€œExpanding telehealth allows more American Indians and Alaska Natives to access healthcare they need from their home, without worrying about putting themselves or others at risk during the COVID-19 pandemic,â€ said Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar. â€œThanks to regulatory flexibility and hard work by IHS, providers will be allowed to use everyday technologies to hold appointments with their patients. Telehealth options ensure that heroic frontline IHS providers who may be under stress from responding to COVID-19 have maximum flexibility to provide the care patients need.â€
Recently, the Trump Administration and the Department of Health and Human Services announced unprecedented steps to expand Americans' access to telehealth services during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services expanded Medicare coverage for telehealth visits. The HHS Office for Civil Rights announced it will exercise its enforcement discretion and will not impose penalties for non-compliance with the regulatory requirements under the HIPAA Rules against covered health care providers in connection with the good faith provision of telehealth during the emergency.
Telehealth also gives providers access to services from locations other than hospitals and clinics, as in the case of self-quarantined clinicians. Providers can continue to practice medicine and remain available to their patients. They can also consult with their colleagues across the Indian health system.
â€œThe current COVID-19 pandemic reminds us how important it is to be able to reach your healthcare team,â€ said Rear Adm. Michael D. Weahkee, IHS principal deputy director. â€œTelehealth will further protect our patients and employees by expanding services and increasing access to care, while doing our part to help stop the spread of COVID-19.â€
IHS has issued additional guidance that allows clinicians to use certain additional, non-public facing audio or video communications technologies to augment all clinical activities related to providing care to patients during the COVID-19 public health emergency. This applied to telehealth provided for any clinical reason, regardless of whether the telehealth service is related to the diagnosis and treatment of health conditions related to COVID-19.
IHS service units and their clinicians who are using the system will obtain verbal consent from patients who meet with their provider via a telehealth appointment. Health care providers are required to verify the patient at the beginning of each encounter and are not authorized to record the session.
Federal officials have clarified new telehealth reimbursement rules for federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) and rural health clinics (RHCs), giving those sites more opportunities to use connected health services during the Coronavirus pandemic.
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) provides clarity on changes to Medicare reimbursement that were included in Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Those changes allow FQHCs and RHCs to use telehealth, as well as permitting doctors working for those clinics to work from home.
FQHCs and RHCs are classified as distant sites for telehealth coverage under Medicare, allowing them to use real-time interactive audio and video telemedicine platforms to treat patients.
Any practitioners working for an FQHC or RNC can work from any location, including one's home, and can use any telehealth service approved as a distant site services under the Physician Fee Schedule.
FQHCs and RHCs will be reimbursed at a rate of $92 per service, instead of their PPS or AIR rates, retroactive to January 27, 2020. The claims will be processed in July when the Medicare claims processing system is updated with the new payment rate.
Reimbursement for virtual communication services â€“ which are considered mHealth rather than telehealth services â€“ now includes online digital evaluation and management services, which are not face-to-face or patient-initiated and are conducted through a secure portal.
Beneficiary consent is required for all services, including non-face-to-face services, and can be obtained at the same time the services are furnished by someone working under the general supervision of the FQHC or RHC.
The new rules open the door for expanded telehealth and mHealth coverage for healthcare providers who typically serve underserved populations and who are being hard hit by the virus. They not only allow those centers to improve care access for patients affected by COVID-19, but also enable them to improve services for those with health concerns not related to the pandemic.
As with most of the emergency measures, however, the new rules last only as long as the country is in a state of emergency.
Today, the majority of primary care physicians fret that telemedicine is way too time-consuming and complicated for them to execute in their already busy practices. However, physicians who have adopted this state-of-the-art technology advise there is absolutely no need to spend a fortune or reinvent the wheel entirely to start seeing positive results with telemedicine integration.
The healthcare industry is already at the tipping point. According to a September 2020 market intelligence study published by BIS Research, the global telemedicine market was estimated at $21.55 billion in 2019 and is expected to reach $123 billion by the end of 2030. The market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 17.66% during the forecast period 2020-2030.
It only makes sense for healthcare practicesâ€”both big and smallâ€”to leverage the potential that telehealth solutions offer before the competition becomes too much.
In this piece, we will be looking at six important considerations healthcare providers should be aware of before integrating telemedicine with their practice to make the transition more seamless.
It's important to remember that a telemedicine practice also has to comply with several regulatory barriers, such as those from regulatory bodies like the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS), etc.
