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Virtual Health – are you ready?

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As we begin to move into a post-COVID-19 world, virtual health is moving to the forefront. Virtual healthcare versus telehealth, refers to the many ways healthcare providers interact with their patients remotely. It is the “virtual visits” that take place between providers and their patients via communications technology. The shifting healthcare landscape has seen a rapid expansion in the adoption of virtual health and early adopters of robust virtual health initiatives have kept pace with the quickly and ever-changing healthcare market. The coronavirus completely upturned traditional care models and the way visits are billed. Due to this, the need for virtual care extends far beyond hospitals and health systems. We are now all in the health business.

Recently, Parks Associates, a medical research firm, released a report that showed that 60% of U.S. households are interested in remote care that would take place online or by phone. Even as the country starts to reopen, many patients will be reluctant to visit their provider. Virtual health is no longer a convenience, it is a necessity. It is not about replacing clinicians, but about supplementing providers and improving the delivery of care. Additionally, providers can reduce costs, improve outcomes and expand access to care.

It’s also worth noting that demand for virtual health can enhance patient-provider interactions and improve the overall patient experience. A virtual visit pilot program at Brigham and Women’s Hospital yielded a 97% satisfaction rate among patients. Almost 75% of those patients indicated that that their interaction with their provider actually improved that relationship. It remains to be seen if these positive experiences mean that patients are less willing to visit their providers in person in the future.

Educating your patients and giving them a positive billing experience can improve patient satisfaction even further. Billing for virtual health can be very confusing, especially since the guidelines are still forming. With all of the questions surrounding virtual visit billing, it is as important as ever for patients to be informed of and understand their self-pay responsibility. This will lead to satisfied patients and increased collections for virtual visits.

Going forward, more and more patients are going to expect virtual care as standard. Are you ready?