How To Use Telehealth To Increase The Profitability Of Your Practice

artwork depicting telehealth profitability
telehealth profitability

The COVID-19 pandemic put a spotlight on telehealth and brought it into the mainstream for millions of Americans. While virtual care isn’t the necessity it once was in 2020, it still remains  popular among patients as a convenient way to access care for non-essential consultations.   

If you’re a provider and you haven’t yet implemented telehealth in your practice, it’s a business decision you should consider. Telehealth can increase the profitability of your practice, reduce overhead, and improve patient retention. 

In this article, we will explain the ways in which telehealth can generate more revenue for your practice as well as the potential drawbacks of implementing a virtual care program.

 

Telehealth and Insurance Parity Laws

Before we discuss the profitability of telehealth, it’s important to first discuss the laws surrounding virtual care, specifically insurance parity laws. Depending on what state you practice in, insurance parity laws may directly affect your practice’s bottom line should you choose to offer telehealth.  There are two types of insurance parity laws, coverage parity laws and payment parity laws. For providers, payment parity is particularly important.

 

Coverage Parity 

Coverage Parity or service parity requires insurance companies to provide the same level of coverage for telehealth services as in-person care. This is meant to ensure that telehealth does not end up costing the patient more than an in-person appointment. Depending on the insurer, a provider may receive some degree of reimbursement.

So far, there are 43 states that mandate coverage parity for telehealth services. 

 

Payment Parity 

Payment parity requires insurers to reimburse providers for telehealth services at the same rate as in-person care.  During the pandemic, 22 states enacted temporary payment parity measures as it became apparent that telehealth would be the only way for patients and providers to access and deliver care.[1] With those measures now expired, only 12 states have permanent payment parity laws on the books. Those states include: 

  • Virginia 
  • Tennessee
  • New Mexico
  • New Jersey 
  • Missouri 
  • Maryland
  • Kentucky 
  • Georgia
  • Delaware
  • Colorado
  • Arkansas

For more information on payment and coverage parity, visit the National Academy For State Health Policy’s website.   

To learn more about state requirements for the implementation for telehealth, please visit our  guide.

 

How Telehealth Can Increase Your Practice’s Revenue  

Employing telehealth technology at your practice can greatly increase revenue. Although there is a small initial investment, if you develop a solid marketing strategy and a workflow plan to efficiently manage billing and scheduling, you’ll recoup your money in no time.  

 

Reduce Missed Appointments And Cancellations 

If you’re struggling with no-show appointments or late cancellations, providing patients with a virtual care option might be the answer. We’re all juggling many responsibilities in day-to-day life, from work to taking care of kids. By offering patients the convenient option of a virtual visit from anywhere, you’re making it easier to overcome barriers to care such as transportation issues, child care, etc.. 

 

More Appointments

According to American Well, the average telehealth appointment lasts between 13-15 minutes.[2] The time saved using telehealth can allow you to see more patients each day. As a result, your telehealth program will end up paying for itself very quickly.  

 

Reach New Patients 

There’s many patients who lack access to adequate care for a variety of reasons. Some live in rural or remote areas and some deal with unique circumstances such as debilitating anxiety or compromised immune systems that make visiting public places an unsafe undertaking. By offering telehealth, you can acquire these new patients who would not have otherwise come to your practice.

 

Improve Productivity

Using telehealth can lighten the workload of your office staff. With less time spent managing the patient journey, your staff can prioritize ways to improve workflow operations which will save money in the long run.

 

Increase Patient Retention 

According to a survey conducted by The Harris Poll, 46% of Americans prefer a combination of in-person and telehealth appointments.[3] Since the pandemic, many patients have become accustomed to the convenience and flexibility offered by telehealth for non-essential checkups. In order for providers to stay ahead of broader trends in healthcare, it’s important to listen to the needs and preferences of patients. 

 

The Drawbacks of Telehealth  

Although the benefits of implementing telehealth far outweigh the disadvantages, it’s important to take into account all the implications of using virtual care in your clinic. Here is a brief list of cons associated with telehealth: 

  • Assessment limitations – it’s impossible to conduct a physical exam. 
  • Unclear local regulations. 
  • Complications with interoperability in EHR. 
  • Additional equipment or downloads. 

Beam Up Your Revenue Growth 

At Beam Health, we have helped many providers start successful telehealth programs and we are confident we can do the same for you. Beam requires no download, supports EHR integration and offers a suite of healthcare management tools such as appointment scheduling and streamlined billing. If you have any questions about implementing telehealth at your practice, don’t hesitate to get in contact. Our highly-rated customer experience team is always happy to help. For more information and to schedule a free demo, click here

 

Sources: 

[1] https://www.healthaffairs.org/do/10.1377/hblog20210503.625394/full/

[2]http://go.americanwell.com/rs/335-QLG-882/images/American_Well_Telehealth_Index_2017_Consumer_Survey.pdf 

[3] https://telehealth.org/telehealth-appointments/ 

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