That's why it's important to ensure you are aware ofâ€”and have metâ€”all regulations for not only the state in which your practice is based out of, but in the state(s) where the patients you serve are going to be located. You'll also want to make sure that you have the staff, operational processes, and skills to monitor the changing regulatory landscape at fixed intervals.
Here are a few other important questions to consider when starting out your telemedicine journey:
With more and more patient information being stockpiled and shared electronically, healthcare providers need to ensure data is maintained in ways compliant with HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) and other privacy regulations.
It requires supplemental measures which can add layers of security through workflows, resource requirements, and technical architecture investments. Providers need to make sure that compliance is maintained at each stage of data managementâ€”right from the moment it enters the organization to when it leaves it.
You can try looking for a partner with proven success in managing security in terms of where and how protected information is stored, updated, moved, and accessed, and how those handling this information are trained and monitored around the clock.
In order for you to see optimal financial and clinical outcomes from your telemedicine program, you'll mostly have to make a few adjustments to your operational protocols. That's because with telemedicine, you're bringing in a lot more than a fresh piece of technologyâ€”you're bringing in an opportunity to modify how you deliver care.
Your staff not only needs to understand what to do with the new equipment, but also how to integrate it into their daily workflows, and when to use it (and when not to). Nurse Practitioners, physician partners, and allied staff affected by the protocols will need to receive training particular to their role in the process.
All staff will also need training on integrating telehealth into existing workflowsâ€”right from labs, imaging, registration and billing, to pharmacy, and follow-upâ€”based on the requirements of your telemedicine program.
One way to easily manage all of this is finding a telehealth platform like Mend that assists with or completely handles establishing protocols and staff training.
A lot of evolving technologies are taking the world of telehealth by storm at present. This not only includes the commonly employed audio and video-conferencing solutions like telemedicine carts, but also the peripheral diagnostic devices used to assess patients remotely.
What's often overlooked is both the ability of the technology to integrate into existing workflows, processes, and infrastructure; and for it to be able to scale for broader use. It should hold the potential to be easily used by all providers across the organization's departments and facilities. The same goes for whether or not it can be integrated with the institution's EMR or EHR, imaging infrastructure, and lab systems running atop the enterprise-wide security infrastructure with single sign-on.
Simply put, whatever partner you choose should be capable of demonstrating and validating how the technology can integrate with protocols, workflows, and equipment you already have, or how things need to change to be clinically safe, and operationally and fiscally efficient.
You need to constantly adapt and innovate in order to achieve telemedicine success.
Billing is an aspect providers often fail to pay heed to when telemedicine programs are piloted. You'll need to figure out the process for ensuring precise billing for both facility fees and professional fees of your partners as well as staff, so you don't find yourself on the wrong side of a call from the concerned authorities.
You will also need to figure out if your clinical service qualifies for pro-fees, what codes will be used for telemedicine billing, and whether your site will be able to benefit from facility fees. Another common challenge is understanding how to equitably compensate a team of physicians supporting a service when they themselves have pay disparity.
Consider how you'll address disparate pay scales for providers participating in your telemedicine solution. If your specialists live and typically practice in a large metropolitan area, they will invariably be paid a higher rate than where a patient in a remote, rural area resides. However, reimbursement will likely be linked to the patient's location, not the provider's.
Lastly, it is important to remember that while telemedicine is a huge relief for patients, they can often also be hesitant when it comes to embracing it in their daily lives. A few of your patients might not historically be technologically savvy and might end up feeling that they can't use something like telemedicine because they won't always have the backup or help that they need.
Getting your patients onboard with telemedicine more often than not demands that you show them the benefits that come alongside its adoption, and not simply tell them that. By telling them it is going to be easy, they may still hesitate. By walking them through the experience to show that the actual connection takes far less time and effort, they will be confident to attempt doing it by themselves without supervision.
The effort on the part of the organization can be as little as 5-10 minutes, but the outcomes can significantly create opportunities for transportation-less care for those who struggle to get to sessions, increase telemedicine utilization, and provide additional opportunities for follow up once other obstacles are removed.
Implementing telemedicine in your primary care practice is really more about the effort you put in than the time or money you invest. Once you know how to implement telemedicine technologies you can expect instant results that contribute toward ameliorating your practice’s bottom line when done right.
Behavioral health providers have been utilizing telehealth for some time now, but one particular group has demonstrated an especially positive impactâ€”our children.
There is some preliminary evidence that videoconferencing offers advantages for the youth and adolescents, including less self-consciousness, increased personal space, and decreased confidentiality concerns as the provider is outside of the local community. Telehealth may be especially suited for youth who are accustomed to the technology, especially adolescents who may respond to the personal space and feeling of control allowed by videoconferencing.
