Tag Archives: telehealth

Telemedicine for Patient Follow Up Visits - Proficient Rx

Improving Patient Follow Up Rate Through Telehealth and Direct Dispensing

Patient follow up visits are associated with a reduction in readmission and positive outcomes, especially in hospital and clinical settings. Telehealth and direct dispensing can help to improve patient follow up rate.

When doctors and physicians can encourage their patients to come in for a post-operative or post-treatment check-up, particularly in cases of high (but not extremely high) readmission risk, they can substantially reduce that risk. However, despite the data supporting patient follow up visits, the US reports that anywhere from 5 to 55 percent of patients fail to show up to their follow up appointments. These “no-shows” are defined as “patients who neither kept nor canceled scheduled appointments”. Since identifying the problem, researchers are working on identifying potential influencing factors and effective solutions.

 

Why Patient Follow Up Rate Matters

Regardless of whether a patient visits a physician for a general checkup, an injury, disease, or a chronic condition, it’s rare for a patient’s care and recovery to begin and conclude within a single visit. The process towards a positive outcome is usually longer than that, sometimes spanning a few weeks, sometimes requiring years of treatment.

While the physician plays an important role in guiding a patient’s recovery and providing them with immediate care for acute symptoms as well as medication recommendations, they cannot spend every moment of the day managing their patient’s health. Patient follow up visits, then, serve as important reminders to patients to schedule an appointment after the initial visit to ensure that things are developing in the right direction and that no new symptoms of issues have developed in the interim.

A low follow up rate would suggest that patients are not coming back a second time, which can lead to poorer outcomes, poorer patient-physician relationships, and a poorer record of a patient’s health and how their condition is developing. When patient follow up visits are encouraged, physicians can catch adverse effects and complications earlier on, or simply reassure a patient that their recovery is going well (which is always a good thing to hear).

 

How Telehealth Can Improve Follow Up Rate

Patients understand that follow up is important. They recognize that failing to show up for an appointment to check up on them after treatment can be dangerous. And yet, many still end up being a “no-show”. The burning question is: why? 

The answer is predictably complex and depends on the circumstances of the patient. Even in a largely nonindigent suburban population where the cost of healthcare was unlikely to be a factor, many failed to show up citing difficulty getting off work (lack of time), having little understanding of the trajectory of their disease (lack of medical literacy), and disability. Furthermore, it seems that the severity of a patient’s condition does not tend to have a significant impact on the likelihood of attending follow up visits.

The cited issues would benefit immensely from direct dispensing and telehealth services, which aim to reduce inconvenience and save patients a significant amount of time and energy while providing a high-quality service via safely encrypted HD video and audio.

Modern telehealth software will play an important role in helping healthcare providers rapidly modernize and offer services to patients who cannot rely on them due to disability, cost, inconvenience, or forgetfulness. The ease-of-use of eHealth programs and software also helps improve patient adherence, as it’s just much easier to check in and get in touch with a doctor via video than it is to adhere to a physical appointment, particularly now when one-on-one contact is still a safety concern.

As patients grow increasingly worried about privacy in the Information Age, healthcare providers must also anticipate and address worries and fears surrounding how their information is stored and used, and what degree of privacy a video communications platform or biometric wearables might offer them.

 

It’s Often About Patient Education 

One of the important roles a physician must play is as an advisor to their patient’s health and wellbeing. As we continue to move away from the model of medical authority towards a model of a healthier patient-physician relationship, we must continue to provide clear advice and understanding to our patients.

We should not simply ask a patient to take medication because it will help, but provide them with the means to understand:

  • How their medication will help
  • How their condition might develop
  • What to watch out for
  • What type of home care to consider
  • Other helpful information to guide them towards a much better and clearer picture of their overall health and condition

Encouraging patients to take charge of their health is not only a great way to foster and improve patient engagement, but research has been making it increasingly clear that patient education can improve health outcomes and help patients make smarter, more informed decisions, including those related to patient follow up and adherence.

 

Direct Dispensing and Patient Adherence

As patient adherence continues to be one of the most pressing concerns in the healthcare industry, costing us around 125,000 lives a year, the roles that telehealth and direct dispensing can play in improving patient adherence are critical.

By leveraging the greater demand for efficiency and convenience, offering a safer way to improve patient follow up and adherence during COVID-19 (and beyond), and by removing barriers of access to clearer information and quality medication, physicians can continue to optimize their practice to improve short-term outcomes and long-term adherence.

Proficient Rx offers physicians and other healthcare providers a turnkey web-based direct dispensing system, supplying eligible clients with repackaged branded as well as generic OTC and prescription medication. Designed to be easy-to-use and accessible via any secure hardware, our web-based direct dispensing system gives physicians the ability to easily track and manage inventory, print custom labels, and provide crucial medication at the point-of-care.

Given the growing importance of telehealth and eHealth services, we also provide a virtual visit software solution directly through our dispensing portal, so you can help your patients easily and conveniently seek follow up care from the comfort of their own home.

