Incorporating telemedicine into a healthcare practice is a major and impactful decision. Telemedicine solutions can provide an array of benefits for both providers and patients, but in a more practical sense, you may be questioning the revenue-generating capabilities telehealth has to offer. In today’s blog post, we’ll present three scenarios to show how telemedicine can reduce costs and increase revenue.
Reducing Costs at the VA
The Department of Veterans Affairs serves veterans living in a variety of locations, which sometimes forces service members to travel long distances to be seen for an appointment. As an early solution to this issue, the VA implemented a travel reimbursement system for qualifying patients. However, this turned into a major expense for the VA, costing a projected $994,000 for 2018. Telemedicine offers a solution by providing the VA a convenient method to continue to provide care for their service members, while cutting travel costs and reimbursements. A 2016 study published in Telemedicine and e-Health found that telemedicine on average currently saves the VA $18,555 per year in travel costs at the VA Hospital in White River Junction, VT. The study took place between 2005 and 2013, and found that by 2013, the travel pay savings increased to $63,804 due to the increased use of telemedicine. If telemedicine practices increase within the VA, the savings in travel costs can improve even more.
Travel costs are not the only area in which the VA sees reduction in healthcare costs. According to the American Hospital Association, the Veterans Health Administration, who adopted telehealth in the 1990s, saw the following significant decreases in these hospitalizations:
- Mental health patients: 40 percent reduction
- Heart failure and hypertension: 25-30 percent reduction
- Diabetes and COPD: 20 percent reduction
The VA estimated they saved $6,500 per telehealth patient in 2012.
Streamlining Healthcare for More Revenue
Telemedicine can offer increased efficiency in already oversaturated mental health departments. Many mental health clinics and hospitals are overwhelmed by the number of patients requesting appointments, sometimes causing those patients to wait up to a year to be seen. Long wait times often lead patients to forget about appointments, or avoid care altogether, which costs the organization in returns, time, and overall productivity. Providers have the opportunity to ramp up the proficiency in which they see patients by offering telehealth consultations. Video conferencing sessions, extendable and flexible hours, and more personalized care offers providers a way to examine their patients more quickly and efficiently. One such psychiatrist cited an increased practice earnings of $48,000 after implementing telemedicine technology into her practice. Additionally, online therapy sessions have been cited as being equal to or even more effective than traditional in-person consults, creating an improved scenario for both patients and their providers.
Mississippi Pilot Sees Cost Savings in Treating Diabetes
A Health Data Management article highlights a pilot telehealth program in Mississippi that saved over $300,000 in the first 100 diabetic patients treated over six months. The program is a public-private partnership between North Sunflower Medical Center, C Spire, Care Innovations, the Mississippi Division of Medicaid, the Office of the Governor of Mississippi, and the University of Mississippi Medical Center. The results showed a reduction in blood glucose, early recognition of eye disease related to diabetes, reduced travel costs, and no hospitalizations or emergency room visits due to diabetes.
Michael Adcock, executive director for the Center for Telehealth at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, further surmised that more than $180 million would be saved annually if 20 percent of diabetics on Mississippi Medicaid participated in the pilot program.
Let GlobalMed® Help You Increase Revenue
GlobalMed, a veteran-owned business, recognizes the benefit telemedicine solutions have to increase revenue and efficiency for medical practices. We recently released the eNcounter 4 platform which provides physicians with the tools they need to provide quality and timely care to patients, such as integrated video conferencing software and medical devices. Providers have complete control over the platform and are able to tailor available appointment times, lengths, and costs to their organization’s needs.
This level of customizable functionality is unprecedented in the telemedicine market, and gives healthcare organizations the opportunity to see an influx in seen patients and a decrease in - cost and time.
GlobalMed’s commitment to creating smart, quality telemedicine solutions for healthcare organizations continues with the release of eNcounter 4. It is our goal to deliver providers a solution that benefits both patient care and their practice’s business model as a whole.