After the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, making the commute to the doctor’s office is not something that many people desire. Anyone would much rather have the doctors or physicians come to them instead.
This is exactly what telemedicine provides, and 76% of people are interested in telehealth services and deem it better than physical checkups. This number is likely to grow with the rising uncertainties of the Covid-19 pandemic.
For entrepreneurs interested in the healthcare business, this marks a wondrous opportunity that they can presumably capitalize on. Virtualization is taking over numerous industries, including healthcare. That being said, the telemedicine business is a clear prospect that promises an inevitable return on investment.
Starting a business in the telemedicine industry offers you the opportunity to profit from the rapid adoption phase of the industry.
The medical industry and business leaders are realizing that telemedicine technology is instrumental in optimizing the experience between a patient and a physician. The many technologies that fall into the umbrella of telehealth can collectively only generate more profit for healthcare businesses while simultaneously cutting down the costs of the patients.
If you are looking to start a telehealth nursing business, then you need first to have a sound understanding of the telehealth nursing system and the steps needed to convert it into a business.
Read further, as this article breaks down the peculiarities of the telehealth nursing business, along with helpful tips to start one.
Covid-19 And The Telemedicine Industry
The effects of the covid-19 outbreak have been detrimental for patients and burdening for healthcare professions. The highly contagious nature of the virus has led to doctors looking for other ways to treat the patients to minimize contact. This aim has made many practitioners turn towards telemedicine.
Telemedicine is widely defined as the utilization of electronic communication, platforms, and software for patient checkups. In other words, it is a set of online interaction techniques that healthcare professionals can use instead of in-patient checkups.
The telehealth and health education industry has grown consistently. According to Ibis World, the telemedicine industry has seen a growth of 34.7 percent in five years, from 2014 to 2019. According to stats, market capital in 2019 is estimated to be about 45 billion dollars, and experts project the industry to grow to about 175 billion dollars by 2026.
Despite the major increase in revenue, many individuals are taking their time in getting accustomed to telemedicine technology. A study in 2017 revealed that 82 percent of Americans did not partake in telemedicine practice.
However, this drastically changed with the onset of the novel coronavirus. The pandemic initiated a boom in the telehealth industry, and people saw the emergence of countless telehealth companies.
Moreover, since remote checkups involve live video interactions, video conferencing applications significantly increased their revenue. American healthcare facilities have now prioritized telemedicine during the coronavirus pandemic.
As the waves of coronavirus start becoming a norm for society and social distancing laws start taking routine effect, the healthcare industry will likely undergo a transformative change.
Evolution of Telemedicine
The earliest practice of telemedicine was in the mid-20th century. People used radios to communicate with doctors for medical advice while sailing on ships. The first use inside hospitals was around the mid-1900s. This was when healthcare professionals used electronic communication for consultations.
During the last few years, telemedicine practice has spread across many areas of medical practice, and the variety of devices has given rise to the many diverse applications of telehealth technologies.
Telemedicine is now applicable for physicians that deal with heart patients, stroke patients, mental health patients, chronic diseases, diabetes, and more. Due to the rapid advancements in medicine, telemedicine treatment has become quite effective for patients and doctors. Telehealth technology is also crucial for people’s healthcare in rural areas.
The World Health organization uses telemedicine practices and technology to initiate a global medical drive for impoverished countries worldwide. For instant mobile health care devices and access to electronic communication in countries that lack medical infrastructure can benefit vastly from telemedicine.
This is because telemedicine enables a third-world population to receive expert consultations at a very low cost and at their convenience. For the tech-savvy millennial generation, telemedicine has made it easy for them to keep track of their health without spending time and money on physical consultations.
Looking at the prospective future of telemedicine companies, many tech companies are entering the space by launching software and platforms that aid patients and physicians. There is a rising convergence between health and tech companies.
All of the major tech companies are interested in the telemedicine industry and have been trying to incorporate telemedicine practices into their product. For instance, Microsoft is developing many collaboration platforms and services to aid the telemedicine nursing business.