Our software is HIPAA-compliant, DEA-approved, and supports encrypted HD video and audio. To ensure patient safety, we also help physicians set up dispensing via curbside pick-up at the providers location, so nearby patients don’t need to risk getting the medication they need elsewhere.

 

Contact Us Today for Direct Dispensing and Telehealth Services to Improve Patient Follow Up - Proficient Rx

Telemedicine Benefits - Proficient Rx

6 Telemedicine Benefits: Why It Is So Important During These Uncertain Times

As the country is changing the way it operates due to COVID-19, there has been a rise of telehealth, and these 6 telemedicine benefits show how it can positively impact both patients and practitioners. 

The US is facing a serious public health crisis in the form of COVID-19. With most of the country abiding by stay-at-home orders, save for essential services, many Americans with chronic health conditions who rely on regular visits to the local doctor or a nearby clinic find themselves worried about their immediate future.

To help provide critical medical care and organize the delivery of necessary medications, healthcare providers around the country are turning to telemedicine as an effective means to continue caring for the country’s most vulnerable.  There are many telemedicine benefits for both patients and practitioners.

Enforcing Stay-At-Home Rules

The people who require ongoing medical care the most are often also the people who would suffer the most from contracting COVID-19. The disease, caused by a novel coronavirus, attacks and affects the body’s respiratory system and heart, posing a greater threat to people with autoimmune conditions, diabetes, asthma, cancer, and other debilitating and chronic health problems.

Telemedicine is important to help people who are at-risk stay at home.

Keeping Clinic & ICU Capacity High

By curbing the rate at which the virus burns through the population, the government is slowing down the rate at which infections spread. This is important to ensure that those who do get sick are not turned down by medical services because all nearby clinics and hospitals are at-capacity and cannot accept any more patients.

While the death rate for the virus is low, and it rarely causes complications among younger patients, this helps the virus spread faster and gravely affect those who are more likely to encounter complications during an infection. But one of the biggest telemedicine benefits is that it can help slow the spread of the virus and reduce the rate at which hospital ICUs are filling up.

Improved Medication Adherence & Health Monitoring

By leveraging existing and new technologies, healthcare providers can more easily check up on their patients through telehealth services, stimulating medication adherence.

Secure, encrypted web-based platforms that can easily be accessed by physicians via in-office computers and their phone alike allow them to track and monitor the wellbeing of their most at-risk patients, and provide timely remote care (or immediate medical attention, in the case of an emergency).

Improved Access to Healthcare Services

Some of the barriers to better healthcare for people include cost and geographical distance. This is especially true for the elderly and those with functional mobility issues because of a disability.

One of the most beneficial telemedicine benefits is that it can greatly reduce both the cost and the importance of distance, reserving the need to make a physical appointment with a doctor for certain cases of diagnosis or treatment.

Convenience & Ease of Use

Web-based applications for the management and care of patients have grown in viability. Physicians can now store and pull information from the cloud without worrying about it being stored digitally on a single device, all while relying on secure encryption to protect against data theft and ensure HIPAA compliance.

Such web-based solutions are easy-to-use, and provide convenience for the physician and the patient alike, as patients can get in touch with their doctors without worrying about transportation costs, time away from home, risk of infection, or childcare while at the doctor’s.

Simple No-Contact Medication Delivery

Initial stockpiles are running low, and many patients who need access to critical medication to control their chronic condition are seeking solutions. Medication delivery is an important part of stopping the spread of COVID-19 and ensuring that the most vulnerable among us can stay at home, by bringing medication straight to their doorsteps, or by organizing no-contact curbside medication pickups so patients can safely retrieve their medication without endangering their health in the process.

This will continue to be an important service in the future, for patients who cannot afford to make the trip to a local pharmacy or the doctor’s office.

Other Telemedicine Benefits

COVID-19 has greatly accelerated the adoption and implementation of telemedicine as an effective alternative in the continued care of chronic and urgent health issues. Previous barriers to access, such as limited coverage through most public and private insurance providers, have been addressed and set aside given the current circumstances.

This greatly reduces the two major problems that telemedicine services had in the past, namely availability and cost of implementation for providers. With smarter, more efficient telemedicine solutions cropping up throughout the industry, the shift to telehealth will have a lasting impact, even after this crisis is over.

Telemedicine is no replacement to an in-person interaction with a physician, and diagnostic medicine suffers as it becomes harder to collect and test samples over physical distances. But there are many telemedicine benefits and it acts as an auxiliary service and crucial alternative. There has never been greater need than today – and it will continue to reduce costs and improve convenience for many patients in years to come.

Proficient Rx specializes in helping physicians provide in-office dispensing services to patients in need and is now providing virtual telehealth services to our providers. We provide repackaged FDA-approved brand, generic, and prescription drugs, and help physicians and healthcare providers quickly organize and implement point-of-care dispensing via a simple-to-use web-based dispensing platform.

 

Contact Us for Telehealth and Telemedicine - Proficient Rx