The most common image that comes to mind when you hear the phrase ‘patient experience’ is of a patient sitting in a doctor’s office. However, the patient experience is much more than that; it begins when the patient makes an appointment.
It may not be safe to wait in a waiting area to visit a healthcare provider during a public health emergency. In March 2020, there was a 50 percent rise in telemedicine services due to such worries amid the COVID-19 issue.
Telemedicine services can help patients have a better experience during times of increasing healthcare demand. There are eight major ways in which telemedicine services improve the patient experience.
What is Patient Experience?
Every interaction a patient has with a healthcare professional is referred to as the “patient experience.” Those encounters begin long before a patient enters a doctor’s office. When a person schedules an appointment, this is the first point of contact.
The patient experience was not taken into account until the mid-2010s; nevertheless, there has been a change toward trying to comprehend what a patient goes through in the healthcare system.
Providers and healthcare organizations are increasingly attempting to improve the quality of those encounters. By developing a custom telemedicine application, healthcare organizations can provide for a unique and personalized patient experience.
8 Ways Telemedicine Improves Patient Experience
Telemedicine services enable remote healthcare through the use of electronic and telecommunications technologies. While there is some uncertainty about the differences between telehealth and telemedicine, the main difference is that telehealth services are more comprehensive.
- Convenience, no wait times
- Increases physician efficiency
- Empowering patients
- Better and quicker access to specialists
- Data-driven patient care
- Reduced costs for patients
- Remote patient monitoring reduces hospital readmissions
- Receiving better care in remote locations
1. Convenience, no wait times
The words “traditional healthcare” and “convenience” rarely appear in the same phrase. According to Accenture’s 2019 Digital Health Consumer Survey, the inconvenience of appointment timings disappointed 21% of Millennials, 18% of Gen Z, and 57% of Baby Boomers.
Telemedicine services make healthcare more convenient for patients, which improves their experience. Patients can attend a doctor’s visit from the comfort of their own home, rather than needing to take time off work (and potentially travel significant distances).
2. Increases physician efficiency
Nobody likes to squander their time. Time is money in the eyes of the sufferer. Telemedicine services improve efficiency, which is one of their advantages. In a 2017 survey, 59 percent of patients who used telemedicine services claimed they saved time, while another 55 percent said they received better service and had shorter wait times for appointments.
Patients don’t have to wait for appointments when they use telemedicine services (either waiting to book them or sitting in the waiting room). They don’t waste time traveling when it isn’t necessary. They can instead have a fantastic patient experience at home.
3. Empowering patients with self-help options
Patients reported their dissatisfaction with the lack of responsiveness to inquiries outside of sessions in the Accenture research. Nearly three-quarters of Millennials, 18% of Gen Zs, and 63% of older people want their healthcare providers to answer queries without requiring an appointment.
By providing self-help alternatives, telemedicine can improve the patient experience. A patient access center is one way to do this. A patient access center (PAC) is a call center that uses a healthcare communication platform.
A patient could reach his or her physician outside of an appointment to discuss questions via a patient access center. This method of delivering telemedicine services allows patients to get the treatment they require while also maximizing the use of healthcare resources.
4. Data-driven patient care
Healthcare businesses are increasingly relying on data-driven, smart procedures established by healthcare analytics, or the process of identifying trends in healthcare data. Four different data sources are used by providers:
Patient behavior data can be used to increase patient happiness in a variety of ways, such as reducing wait times by scheduling additional nurses during peak appointment times or modifying processes based on how individuals assess their healthcare experience.
This information can also aid in improving results by making routine checks more convenient and less stressful. Claims and cost data analysis can help businesses run more efficiently and save money.
Data from research and development (R&D) can reveal a lot about the efficacy of new drugs and therapies, especially for specific patient populations. Clinical data extracted from patients’ electronic health records (EHRs) can be utilized for a variety of applications, including predicting preventable illnesses by identifying people at risk of illness or disease before they show symptoms.
5. Receiving better care in remote locations
Telemedicine services would considerably improve the patient experience for a certain group of patients: those who live in underserved areas, particularly rural ones. They have fewer options for healthcare professionals and insurance.
As a result, healthcare has become more expensive and harder to obtain; according to a 2016 poll, more than a quarter of uninsured rural people postponed medical treatment that year due to a lack of access and high expenses.
Telemedicine services help patients in rural areas to receive medical care in a more convenient manner. They don’t have to miss work to attend appointments (which cost an average of $16,769 and $24,000, respectively).
Furthermore, legislative improvements have boosted the usage of telemedicine services, making it more inexpensive for people in rural areas to communicate with doctors.
6. Better and quicker access to specialists
Telemedicine services also improve the patient experience by allowing patients to connect with specialists more easily. Specialist access is limited based on physician recommendation, geographic region, and insurance coverage.
There are also fewer specialists in comparison to primary care physicians, and access to experts is more difficult for rural patients because specialists are generally based in urban regions.
Specialists can see more patients through telemedicine services. Patients have better patient experiences when it is easy for them to connect with the professionals they require.
7. Remote patient monitoring reduces hospital readmissions
When a patient is away from their provider’s office, remote monitoring software is used to collect biometric data (e.g., blood pressure, oxygen saturation, glucose levels), analyze, interpret, and transmit that data to their clinicians.
RPM or remote patient monitoring was mostly utilized for diagnostic purposes until recently, such as in a 30-day heart monitor or a home sleep study kit. Patches and cables were employed in these proprietary devices, and patients only used them for a brief time.
Modern RPM solutions are created with the goal of assisting people with chronic illnesses in better managing their health throughout time. Consumer-grade mobile devices are used to implement these solutions. Patients no longer need to be tethered to their health monitors thanks to wearables and Bluetooth-enabled biometrics equipment.
More RPM vendors can benefit from mobile developments because the technology is more user-friendly and cost-effective. Instead of creating their own proprietary gadgets from the ground up, businesses can take advantage of cutting-edge sensor technology and cutting-edge wearables produced by mobile device manufacturers.
8. Reduced costs for patients
Readmissions and other adverse events are known to reduce via telemedicine at a cost that is less than the cost of the problems themselves. Let’s look at some of the ways that telemedicine can save money.
Telepathology and teleradiology are examples of remote analytic services that enable resource pooling, resulting in cheaper costs and improved quality care. Smaller facilities with insufficient volume can use telemedicine to pool resources and provide round-the-clock coverage at a lesser cost.
Radiology services in the United States are extremely expensive. Telemedicine, on the other hand, can save money for the healthcare system. Medical pictures such as MRIs, X-rays, and CT scans can be safely transported to offshore locations for more affordable radiology analysis.
Patients who were previously watched as inpatients can now be monitored on an ambulatory basis thanks to remote monitoring technologies.
Health-care providers have seen significant cost savings as a result of this. Bluetooth-enabled medical devices allow for frequent monitoring of vitals (weight, heart rate, blood pressure), which aids doctors in improved diagnosis and enables for pro-active healthcare measures, lowering the chance of critical medical illnesses such as heart attack or renal failure.
The drive to improve patient satisfaction has become ingrained in the medical field. Organizations must focus on how they can enhance it. Telemedicine is possible thanks to a healthcare communications platform.