Multiple studies have demonstrated the feasibility of implementing telemental health services with young people across diverse settings. Diagnostic assessments have been reliably conducted through videoconferencing for youth with various disorders evaluated in outpatient settings including disruptive behavior disorders, autism, and other developmental disorders, and psychotic disorders.
Currently, the point of delivery for telemental health services is as varied as the type of services that are being provided: primary care clinics, community mental health centers, physician offices, outpatient clinics. There are also other settings that are starting to utilize telehealth to support behavioral health issues such as schools, correctional facilities, residential treatment facilities, critical access hospitals, group homes, sites serving foster care, military bases, and daycares.
Clinics & Offices
There is a long history of moving mental health care for youth from the mental health clinic to the community to improve access to care, increase adherence to treatment planning, and to provide services in naturalistic settings. Consistent with this pattern, telemental health services are being moved outside of traditional mental healthcare settings. When telemental health services are implemented in community settings, they offer the opportunity to ascertain contextual factors involved in youths' behavior and mental health needs, as well as to involve stakeholders in youths' care and outcomes. In particular, telemental health offers a powerful opportunity for collaboration with pediatricians to help them address the increasing expectations to improve their skills in diagnosing and managing common mental health conditions of young people. Pediatric telepsychology has shown feasibility in overcoming some of these challenges when providing services during medical visits or at home.
School-based telemental health services engage youth during the school day thereby reducing distances youth must travel to a clinic, decreasing missed school days, disruption in the child's classroom time and parent's workday, allowing parents to be involved in a setting that is familiar and convenient, and incorporating school personnel into treatment planning. Telehealth allows the youth's provider to be efficiently involved in multidisciplinary planning, student evaluation, Individualized Education Plan meetings, and collaboration with teachers, school specialists (e.g., school psychologists, social workers, and allied health specialists), nurses, and administrators.
Examples of services that may be delivered by the provider to the school system include mental health evaluations, behavioral interventions, medication treatment, ongoing sessions with students and families, evaluation for support services, continuing education for staff, and consultation on both classroom specific and general school issues and consultation in the event or threat of an event that may adversely impact the school community (e.g, the untimely death of a student or teacher, natural disaster, etc).
Another area of school-based telemental health is the delivery of educational support services, such as counseling, occupational therapy, or speech therapy, to youth who are home-bound or as a means to continue services when school is out of session.
Treatment & Correctional Centers
Residential treatment centers and correctional settings often require prolonged separations of families from a youth who is confined in a facility far distant from family and provider. Telemental health allows families to participate in a youth's treatment while remaining in their home communities or telecommute a mental health specialist to the youth's facility. For example, the multipoint capabilities of telemental health can deliver multi-systemic therapy, which includes a network of caregivers, school officials, peers, and neighbors to promote positive behavioral changes. Delivering telemental health services to such facilities provides challenges to privacy and confidentiality. Home-based telemental health offers potential advantages to observe the youth in a naturalistic setting and to practice skills in the lived environment.
Some facilities are delivering behavioral interventions for early-onset behavior disorders such as obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). They use videoconferencing to observe the youth's behavior and then to guide parents in facilitating behavioral interventions.
Hospitals and health systems across the country are rolling out telemedicine services for patients. The existing landscape of telehealth companies means there certainly is no shortage of plug-and-play options, but Mend's goal in implementing virtual care is to not only provide more access and options for high-quality care, but also to allow Health Systems to engage with their community of patients across a city, state, or region.
When thinking about engaging people who seek health services, it's not just about treating the patient. The best health systems must ensure their patients get to the right place for their point of care within the system â€“ hospitals, health plexes and physician practices as well as their website and virtual presence.
Health systems are amazing at staffing their facilities with physicians and advanced practice providers who are already familiar with treating local patients. Telehealth platforms like Mend can use their care coordination capabilities to redirect patients seeking care to specialists within the health system or load balance providers virtually across multiple physical locations to meet demand, reduce wait times, and improve productivity.
When digital front door partners fully integrate with EHRs, the referral process becomes simplified and referral metrics and client outcomes are just a few clicks away. On-call and after-hour services can easily be scaled because healthcare providers that idle in one location can easily treat patients through virtual kiosks stationed at another facility within the health system.
