Banty Co-Founder and Medical Director, Dr. Richard Tytus, provided the subject matter and direction for this article. The author would like to thank Adam Grant for his editorial assistance in writing the article. Dr. Richard Tytus takes responsibility for the content of the article.
When we get comfortable in routine, the last thing we want to do is break it. The routine has proven itself to be effective, safe, and true. However, the problem with sticking to just one routine is that you will never know if an alternative routine could prove itself to be more fruitful in the long run.
As it relates to the medical profession, many doctors have grown accustomed to seeing patients in-person. They believe this is the best way to go and don’t want to take a leap and begin offering patients virtual medicine services. With the technology and tools available through telemedicine, though, it would be unwise to sit on the sidelines.
If you, the healthcare professional, commit yourself only to in-person patient appointments, you could miss a number of opportunities, including:
Gaining New Patients
Because of online medicine’s continual upswing in popularity, you have to think about what not offering online doctor’s appointments could mean to your clinic’s ability to gain new patients.
Patients searching for a new doctor, like retail customers, are going to shop around and see who best meets their needs. For someone who has a busy lifestyle, lives in a remote area, or simply likes to avoid in-person waiting rooms as much as possible, they will be more attracted to a clinic that offers doctor-patient video calls, than one that doesn’t.
What’s more, you can’t discount how much a sizeable faction of society prefers to handle many of life’s matters through their computer, smartphone, or tablet – especially the younger generation. Not offering virtual medicine services could mean an inability to gain patients from such demographics.
Maintaining Long-Time Patients
Beyond losing the opportunity to gain patients, not offering telehealth solutions could mean certain individuals on your roster taking their business elsewhere.
Healthcare professionals need to recognize that some individuals are just beginning to understand how to see a doctor online. Once they research the matter and gain a comfort level for it, these patients will ultimately turn to you and see if such virtual visit options are available to them.
If these options are not accessible to them – and the patient is passionate about having doctor-patient video conferences whenever possible – they could seriously consider seeking out another medical clinic that does.
Yes, while the patient and you could have a well-established, lengthy relationship, ultimately, they’ll begin to wonder why you are not making such an easy medical care method available to them.
Providing Convenience to Patients
All healthcare professionals have those patients who have a great deal of difficulty getting to their in-person doctor appointments. This could be due to lack of transit options, scheduling, physical ailments, or even something like paying for parking.
If you have the option to make life easier for patients by offering virtual medicine services, why wouldn’t you?
Doing so would eliminate tired, frustrated, and stressed-out patients from arriving at their appointment with a mindset that could negatively impact their time with the doctor.
Staying Up to Speed with New Treatment Methods
In plain and simple terms, not adopting a virtual medicine solution now means falling behind on a technology that can ultimately improve how you provide care to patients.
The telemedicine sphere is fast moving. New capabilities, features, and options are constantly emerging and giving clinics the tools it needs to have live video chats online with patients on a regular basis.
The longer you wait, the more work it’ll be for your clinic to catch up on what’s available to it, and successfully implement it into your day-to-day operations.
Being Prepared for Future Health Crises
While we all hope to not experience a global health crisis like COVID-19 in our lifetimes again, we have to be prepared for the chance of another pandemic emerging.
Telemedicine existed prior to the pandemic, but use of it increased dramatically in order to continually treat patients while abiding by public health guidelines.
If such a situation were to happen again, how comfortable would you be about being ill-equipped, and having to rush a telehealth solution into your clinic under such duress?
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