By Dr. Samant Virk, MediSprout
Telemedicine is one of the fastest growing sectors of the healthcare industry. How fast? In 2015, about 1 million patients used a telemedicine service; over the next three years, that number grew to 7 million. And many industry experts expect 2019 to be the “tipping point” at which telemedicine truly scales up across all areas of healthcare.
That has led many healthcare executives to consider building their own telemedicine platform to reach their patients. To which I say, why? Consider, instead, “white labeling” an already built, tested and proven application that can be ready to go, completely customized to your brand in one day.
If you aren’t familiar with the term white labeling, I’ll explain. A white label product or service is made and supported by one company and sold or leased to another, with the buyer/lessor attaching its branding. That company can customize the product or service to meet its unique needs and assign its logo and identity, making it appear as if it were built in-house. Clients—or, in the case of healthcare, patients—never know that the provider has implemented a separate solution.
Consider these alternatives when you are exploring whether to build or buy a telehealth solution:
Time: If there is already an existing product that can perform all the tasks you need, why waste time reinventing the wheel? By reviewing and investing in a telehealth solution that allows for white labeling, you can evaluate, select and begin marketing the service within one day.
Cost: Economies of scale suggest that if there is a company out there making what you need, it has all the necessary tools and processes in place. It probably can do the job faster and cheaper than you can, and it certainly will save time and money in the long run. On average, phone calls to discuss prescriptions cost practices about $575 in missed revenue each week, while canceled and no-show appointments cost practices over $2,400 a week. You can implement a white label solution within days and start turning these losses into revenue.
Expertise: Even if you have an extensive IT department, it probably hasn’t built anything like a safe, secure telemedicine portal. Someone else has done the work to implement the program’s infrastructure, maintain the complex HIPAA requirements, and manage the back-end payments with patients and insurance companies -- not to mention provide the marketing materials you need to drive awareness so your patients start using the solution. Telehealth is a dynamic solution, constantly in need of updating and refining to support data protection and new integrations. With an already proven service, you save time, money, and can focus on your core competency: treating your patients.
Telemedicine services help free up time for patients in need. By moving level 1-3 visits to video, doctors can devote more in-office time to patients with moderate to high severity needs. Virtual visits improve the quality of care that doctors can provide to their patients by making it convenient to stay connected between visits. Among the many features included are:
- Flexible Scheduling Options. Video appointments can easily be scheduled by either the doctor (for follow-up appointments, to review lab results, etc.) or requested by a patient (to get refills or request information).
- Group and Family Visits. Family members or other doctors can be added to video calls, ensuring that all stakeholders are included for better, more transparent care.
- Affordable Visits. A typical office visit costs can cost well over $50 and this doesn’t include one of the most important considerations: your time. Virtual visits can cost as little as a cup of coffee.
- Face to Face Care. By combining video and audio, patients feel more satisfied, and doctors have valuable information to provide better care.
Telemedicine helps doctors see more patients, increase billable time and streamline their practice by filling openings in their schedule and turning after-hours care and communications into a new source of revenue. The virtual platform makes it easy to charge for video visits and turn follow-up care into a new source of revenue. While phone calls don’t qualify for reimbursement, video calls do. Moving to video communications means doctors get paid for the time spent interacting with patients outside the office.
When considering telehealth, white labeling is a great alternative to building your own. Firms with expertise in technology, security, and who have a deep understanding of what medical practices need and want can provide the solution cheaper, faster, and more securely so you can focus on doing what you love most: helping people.
About The Author
Dr. Samant Virk is Founder & CEO of MediSprout, a company focused on connecting doctors with their patients through innovative technology solutions. He is also a physician having practiced clinical medicine for almost 15 years, with a specialization in Neurology and Interventional Spine.