Other digital front door use cases for health systems include:
Health systems seeking out a telehealth or digital front door partner should evaluate whether the vendors being considered has the proper back-end capabilities to easily function with existing internal systems. Partners should not only be able to perform the tasks your health system wants to function now, but also in the future.
Other minimum capabilities health systems should look for include:
Maintaining continuity of care, and managing patients with chronic diseases, has always been a difficult proposition. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has made it even more difficult. Fear of exposure to the virus has led to many patients with chronic and comorbid conditions avoiding care.
To avert care crises and to ensure better continuity of care for our patients who need it most, many primary care practices are adopting fully integrated telehealth platforms like Mend to offer complete, specialist-guided care to at-risk patients as safely as possible.
Many practices have found implementing telehealth in primary care empowers physicians to address two major challenges: lapses in care for chronic patientsâ€”leading to acute crisesâ€”and the increased burden on our health system from sudden waves of high-acuity cases.
Regarding the first challenge, chronic care and comorbid patients are unable to maintain appointments as usual during the pandemic, yet they are still in need of care. These patients often require a care team, including specialist doctors, to engage with patients who are due for a visit or in need of routine care. Maintaining a regular care regimen and enabling these patients to continue interfacing with their care team is key to improving outcomes.
So, how does telehealth improve patient outcomes? Establishing a telehealth platform allowed primary care providers to proactively care for patients as they track those who fall outside of typical buffers and may be due for an appointment. Through telehealth, PCPs can engage with these patients to ensure they're keeping up with their care needs.
Improving access to care in this way helps primary care physicians to avoid the downstream challenge of overburdened hospitals and emergency departments in particular. When patients avoid proactive and non-urgent (but necessary) care, there is an increased burden to both patients and the healthcare system in the long run. By being available for routine care, and by proactively following up with patients, telehealth improves outcomes and reduce the upcoming strain on the healthcare system caused by a wave of patients seeking care that was put off.
Mend specifically assists primary care providers in preventing a backlog of specialty referrals from occurring once these providers are again able to take non-urgent appointments.
With any major shift in how we provide care to our patients, it's expected that there will be hiccups and speed bumps as both patients and providers adapt to the change. We have found the transition to focusing on telehealth during the COVID-19 pandemic to be surprisingly smooth, with both patients and providers expressing satisfaction with our new telehealth capabilities.
In fact, most patients share resoundingly positive feedback when dealing with telehealth. Patients in need of routine specialty care have been delighted to find that their needs can be met without the need for an in-person appointment. Certainly, many patients will be glad to get back to something approaching normal. But overall, most patients have been blown away by the sheer volume of treatments and care maintenance that can be administered via telemedicine and telehealth.
Providers, meanwhile, are also enjoying providing care via telehealth. Teams as a whole feel empowered by the access to specialist input that is available when partnering with robust telehealth platforms for primary care such as Mend. Now, they can address both primary care needs and many specialty care needs that are absolutely crucial for our chronic and comorbid patients. Furthermore, telehealth quite simply enables primary care practices to remain in operation at a much higher capacity than would be possible otherwise. Many primary care offices have been forced to furlough employees, making it even more difficult for non-coronavirus patients to receive care, but adopting a telehealth platform has enabled many offices to retain our team members and continue to serve patients.
As the coronavirus pandemic set in, many patients began to forgo care, believing that lockdowns and social distancing requirements would be a temporary blip. However, as weeks have turned to months, patients are realizing that this crisis represents a new normal and that they will still need to seek care in the interim. Primary care practices that have implemented telehealth have found that they can provide ongoing care that would otherwise be impossible, improve outcomes for chronic patients, and continue to work at what they do best â€” serving their patients.
Like many of today's important innovations, telehealth is powered by the latest in information technology. Thanks to cutting edge telehealth platforms, healthcare professionals can make house calls without having to leave the office. Patients can call in emergencies with the benefit of being able to give full explanations of their symptoms using the added information-rich medium of high definition video.
But integrated telehealth platforms are far more than the real-life version of the video phones he saw in 1980s science fiction and never believed would exist until a few years ago. They also provide a host of features and offer a range of advanced capabilities that make it easier for medical business proprietors and practitioners to run their businesses in ways that could scarcely be imagined just 15 years ago.
Here are some of the many ways today's most advanced telehealth platforms are making life and business easier and more productive for healthcare providers.
With improved access and higher communications bandwidth come opportunities to create new business models and to further refine them. â€œSpecialists are finding they can launch a telehealth platform,â€ according to mHealthIntelligence, â€œoffering services online much like a banker, real estate agent, or other business professional.â€
Integrated telehealth platforms have made it possible for specialists to bring their services one step closer to the patient, opened up opportunities for extended hours, and provide more attractive options to patients.
