Virtual Care Management: Benefits and Features

Key Takeaways

  • Virtual care management promotes remote monitoring. The 2021 Mayo Clinic’s RPM program showed positive outcomes, low hospitalization rates, high patient engagement, and a low 30-day mortality rate.
  • High prevalence of chronic diseases in the USA (170 million chronically ill patients) is promoting the usage of virtual care systems such as telehealth, patient portals, and RPM.
  • Crucial features of virtual care management include video conferencing, e-prescriptions, payment management, appointment bookings, vitals tracker, and reminders.

According to a report, around $250 billion of healthcare expenses is estimated to be shifted to virtually enabled care. Busy schedules, low care expenses, and convenience drive virtual care adoption among providers and patients alike.

Virtual care management brings positive changes to the healthcare sector. This includes enhanced patient satisfaction, high-quality care, and 24/7 connection with care facilities. Let’s look at some of the key benefits and features.

Key Benefits of Virtual Care Management

1. Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM)

Remote patient monitoring helps healthcare providers to improve the quality of care and outcomes. According to the 2021 Mayo Clinic’s RPM program, only 9.4 percent of patients were admitted to the hospital within 30 days of discharge or enrollment. The RPM program showed positive outcomes, low hospitalization rates, high patient engagement, and a low 30-day mortality rate.

Physicians can easily track vitals, prescriptions, and medication alerts, and seek follow-ups through remote patient monitoring software. This eventually ameliorates patient outcomes and engagement. RPM played a crucial role during the Covid-19 pandemic. The growing number of patients in clinics and hospitals due to Covid-19, compelled physicians to actively use virtual care tactics such as RPM.

In a study published by The Permanente Journal, the use of RPM to treat Covid-19 patients significantly reduces hospital readmission rates and ensures quality care. Virtual care management also reduces physicians’ burnout as they can schedule appointments and attend to patients whenever possible.

2. Chronic Care

According to the American Hospital Association (AHA), the number of people suffering from chronic diseases is estimated to reach 170 million in the USA. Hypertension, arthritis, respiratory diseases, cholesterol diseases, and chronic mental conditions are amongst the most prevalent chronic diseases emerging in the USA.

Virtual care management is a plausible solution to manage the growing number of chronic disease patients. Telehealth is a growing form of virtual care widely used by patients and providers alike.

The video appointment feature of telehealth allows healthcare providers to treat chronic conditions by:

  • Follow-up appointments to check on patients regularly.
  • Explanation of imaging and test results.
  • Fitness and nutrition counseling.
  • Regular check-ins for patients diagnosed with diabetes, hypertension, heart ailments, etc.

Several chronic conditions such as diabetes are incurable, hence it’s essential to establish a robust virtual care system to assist such patients.

Virtual care management is capable of handling the daily ins and outs of the geriatric population, including their medical finances. Patient-centric healthcare software such as telemedicine, remote patient monitoring, medical billing, data management, etc., aid in better managing virtual care for patients.

3. Reduced Healthcare Costs

Virtual care management benefits employees to take a proactive approach toward their health. For instance, if they become sick, they’ve to head to the emergency room or urgent care for a quick solution. Employees end up paying extra for the ED expenses if it isn’t an urgent issue.

Employees don’t benefit from the continued care, hence virtual care helps to reduce extra healthcare costs, without compromising on the quality of care.

Additionally, virtual care services such as telehealth reduce care costs by eliminating the need to travel to hospitals for check-ups. It mitigates the need for expensive medical procedures or a follow-up with a medical specialist by efficiently providing care services.

Virtual care management allows patients to seek medical care from home, thus preventing unnecessary hospital admissions. Thereby, saving money on resources, which otherwise would be spent by hospitals and clinics.

Crucial Features of Virtual Care Management Software

1. Virtual Appointment Scheduling

Online appointment scheduling is convenient for patients who have a hectic routine or are unable to travel to a clinic. Usually, healthcare services record appointments during business hours, however with online scheduling users can easily book their slots at any time.

Independent physicians maximize their appointments. However, no-shows and last-minute cancellations hinder practice growth and daily routine. Online scheduling provides real-time availability of slots, and patients looking for an instant appointment can be filled in.

Furthermore, online scheduling lessens the burden on the front desk staff by reducing their administrative work. Patients can fill in their details online, thus eliminating manual documentation at the front desk.

2. Access to Medical Records

Virtual care management has made it convenient for patients and healthcare providers to access medical records via servers. Integration of EHRs, patient portals, and billing software with virtual care systems ensures seamless access to records. However, as per HIPAA these records aren’t shared or transferred without patient authorization.

Physicians can check on past medical history while prescribing medication, performing surgeries, or conducting diagnoses. Additionally, if a patient wishes to change his/her doctor or shifts to another part of the country, these medical records can be transferred to the respective provider.

3. Payment Management

Digital payments have picked up pace since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. Incorporating medical billing software in a virtual care management system can help in better payment management. Payment opportunities facilitated by virtual care include:

  • Digital Wallets: Integrated in-app wallets such as Google Pay or Apple Pay.
  • Installment Billing: This consists of a buy now and pay later option, or installment plans.
  • Linking HSA/FSA accounts and supplementary cards.
  • Retail-Centric Billing: This encompasses recurring billing and upfront billing. Thus, enabling transparency and decreasing non-payment.

4. E-prescribing

Handwritten prescriptions are difficult to decipher, hence leading to medication errors. These errors can further cause adverse health conditions, fatalities, hospitalization, or even disabilities in patients. Hence, to avoid this scenario, e-prescriptions are being adopted by healthcare providers and pharmacies.

E-prescribing also prevents drug usage among people. With e-prescribing patients easily refill their medicines by placing an order at the nearest pharmacy. Doctors and pharmacists can view past prescriptions and suggest changes if required.

5. Video Conferencing

Video conferencing is an essential aspect of virtual care management. Often patients tend to suppress their health conditions during video conferencing due to privacy issues.

However, HIPAA-compliant video conferencing ensures that patient details are kept confidential. This especially proves to be vital for people seeking mental health therapies. Psychiatrists assure them of the safety and privacy of their mental health conditions.

6. Reminders

Reminders play a significant role for those patients who are forgetful of their appointments, medications, and care routine. Timely reminders prevent no-shows at clinics and ensure that patients make it in time for their appointments.

Medication reminders are helpful for patients who intake multiple pills daily. People tend to forget their care routine due to busy schedules, hence a gentle reminder helps to stay on par with their wellness regime.

7. Vitals Tracker

This feature is useful for providers who attend to patients via remote patient monitoring. They can easily stay updated about blood pressure levels, oxygen, heart rate, and temperature. Doctors are alerted in case of any fluctuations in the vital signs and they can check up on patients.

Wrapping Up

The growing use of smartphones and the rise in technological advancements are paving way for virtual care management. Software such as telemedicine, RPM, patient portals, and EHRs ensure a robust virtual care system.

Patients can constantly stay in touch with their care providers via messaging, video conferencing, or calls. This is an ideal option for the elderly and those who have a busy schedule.

Arkenea specializes in healthcare software development that promotes virtual healthcare. With over 10 years of experience in the industry, Arkenea has provided cutting-edge software solutions to its clients. If you’re also looking for healthcare software for your organization, then just get in touch with Arkenea.