How to Start a Telemedicine Nursing Business
During the coronavirus catastrophe, many businesses have to decide how to sell and serve clients in compliance with the lockdown regulations. The medical industry also has to find ways to offer quality service without physical checkups and face-to-face interactions with the help of telemedicine.
You have to know that there are many nurses and healthcare professionals looking for ways to serve their clients better while also abiding by the social distancing laws. Fortunately, the conveniences that you learn about and create during this pandemic help the healthcare industry move forward.
What Does Telemedicine Nursing Business Offer?
Telehealth refers to the use of digital means and communication technology for healthcare services in a remote setting. It marks the emergence of growing technologies seeping into all aspects of human contact and operations and leading to growth and change.
With the help of technological innovations, industries are coming to realize conveniences. These conveniences also open up opportunities for people to start and grow a business. This also applies to the telehealth business.
Types Of Telemedicine Business Models
There are many diverse telehealth business models that you can start. The telehealth business types include:
- Virtual medicine prescription
- Virtual patient appointments
- Using patient portals for patient-physician interactions
- Food logs, wearable monitoring devices
What Do Nursing Telemedicine Businesses Do?
Telehealth businesses offer healthcare services to patients who are either unable or unwilling to visit the healthcare professional virtually. They would much rather prefer to visit the doctors virtually. This means that as a telemedicine practice, healthcare professionals have to provide services by using online mediums.
In other words, you will have to see patients through video conferencing and offer education using audio, video, or live stream resources. Not to mention, it also involves monitoring the patients with the use of applications and wearable devices. Nurses can also order lab work with the help of virtual assistance software, and electronic medical data can update medical records to check patient progress.
Additionally, a telemedicine business can also coordinate with other insurance companies and handle customer billing. Healthcare facilities that adopt virtualization can offer all the services mentioned above and streamline patient data without facing any issues.
Most businesses provide a hybrid model of telehealth, which includes supplementary telemedicine services instead of exclusive ones. This depends on your business goals as a nurse and where you see your healthcare business in the future.
Traditional Ways Of Starting A Medical Practice
The growth of technology and the internet has been astronomical. This is because technology and software have improved, making it easier for people to communicate over long distances. This is changing the way patients can create a relationship with their practitioners. Similarly, it is also changing the way you can start a business.
This is why starting a business can take different shapes and forms in the modern era. Traditionally, creating a telemedicine business involves purchasing different types of equipment, renting, attaining insurance, and spending on all the paperwork and authorization involved for government and regulatory compliance.
Fortunately, the internet makes it possible to start a healthcare business without spending too much. The virtualization of processes liberates you from spending too much on overheads. Many telemedicine companies in the industry today are starting their practice without worrying too much about the overheads and legal expenses.
This is because they are reversing the traditional process, and the internet allows them to build an audience first before investing in design or legal compliance. Online marketing enables them to build their name and audience before anything else. By doing so, more people know about the business, and you have an audience that is excited to work with you before you even start functioning.
You will find this with kick-starters and other business startup concepts that start by first pitching the idea and gathering interest. After they build a considerable audience interested in their product, they then start working on the product or service that they have established.
Modern Ways Of Starting A Healthcare Business
1. Develop skills and build a customer base
The first thing you would do for a telehealth business is to get the appropriate licenses and skills necessary to get started. Considering that the health industry usually has plenty of educational requirements and legal liabilities, you must start with developing your skills.
These skills for a nursing professional would be to get expertise in a specific healthcare field. To get the right skills, you will have to go to specific schools and institutes that accommodate them. You need to have accreditation to perform various tasks of telemedicine practice.
For example, you cannot perform medical billing duties if you do not have a certificate that proves that you are a medical biller. You can gain skills and license while building an audience simultaneously. This will be advantageous because you will already have established your business and built your audience when you graduate. This will give you a leg up in your telemedicine nursing business.