With the growing role of consumer consumption via the Internet, people expect higher and higher levels of choice and opportunities for input. Telehealth platforms facilitate this beautifully and give enterprising practitioners more opportunity to serve these higher expectations.
Furthermore, with easy access to the advice of professional clinicians, patients who would normally shirk a visit to the doctor are more likely to seek professional medical advice.
Research has shown that with the normalization of telehealth portals, significant barriers to medical care have fallen away. This can be seen by comparing the average time for a traditional doctor's visit (121 minutes) to that of a telehealth visit (16 minutes). The more people learn about how much time they can save, the more reluctance to see their doctor will disappear.
The primary way telehealth platforms are improving just about every aspect of medical business can be attributed to what we might call clinical bandwidth. Anything that can be done by talking and via high definition video can be done without travel, without waiting, and without the major traditional bottleneck to all healthcare â€” the limited number of available rooms in which to see patients.
With all these â€œchoke pointsâ€ effectively evaporated, telehealth platforms make all kinds of medical practices able to see more people more quickly, to process more patient information, and at the end of the day- deliver better patient outcomes.
With less demand on brick and mortar assets, medical entrepreneurs are able to get new practices up and running faster with less need for investment in square footage.
It means less expense for the patient as well. The average emergency room visit costs roughly $1,500, and the average doctor's visit costs $150. Of course, we can't do away with these completely. But with the lower cost of a telehealth visit ($80 avg.), more transactions take place at a lower cost for everyone involved.
In the traditional model, minor consultations are almost as expensive and time-consuming as more in-depth interventions. Telehealth platforms make it possible for low-level consultations to take place at very little expense and in very short amounts of time. What's more, patient no-shows have dropped precipitously as a result of this technology.
It can be expected that as these portals become more and more accessible to patients, we will eventually see patient no-shows become virtually a thing of the past. That means more work for doctors, fewer bills slipping through the fingers of accounts payable, and greater value for the healthcare consumer.
With all of the improvements we've talked about so far, there is one boon to your business that telehealth platforms deliver in spades, and that is patient satisfaction. When it comes to serving patients and earning their loyalty, convenience matters, as does lower costs. But nothing boosts patient loyalty like improved healthcare outcomes- and that's what telehealth platforms deliver most.
The growth trend has been measured quite thoroughly since 2013, and it looks like this:
Growth of Patient Returns & Satisfaction (in millions)
Clearly, the dramatic rise in patient retention satisfaction we see this year through telehealth platforms is about COVID-19 containment. But the elevated exposure of patients and clinicians to telehealth platforms is all but certain to result in more patients understanding the benefits of this technology and seeing it as part of a major value proposition from any healthcare provider who offers this kind of access.
At the end of the day, the benefits for both doctors and patients are demonstrated, and growth projections from here are simply staggering.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) finally came out with its plans to expand telehealth coverage once the COVID-19 pandemic is over.
The 2021 Physician Fee Schedule, which was released earlier this month, highlighted several new opportunities for remote patient monitoring and added nine billing codes for connected health services. However, 74 codes are slated to end when the public health emergency is over. While some vocal detractors have said the changes don't go far enough, many proponents say the proposed changes would offer providers a coherent and permanent path forward from the emergency measures initiated in March to deal with COVID-19.
These plans came, incidentally or intentionally, on the same day that President Trump issued an executive order focused on â€œImproving Rural Health and Telehealth Access,â€ which included a number of important telehealth policy proposals, including an expansion of the list of telehealth services that will remain permanent beyond the COVID-19 public health emergency. It also proposed Category I and Category III codes, some of which will remain on the list through the calendar year in which the public health emergency (PHE) ends.
â€œCompared to last year, where CMS made only minor additions to telehealth services, the changes proposed for 2021 are bold and designed to more deliberately expand the use of telehealth technologies among Medicare beneficiaries,â€ Nathaniel Lacktman, a partner with Foley & Lardner and chair of its Telemedicine & Digital Health Team, said in a blog co-authored by Thomas Ferrante, senior counsel, and Emily Wein, an attorney with the firm.
