Are These COVID Healthcare Trends Here to Stay?
The COVID-19 pandemic pushed practices to rethink how they offer care to their patients. Yet, many of the innovations introduced to deliver care safely still make sense and became the new methods that patients expect. We looked at the top trends with the toughest staying power and why today’s patients appreciate them:
Telehealth isn’t a new concept. It dates back to the late 1980s, when medical providers used it to reach patients in remote or rural settings. Yet, for years, licensing and payment for telehealth services were considerable obstacles to its delivery.
COVID-19 quickly pushed aside these sticking points out of necessity. Now, every practice that can offers telehealth services to maintain safety protocols and reach patients with ease. In addition, the expansion of medical insurance coverage for telehealth, including Medicare, also made it easier for healthcare providers to bill virtual visits.
For patients, telehealth can be a great convenience and provide better access to preliminary care. Across specialties and age ranges, telehealth gives people the ability to connect with a medical provider in a shorter amount of time without leaving their home, taking extra time off of work or finding childcare. As a measure of safety and long-term care strategy, healthcare would benefit from telemedicine continuing as a permanent option.
Virtual Waiting Rooms
Virtual waiting rooms have been instrumental in keeping medical practices socially distanced and less crowded. In fact, they have shown to be more effective than conventional waiting rooms and have succeeded in exactly what they were intended for: lowering the risk of spreading infection.
The implementation of virtual waiting rooms creates an extra layer of protection for both staff and patients. In doing so, people became accustomed to pre-registering for visits online, verifying insurance electronically and checking in without picking up a shared pen or clipboard. Moreover, patients liked being able to prepare for a visit in their own time, and not in a busy or crowded office, not knowing who might potentially be ill.
The level of convenience offered by this approach is unmatched. Consequently, virtual waiting rooms made it simpler for patients to get actively involved in their care and have a positive patient experience. While this tool emerged from need, it may continue as the new normal with its improved efficiency and communication.
Pre-COVID, empty seats in a waiting room might reflect a practice’s unpopularity. But with the pandemic, this became the preferred norm.
Reducing patients’ surface contact and using digital tools to check in electronically instead creates a zero-contact check-in experience.
Zero-contact check-in is safer. It helps immunocompromised patients, like oncology patients, to access care while reducing additional risks to their health. Contactless check-in also eliminates lines and long wait times by communicating with patients and collecting data prior to an appointment. Patients can arrive at their doctor’s office with up-to-date information and check in by mobile, kiosk or tablet solution. This eliminates the stress that comes with manual registration processes.
The benefits of zero check-ins are here to stay, as patients expect more efficient methods, and staff can operate more easily with these solutions in place.
Improve Patient Experience with Clearwave
Healthcare changes have happened at a new and accelerated pace. The pandemic forced a shift in healthcare delivery. However, providers and patients have discovered that it’s a safer way of doing things and more efficient and accessible.
Patients show no signs of wanting to go back to the old ways of connecting to and receiving care. Is your medical practice looking to enhance the patient experience? Find out how you can make your practice more efficient by downloading Clearwave’s eBook, “Five Tips for Making Eligibility Easy and Boosting Your Bottom Line.”
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