Many healthcare systems are also trying to reduce both the number of hospital visits and the length of stay in hospital, which has led a growing trend for patients to be monitored in their home environment and as a result, a growing trend for telemedicine market.
According to a new market research report, "Global Telemedicine Market - Growth, Trends & Forecasts (2015-2020)", published by Mordor Intelligence, the global market for telemedicine is expected to be worth more than $34 billion by the end of 2020. Researchers say that driving this rapid market growth, is an increasing aged population, increasing incidences of chronic diseases and rapid rise in the software market.
With approximately 1.3 billion smartphones shipped in 2014 alone, the increasing growth in smartphone adoption will continue to drive both mHealth and telemedicine markets. With this boom in mhealth options, for physicians, it could be overwhelming task when trying to pick which telemedicine provider to work for.
Here’s our top 5 tips for deciding which telemedicine company to work with.
1. Technology support. Telemedicine is dependent on technology. Do not credential with a company if it is difficult to get immediate help from tech support. Problems finishing or starting a consult can be disastrous, so make sure you can get immediate tech support. If companies send automatic emails saying they will get back to you within 24 hours, their expectation of immediate support is obviously different than yours. Responsive tech support is your lifeline to your patients.
2. Nurse support. Often times overwhelmed with work, nurses play a key role in functional telemedicine. Tele nurses can connect to your patients via direct call back numbers in a way that you cannot. They are also able to call in prescriptions to pharmacies if the platform is down or if the patient entered incorrect pharmacy information. Make sure that the company you work for has a nurse that can call you back right away. A few telemedicine companies are understaffed with nurses, and it can take hours for a callback. This can be extremely frustrating to deal with, especially considering the key to telemedicine is volume,.
3. Volume. Telemedicine allows you to stay connected to outpatient medicine. If you are looking towards a telemedicine platform to be your main source of income, then volume is everything. Many telemedicine companies will go on and on about how many calls they get per day, but the important questions are how many of those calls come in from states that you are licensed in and how many providers they have licensed in those states.Want higher volume, then ask if they will pay for your license in states with higher needs. Some do, and some do not. If you are willing to pay to be licensed in additional states, then ensure that our of pocket cost is worth it by making sure the volume is high enough.
4. Malpractice coverage. Malpractice coverage is standard in many companies as part of their credentialing package. If not, then make sure your malpractice coverage covers you for telemedicine.
5. Have fun! Telemedicine has been enjoyable for many physicians. They enjoy being able to have the time to educate their patients during intimate mhealth consults. The technological aspect of telemedicine and understanding all of the different platforms gives you a unique opportunity to practice your outpatient skills from the comfort of your home.
Aptly named, Enclothed Cognition is the official Medelita blog for medical professionals interested in topics relevant to a discerning and inquisitive audience. Medelita was founded by a licensed clinician who felt strongly about the connection between focus, poise and appearance.