CMS proposed adding nine codes to the list of telehealth services covered under Medicare, to remain covered even after the PHE ends. Subject to CMS' final rule, these services are expected to be added, on a permanent basis, effective January 1, 2021.
|Service Type||HCPCS/CPT Codes|
|Domiciliary, Rest Home, or Custodial Care services, Established patients||99334-99335|
|Home Visits, Established Patient||99347- 99348|
|Cognitive Assessment and Care Planning Services||99483|
|Visit Complexity Inherent to Certain Office/Outpatient E/Ms||GPC1X|
|Psychological and Neuropsychological Testing||96121|
CMS proposed removing seventy-four (74) codes when the PHE expires. This, CMS says, is due to its conclusion that there would be no likelihood of clinical benefit after the PHE ends. Stakeholders can submit comments and clinical data in support of making one or more of these codes permanent.
|Service Type||HCPCS/CPT Codes|
|Initial nursing facility visits, all levels (Low, Moderate, and High Complexity)||99304-99306|
|Psychological and Neuropsychological Testing||96136-96139|
|Therapy Services, Physical and Occupational Therapy, all levels||97161-97168, 97110, 97112, 97116, 97535, 97750, 97755, 97760, 97761, 92521- 92524, 92507|
|Initial hospital care and hospital discharge day management||99221-99223, 99238- 99239|
|Inpatient Neonatal and Pediatric Critical Care, Initial and Subsequent||99468- 99472, 99475- 99476|
|Initial and Continuing Neonatal Intensive Care Services||99477-99480|
|Critical Care Services||99291-99292|
|End-Stage Renal Disease Monthly Capitation Payment codes||90952-90953, 90956, 90959, 90962|
|Radiation Treatment Management Services||77427|
|Emergency Department Visits, Levels 4-5||99284-99285|
|Domiciliary, Rest Home, or Custodial Care services, New||99324-99328|
|Home Visits, New Patient, all levels||99341- 99345|
|Initial and Subsequent Observation and Observation Discharge Day Management||99217-99220, 99224- 99226, 99234-99236|
CMS created a new category of codes designed for adding new Medicare-covered telehealth services, but on a temporary basis. Codes added this way would remain covered through the end of the year in which the PHE expires. For example, if the PHE expires in March 2021, these codes will remain Medicare-covered telehealth services until December 31, 2021.
For a Category 3 service to become permanent, stakeholders will need to submit to CMS:
CMS proposed adding the thirteen (13) codes below to the Category 3 list:
|Service Type||HCPCS/CPT Codes|
|Domiciliary, Rest Home, or Custodial Care services, Established patients||99336-99337|
|Home Visits, Established Patient||99349-99350|
|Emergency Department Visits, Levels 1-3||99281-99283|
|Nursing facilities discharge day management||99315-99316|
|Psychological and Neuropsychological Testing||96130- 96133|
Providers, technology companies, entrepreneurs, and advocates interested in telemedicine and digital health should consider submitting comments to the proposed rule anonymously or otherwise via electronic submission at this link. Alternatively, commenters may submit comments by mail to:
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced on July 8 that it had approved what was left of its $200 million COVID-19 Telehealth Program.
With last week's 25 funding applications, the FCC's COVID-19 Telehealth Program total of approved applications increased to 539 applications, including recipients in 47 states plus Washington, D.C. and Guam. The $200 million in funding was provided by Congress as part of the CARES Act in an effort to provide telehealth services during the coronavirus pandemic.
â€œThis final tranche of approved funding applications includes recipients in both urban and rural
areas of the country, and from coast to coast,â€ FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said in a press release. â€œWe have already seen the program's positive impact on expanding access to telehealth services and promoting the well-being of patients and healthcare providers across the country. And I look forward to seeing how those who are awarded funding today will help patients from New York to Guam, and Alabama to North Dakota.â€
Despite some controversy pertaining to the program's selection process for the type of telehealth providers as well as the funding amount provided by the program, including by the American Telemedicine Association, which petitioned Congressional leaders in April to add $300 million to the program, Pai has defended the FCC's management of the COVID-19 Telehealth Program.
â€œThe agency's decision-making has been meaningfully informed by collaboration and
Consultation,â€ Pai wrote in a letter to Senate lawmakers last month. â€œIn particular, Commission staff consulted with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and based on those discussions, Commission staff has identified â€˜hardest-hit areas' using data from the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.â€
â€œThe steps we have taken thus far have been very well received, not least by the recipient
health care institutions and the communities they serve,â€ Pai said. â€œBut we also want to assess after the Program's conclusion how COVID-19 Telehealth Program funding was spent and lessons that could improve the Commission's upcoming Connected Care Pilot Program. Participants are expected to report to the Commission on the effectiveness of this funding on health outcomes, patient treatment, health care facility administration, and any other relevant factors.â€
Structured as a reimbursement program, the COVID-19 Telehealth Program required healthcare providers to submit an invoicing form and supporting documentation to receive reimbursement for eligible telehealth and mHealth expenses and services.
