Integrating Telehealth with Office Visits Enhances Patient Care
The patient-centered care model must accommodate a patient’s preferences, which in today’s medicine, means offering telehealth solutions mixed with in-person visits. When the COVID-19 pandemic began, it led to lockdowns forcing people to seek creative solutions for the medical care they needed, while ensuring their safety during a time with so many unknowns.
We learned how effective telehealth can be at reaching patients in between their regular in-office visits. And patients found incredible convenience in seeing their doctor remotely from anywhere.
Combing the benefits of in-office visits with telehealth visits makes care convenient, accessible and simple, meaning patients are more likely to stay on their prescribed care plan, which can lead to better outcomes.
Why a Hybrid-Care Model?
An estimated 1 million patients experienced the ease of telehealth visits in 2020. This approach enabled them to integrate their care into their daily schedule, such as during a lunch hour or early in the morning before their day became hectic.
Telehealth isn’t just about meeting a doctor virtually. Modern technology allows for remote patient monitoring that keeps patients and care providers in regular contact. Messaging allows for quick questions and incredible access to the wealth of knowledge care providers possess.
Smart devices have increased the information that patients can share remotely with their providers and made it possible to track chronic diseases from home. Patients can see trends and changes in their health through portals where they log the data. And so can medical professionals who might get alerted that the patient needs a visit or change in medications to get back on track.
Yet, there are still aspects of in-person visits that are important. Meeting and getting to know a care provider has value. And some medical evaluations require that a health care professional be in the room with the patient.
No matter the advances in technology, healthcare will still require an element of in-office visits. The art of building a patient-centered health system combines office visits with telehealthcare.
Managing conditions and diseases with a hybrid model allows patients more freedom to care for themselves while getting the professional oversight and expertise they need to avoid major health concerns and hospitalizations. The following are some examples of conditions that are well-served with a hybrid care approach.
- Cardiovascular disease
- High blood pressure
- HIV infection
- End-stage renal disease
- At-risk pregnancy and NICU babies
Benefits of Telehealth and In-person Care
Bringing together the benefits of both telehealth and in-person care can result in better patient outcomes and improved revenue streams for providers.
Hybrid Healthcare Patient Benefits
- Improved access to medical care to reduce disparities minorities and low-income patients experience
- Create realistic treatment plans that patients can and will follow
- Better quality of care and health outcomes, especially when managing chronic conditions
Hybrid Healthcare Provider Benefits
- Cost savings associated with a reduction in readmissions
- Increased patient satisfaction, which can aid in patient retention
- Flexibility to see more patients despite growing demands on the health care system and limited resources
How Hybrid Care Integrates with Patient-centeredness
The aging U.S. population is placing some strain on the healthcare system and will continue to grow. Projections show that the American population of those ages 65 and older will more than double by 2060, meaning finding solutions and care resources is essential.
Medicare is supporting hybrid care with new billing codes and approvals for paying for these services, which is good news for the healthcare system that is stretched by the change in the U.S. population and their medical care needs.
There are only so many resources, medical professionals and appointment time slots. And pandemic data proves that the aging population is ready and comfortable with using technology for their healthcare needs.
Research conducted by the Picker Institute and Harvard Medical School highlight eight principles of patient-centered care including:
- Respect for patients’ preferences
- Coordination and integration of care
- Information and education
- Physical comfort
- Emotional support
- Involvement of family and friends
- Continuity and transition
- Access to care
Hybrid healthcare serves each of these principles to help providers focus on patient needs and preferences. In a variety of ways.
For example, patients can choose to share their smart device data with a family member to get them more involved in their care. That way, family members can live with peace of mind knowing they’ll get alerts about their loved ones in case they need help, which can lead to older adults staying independent longer.
And telehealth solutions can help patients stay in the comfort of their homes and avoid hospitalization, which can work wonders for their comfort. Even while at home, they’ll have their trusted medical professionals within a click or instant message to improve their emotional support while living with certain conditions.
When providers engage in telemonitoring to reduce hospitalization, studies show that they’ll see a 3.3 return on investment.
The benefits of a hybrid healthcare model bringing together in-office visits with telehealth solutions are immense. To see how your organization might take advantage of these opportunities to focus on patient-centered care, learn more about the AMC Health solutions.