Keep in mind that regulations and requirements can vary according to the different states in the US. Regardless of legislative differences, the first thing you want to do is develop the fundamental skills required for starting the telemedicine nursing business.
2. Select your Niche
Healthcare is a vast industry, and trying to incorporate many healthcare elements into your business can lead to failure because it is very difficult to manage. This is why it is best to focus on a single niche and demographic. Once you build expertise on a single niche and start getting patient retention, you can expand from that niche.
Examples of telehealth niches include marriage recovery, diabetes consultation, psychiatric therapy, abuse recovery, and many more. It is always better to specialize as it gives the impression of expertise to the customer.
Generalizing your healthcare practice may raise concerns and doubts in the customer’s mind. As a nursing practitioner, your telehealth business will succeed if it is specialized to a certain niche.
3. Develop a telemedicine application
The website or the application serves as the location for your telehealth practice in the virtual world. It is one of the most important aspects of starting a telemedicine business. It is responsible for the first impression that your patients and customers have of your business.
You need an experienced healthcare or telemedicine application development company that can develop an application and optimize it for multiple functionalities, such as scheduling appointments, filling forms, getting educated, paying for appointments, and more. It is also important to focus on website design and make it usable for customers.
Overall, a website can serve as different layers of your business. For instance, you can use it to help with marketing and optimize it for search engines. You can also use it to attract people from social media. This will involve directing people to your website by running ad campaigns.
Besides just being a marketing tool, your website can also run your telemedicine systems. It is important to note that running a system will usually require a different website function and design.
Nonetheless, you can also have a developer integrate all functionalities into one website, whether it is attracting new customers, converting customers, or delivering services.
4. Attract an Audience
Attracting an audience that will be interested in your telemedicine nursing business will be different from marketing for offline practice. Telehealth businesses can benefit from emphasizing internet marketing as the internet is where most of the potential customers will be present.
Different forms of online marketing can help telemedicine businesses reach their target audience. Once you start building online engagement and attract a significant number of people, you can then start email campaigns to further solidify their interest in acquiring your service.
5. Sell the Service
Telehealth or telemedicine businesses make money from selling services or products. As a telehealth service that will be specific to nursing practice, you need to start generating ideas that will be desirable to your target audience. Some of the common telehealth services and products include:
- Consultations or virtual visits
- Health memberships
- Group therapies
- Digital course
- Tracker devices and wearables
The service for a telemedicine nursing business would normally relate to consultations and virtual medical assistance. You can offer private nursing assistance and sell your service online. This would be a more practical approach as nursing requires physical interaction more than virtual assistance.
Some telemedicine businesses generate revenue from offering referrals to businesses and healthcare physicians. People refer to this type of business marketing as affiliate marketing. As a nursing practitioner, you can use your connections and experience in the industry to sell to other businesses and healthcare practices.
As a practicing nurse who already works for patient care, many new healthcare businesses will come to you and be willing to pay good money for your referral. You can use this as a service to deploy online. Moreover, you can also refer medical practitioners to other physicians and patients and set up a commission fee online.
6. Make it Official
Once you have established your telehealth nursing business and figured out your online income stream, you can start turning towards regulatory compliance. This means that you should start incorporating the legal framework that legitimizes your business with the federal health and safety rules. One of the regulatory legislation for health and safety is the HIPAA Law, along with others.
Ultimately, adhering to the steps mentioned above can help you establish a revenue-generating business. However, your persistence and idea will matter the most when it comes to success. If you are willing to invest the money into your business but are unwilling to lay the groundwork for the sales and marketing aspect, then your business is likely to fail.
For a nurse practitioner, working within a telehealth ecosystem can be liberating. It allows you to work from the comfort of your home. However, you must approach all practices by prioritizing patients.
Also, make sure that you are scheduling follow-ups and complying with the HIPAA law. It is also worth keeping in mind that general remote checkups will require nurses to get accustomed to new technology and devices, so make sure that you have mastered the use of telehealth technology before proceeding.