If Pai's recent communication is any indication, it appears as if this is truly the end of the COVID-19 Telehealth Program. The FCC now is focusing on other efforts to improve healthcare provider's access to telehealth and mHealth, particularly when it comes to creating funding and guidelines for broadband access.
The Connected Care Pilot Program, which was first unveiled in 2019 but had final rules presented by the FCC in March, is a $100 million, 3-year program created to defray health care providers' costs of providing connected care services, with a particular emphasis on supporting eligible low-income Americans and veterans.
The Pilot Program would provide funding to selected pilot connected health projects to cover 85% of the eligible costs of broadband connectivity, network equipment, and information services necessary to provide connected care services to the intended patient population.
Other FCC efforts to support telehealth include the Rural Health Care Program, which recently received a boost in funding, and the Connect2Health Task Force.
The average primary care specialist treats approximately 19 patients per day, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians. On average, PCPs spend 22 minutes per patient. Even with this type of intense panel, there is daily pressure to increase patient load, identify more billable encounters and treat patients faster. Introducing telemedicine services as a method of treating your own patients is an excellent way to bolster those efforts without sacrificing quality of care.
Solutions like Mend make it possible to connect with your own patients through telemedicine solutions that don't require you to contract with another physician organization. There are many agencies that hire physicians to treat patients who request services through that agency, but these patients would not become a part of your standing panel. In those arrangements, physicians and patients are connected at random, and there is limited (if any) follow-up or continuity of care beyond the single encounter. Through Mend, primary health care providers have access to simple technology that can be used remotely by both patient and provider. Primary care physicians can treat and follow-up with their own patients through telemedicine solutions as long as the treatment meets the standard of medicine and is delivered in accordance with state law.
Telemedicine can be an interesting but overwhelming prospect. Physicians and practice managers are often receptive to the idea, but they become stymied when trying to figure out how to implement it and fill their virtual clinic. By working with an experienced platform partner, like Mend, who can help you navigate the implementation waterways, you can skip the stress of implementing a telemedicine solution and move right to the benefits.
Primary care telehealth company provides an alternative for late cancellations or no-shows, and it enables providers to capture the encounter without searching for another patient to fill the spot. By working directly with those responsible for managing cancellations and no-shows, your platform partner can assist in implementing a reschedule to telemedicine services policy that encourages patients who cannot make it to an in-person visit to use telemedicine as an alternative. By diverting even half of missed or cancelled visits to telemedicine, practices can recoup hundreds per day.
Telemedicine visits tend to be faster, and low-acuity complaints can be treated in minutes. By diverting these patients to telemedicine, either during set hours or on an as-needed basis, providers can free up limited in-person time for more severe cases that require hands on care. Primary care specialists can divert simple prescription refills, routine follow up care and low-acuity complaints to telemedicine for faster visits without sacrificing quality of care. Mend's implementation specialists can educate on best practices, and our telemedicine triage ensures that only patients who are appropriate for telemedicine services receive those appointments. By working with the right partner, you have an expert on hand who can help develop these workflows.
Premier primary care physicians provide a considerable amount of free care to patients after hours and throughout the day. By turning quick phone calls into often-billable or fee-for-service telemedicine services, providers get paid for their after-hours effort. Your platform can collect copays or fees prior to the session, and the time you would have spent on the phone becomes a full visit.
When provider after hours care, phone calls also often go undocumented. Telemedicine is documented like a regular visit, and that ensures that patient records are complete regardless where the patient is located when the support is provided.
Many providers and office managers are hesitant to embark on a telemedicine implementation because they have had arduous software implementations before. Telemedicine solutions require a small fraction of the effort to implement when you work with an experienced partner like Mend. You won't have to overhaul your daily workflow, and we can show you how to best work telemedicine into your regular day. Do you want to use a telemedicine time block? Is this a tool for strictly after-hours? Do you prefer to use it for nurse follow ups and to deliver lab results? Whatever the use case for your practice is, there is a workflow and implementation plan that is easy to implement when you're working with the right partner.
Think you're ready to get moving? Let us help! We can walk you through the process, get your implementation plan moving and start you on the road to realizing the benefits of introducing telehealth into your practice.
