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How to Plan for Telehealth in 2021

A Simple ROI Model

When the pandemic broke out in March, post-acute care providers and facilities quickly pivoted to telehealth in adaptation to new requirements of social distancing and minimum exposure to the most vulnerable populations. Telehealth appeared to be the perfect replacement for routine in-person visits and instrumental to undisrupted consultations and care. Six months later, telehealth can no longer exist as a quick fix. As a new year begins, the role of telehealth in your care systems and how to plan for it in 2021. The simplest way to look at it is through is its return on investment (ROI).

At the beginning of the pandemic, many people thought of telehealth as a replacement for an in-person consultation. But what we have seen more and more often among our clients and partners is the utilization of telehealth as a supplement instead of replacement to traditional in-person visits. So instead of looking at how telehealth can help maintain the ROI of traditional, we’re going to look at how telehealth can add value to your practices and facilities, even beyond the pandemic.
Read more on the effects of COVID-19 on post-acute practices.

Two scenarios fit most providers in the post-acute care space:

Scenario 1: Multi-building or multi-location practitioners

In this case, providers need to be in more than one building to maintain their census or cover the entire company. The biggest challenge for providers of this category is the time and effort it takes to travel back and forth in their daily schedule, yet maintain the agility to see urgent patients should the needs arise.

This is very common in Post-Acute/Long Term Care healthcare. It impacts both the providers and patients alike. Providers need to postpone certain non-urgent visits to allow for more urgent cases and the time it takes to travel to their locations. Patients, as a result, have to deal with delayed visits, uncertain schedules and sometimes even frustration.

Telehealth removes the travel issue by allowing the provider to perform the service from any location. It creates an extra layer of flexibility and agility for providers to quickly and efficiently attend to all patients. More time for patient care, less on traveling and administrative tasks.

Scenario 2: After-hour emergent issues.

Providers may have their normal working hours, but emergent issues may strike at any time. It could be as soon as they step out of the facility, or while they are sleeping. With the normal mode of visits and communication, this could require a physical visit at the facility. Secure and HIPAA-compliant, SNFConnect Platform can help care providers quickly and securely turn a phone call into a virtual visit without any disruption.

Telehealth platforms like SNFConnect are a communication system adapted to HIPPA-compliance for medical use. They are built specifically for virtual consultations with attention to the ease of use for all parties involved and integration with existing medical systems such as record keeping and billing.

For a nurse to turn a phone call into a virtual consultation, they only need to invite the caller to connect through a web link instead of a proprietary application. The nurse would then enter the provider’s meeting id and the provider would continue with the telehealth visit.

These two scenarios have demonstrated that telehealth can be value-add to post-acute care practices and facilities even beyond the pandemic. More than ever, agility and efficiency is key to undisrupted care and future growth. Invest in a sustainable telehealth system now to unlock continuous growth in 2021.

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