Will telemedicine do to healthcare what Amazon did to retail?

There has been a lot of talk and excitement around the famous (and infamous) Amazon effect, and if telemedicine will do the same to healthcare. Many questions have emerged from the medical community, like “will this technology affect my number of patients?” and “how is this going to change the way I interact with my patients?” Physicians, you have the right to question any technology that affects the way you interact with your patients! We know that it takes a long time and devotion to build a practice and you want to offer your patients the very best care. We’re here to tell you that no, this technology will not affect the way you interact with patients. Plot twist: telemedicine can actually improve your day-to-day interaction with patients! There’s no doubt that telemedicine is helping reshape how you (the physician) deliver care to you patients by giving both you and the patient added flexibility, but there are fundamental differences between Amazon’s journey to replace the traditional retail environment and what the medical profession is experiencing – making healthcare easier and more accessible to patients, all while maintaining (or increasing) the level of connection between patient and physician.

A look into your day

When you first decided to pursue general practice/family medicine, you probably imagined that most of your time would be spent consulting one-on-one with your patients to provide the best care possible. Reflecting on the past year, how many hours a day do you usually spend with patients? Our guess is that you usually spend a big chunk of your day (and your staff’s day) dealing with the administrative conundrum that comes with running a medical practice! It’s okay, you’re not alone! Many physicians can relate to the politics, constant costs, and never-ending administrative duties it takes to keep a medical practice afloat in the present day.

In addition, healthcare is weighed down by some of the most stringent regulatory restrictions and challenges compared to any other sector, making it difficult for physicians to see telemedicine’s return on investment. Do you just think to yourself sometimes, “I just want to get back to the medicine?!” That’s where we (the Sniffle team) come in. We believe our approach is a win-win for both you and your patients!

We know it’s personal

There’s a lot of players in the healthcare landscape (providers, payers, vendors, legislators) and in order to treat patients at your practice, you must learn to cohesively work with all of them. What if there’s a way to simplify this process without forgoing the level of care you give to your patients? Unlike the questionable impact Amazon has had on retail jobs, telemedicine is doing the opposite and is actually strengthening the patient-doctor relationship, enabling a better view into patients’ preventative and long-term care. For an added bonus, through Sniffle physicians get to set their own fees. It’s completely free for your practice!

At Sniffle, we’re making it personal with our free app for physicians and patients that enables access to primary care from practically anywhere! Remember when doctors used to make home visits to treat patients? We’re bringing it back! We believe in the shift to telemedicine so much that we’ve made it possible to do what other apps and services aren’t doing – giving patients the ability to see a doctor of their choice without having to wait in a germ-infested waiting room or leave the home when they’re feeling ill. We’re helping physicians, like you, put the patient back at the center of care while you build in efficiencies, have more flexibility in setting your own rates and hours, and here’s a thought… bring in more revenue!

Telemedicine is vital to a healthy practice and can help you build stronger, more beneficial relationships with your patients. Doctors across the country are starting to adopt virtual care, and here at Sniffle we want to help you bring the focus back to the patients!

It’s true! Industry reports echo telemedicine’s impact

In a 2017 Telehealth & Telecare Aware article covering the American Telemedicine Association (ATA) Conference, contributor Bruce Judson hypothesized that telemedicine will disrupt location-based care and that health systems and payers are in denial of its power! Some of his points are:

  • Telemedicine will start to incorporate continuous feedback loops to further optimize their services and move into virtual health coaching and chronic care management.
  • Platforms will be successful if they are trusted through positive patient experiences. This is a consumer-satisfaction model.
  • The internet and retail do not endure the sheer volume of regulatory force imposed on healthcare, which tends to make the retail analogy inexact. Governments monitor and regulate health outcomes, not search results or video downloads.

Did you know that a recent Accenture report states that telehealth will be a billion-dollar industry, and that healthcare providers large and small are adopting virtual care platforms to drive new business and connect with their patients outside the office? If that’s not enough to convince you, another recent survey, conducted by the University of Missouri’s School of Medicine, found that more than 80 percent of providers and consumers are comfortable with video-based care! It looks like your patients are ready to adopt this new and exciting technology!

At UMass Memorial, Senior Medical Director Thomas Scornavacca, DO, relies on mHealth tools to help a network of physicians “keep the patient in the middle of care.” Without those touches, he believes a physician might lose patients to the retail clinic down the street or a competing telehealth platform that promises on-demand care! Looks like physicians all over the country are starting to see the power of telemedicine!

In a Medical Economics article about integrating telehealth into your practice, key points include:

  • Telehealth doesn’t replace face-to-face encounters with physicians. Instead, it can augment the doctor/patient relationship.
  • We’re at the tipping point of the shift. Patients already schedule appointments online, review lab tests and email their doctors. Remember, most people rarely walk into a bank and deal with a teller these days because of ATM machines, and there was a time when patients were reluctant to use a portal.
  • Telemedicine visits help triage urgent requests to see a physician when the office is closed, mental health visits required for follow-up and prescription refills, follow up for diabetes, high cholesterol, hypertension and hyperthyroidism, not to mention help with the big issue hospitals face, non-emergent visits to EDs.

The ATA is practically saying “don’t tell us the sky is the limit when there are footprints on the moon,” because telemedicine greatly improves the quality, equity, and affordability of healthcare throughout the world. Telemedicine is starting to become the norm in healthcare facilities of all types and sizes and you can be one of the early adopters!

Docs, we’ve got your back

Telemedicine is changing healthcare for the better by giving doctors the chance to fully focus on what’s truly important: treating patients.