Starting a virtual or hybrid practice presents freedom and flexibility that can never be matched by a full-time brick-and-mortar operation. Virtual practices allow practitioners to travel, work from home and treat patients in several states with appropriate licensure. That being said, it's not as simple as downloading a telehealth company program and connecting with a large number of interested patients. To realize the full potential of working virtually, there are a few things that you need to consider beforehand. If you don't know where to begin to start a telemedicine practice, we can help.
When it comes to the question of how to start a telemedicine practice, Mend provides insight on the benefits, hurdles and organizational requirements and help get you up and running. We'll explore some of the best practices, discuss telemedicine pros and cons, and share some helpful tips as well. Remember, this is a general overview of the process, and the information here does not constitute official advice.
Starting a telemedicine practice can feel overwhelming, but Mend is here to help. We help providers start their practice from the ground up every day. Plus, there are these best telehealth software, which can make your experience better â€” whether you deal in primary care or behavioral health.
When it comes to how to set up a telehealth practice, we recommend contacting a local incorporation attorney, the Small Business Association or your local medical board to get more information on how to get incorporated. They can provide resources on incorporation, bank accounts, business licenses and more.
You'll want to familiarize yourself with whether your state has a parity law covering telemedicine. We recommend referencing the American Telemedicine Association's document on telemedicine coverage to familiarize yourself with what is permitted, i.e., what that law allows explicitly.
Telemedicine laws are generally broken up into two delivery methods: hub-and-spoke and direct-to-consumer.
Direct-to-consumer means that the state or payer allows the patient to be located at home when receiving telemedicine services. The patient doesn't need a medical staff member present. Patients will self-report vitals (when able), and they may be directed by the practitioner for an in-person follow-up when necessary.
Not all patients qualify for direct-to-consumer telemedicine, and that's up to the provider to determine a protocol that ensures that only appropriate patients are receiving treatment via telemedicine. Mend can help develop and implement this protocol for providers.
Hub-And-Spoke means that the patient has to be located in an "originating site," i.e. "spoke," to speak to a provider who is at the "hub" or another location. The patient cannot be located at home. States and payers that restrict telemedicine to hub-and-spoke have different lists of facilities that qualify as spoke sites. In general, these sites are healthcare facilities, clinics, doctors' offices, hospitals, etc.
In both cases, it's important to use HIPAA compliant video conferencing, which Mend offers.
Medicare does pay for telemedicine visits in very limited instances. Medicare restricts the patient location to specific types of medical facilities, so the patient cannot be located at home. The medical establishment or "spoke" site has to be located in a CMS-designated rural area. You can find out if your clinic or facility qualifies as one by using the locator on the CMS website. There is some movement that indicates telemedicine coverage may change for Medicare patients, but there is no timeline at this present moment.
Many Medicaid plans are very forward thinking about telemedicine because most members have serious problems with access to care. Working with Medicaid can often be your best bet for getting paid for telemedicine services.
Just like insurance coverage, the state policy landscape/laws on whether you can treat a patient for the first time via telemedicine vary considerably. Some states only require face-to-face interaction, and telemedicine is considered face-to-face interaction. However, some states require that you meet the patient in-person, and telemedicine, unfortunately, does not qualify as an in-person visit. Check ATA or your local medical board to know more about your state’s laws before starting a telehealth business.
State laws vary considerably on who can prescribe medication via telemedicine. Some laws restrict all prescribing, and there are others that allow it for established patients. Some states limit controlled substance prescriptions to specific diagnoses. This is another important thing to follow up with your state medical board about.
You most likely need to be licensed in every state where you want to practice. There aren't many states that allow you to treat patients without some form of license for the area. If you already hold multiple licenses, then, in many cases, you should be able to provide services to patients in all of those states regardless of where you are physically located.
Insurances list doctors by their physical address and zip code. That's how patients find doctors through the physician locator. If you already have an office where you practice in-person, then use that address for your telemedicine practice.
If you wish to continue with telemedicine practice exclusively, you may want to consider renting a virtual office or executive suite so you can provide a physical address that isn't your home address.
The codes for telemedicine are the same as the codes for in-person visits because the services that you're providing should be identical.
Bill your office visit code as usual, then add either the GT modifier or the 95 modifier. This varies by payer. You will also change the place of service code from 11 (office) to 02 (telemedicine).
If you still have questions, that's okay! Once you familiarize yourself with these 10 things, you are on your way to starting a telemedicine business. Mend offers to simplest-to-use telemedicine platform on the market, and we can get you up and running in no time.