The digital age of clinical care is upon us; the reach of care is extended like never before, redefining healthcare as we know it. It is a unique moment in medicine, one in which physicians have an opportunity to leave a lasting legacy. What role will you play in medical history?
Unlike some recent medical advancements, like electronic health records, telemedicine isn’t being force-fed to clinicians. In many cases, providers have options for how to creatively deploy new systems. What they’re finding is that the possibilities are diverse and rewarding, with the promise of increasing reimbursements and improving care.
Telemedicine’s true early adopters will gain significant notoriety by building the first ever national remote care networks. These pioneers will solve the physician shortage and become leaders in their respective fields through forward-thinking.
Our world rarely sees such disruptive innovations, and it begs the question: Who will lead the revolution? History tells us that in these critical moments we need relentless innovators who have an obsessive vision for the future. Steve Jobs could be called a modern day Cornelius Vanderbilt, who opened new trade routes with his Grand Central Railroad. John D. Rockefeller used these railroads to transport his fuel to light up America with his kerosene lamps, which was later challenged by J.P. Morgan and Thomas Edison with the birth of electricity. From the industrial revolution until today, bold steps of technological innovation have been led by brave pioneers who sparked a domino effect within society, changing the course of history.
This doesn’t happen often. You may have one moment in your career when you get a glimpse of the future and have an opportunity to have a role on the leading edge. And it’s not all about the money. Sure, Vanderbilt, Rockefeller, Morgan and Jobs made a few dollars. But they also changed the world, creating industries and practices that never existed before. They revolutionized how life was lived for hundreds of years after their lifetime. That’s what I call a rewarding and undeniable legacy! This is the opportunity that you as a clinician can have now in telemedicine.
This industry has been building slowly and there is still time to become a forefather in shaping how it will look for years to come. There is no better time to position yourself on the ground floor of this evolving landscape. The widespread adoption of telemedicine will only happen once. Before long it will be the norm and the open call for innovation will be over.
In fact, new study statistics show that the number of telehealth visits is projected to grow from 350,000 in 2013 to 7 million in 2018. Moreover, the worldwide revenue for these services is also expected to reach $4.5 billion. So what are some ways you can get start earning revenue while making history?
JOIN A TELEMEDICINE NETWORK
This is an easy way to start taking telemedicine consultations and creating additional revenue. Several platforms are now available in which the telemed companies contract physicians to take consultations from their subscriber base. Reimbursements vary from state to state and from one company to another but an average visit takes about 11 minutes. That is time spent with the patient and doesn’t include reviewing the medical history before connecting with the patient. An average of $30 a consult can be earned which varies depending on what company you work with, but a doctor can do 4-5 consults an hour, which comes out to about $140 an hour. A lot of times a doctor can log into the system at any time if they have a spare hour or set up scheduled shifts. These networks are sometimes a great option as a lot of them take the burden of billing, credentialing and malpractice coverage off the physicians.
START A TELEMEDICINE NETWORK
Nowadays the technology is available to license a compliant telehealth platform and white label it to your practice. This gives you the tools needed to start conducting telemedicine consultations. For providers licensed in several states it gives you the flexibility to establish a hub and spoke model, providing access to your care in the other states you’re licensed in. This option takes a bit more planning when it comes to technology selection, reimbursement by state, workflows and staffing, but the rewards in automony are great.
START A REMOTE MONITORING PROGRAM
Physician pay schedules have been introduced for continuously monitoring chronically ill patients and developing care coordination plans utilizing telehealth. The options are robust and capabilities are truly remarkable with this newfound ability to impact patients suffering from chronic diseases. You can now take your care to the home of patients you treat, which has already shown many positive outcomes in managing chronic diseases such as diabetes, while earning a monthly reimbursement per patient. For this type of program you need to deploy the devices necessary to monitor the patients remotely. The options available on the market are diverse and even though they essentially all do the same things in regards to collecting vital signs data, the higher tiers of monitoring devices can do much more. Devices can give you an uploaded customized series of survey questions to gauge the patient’s daily condition, medication adherence reminders, educational materials such as exercise and diet suggestions along with live video capability, all in one unit installed into the home.
PROVIDE MOBILE DIAGNOSTICS
Mobile diagnostics or imaging is an avenue a provider can champion and build a business off of as well. The global mobile imaging services market was valued at USD 10.7 billion in 2013 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 3.2% from 2014 to 2020, to reach an estimated value of USD 13.3 billion by 2020.
The telemedicine tools are now available, but the catalyst for massive change will come from those with credentials, with years of education, these vital knowledgeable few who have been entrusted to care for us. I dare you to embrace the revolutionary journey of becoming a tele-physician and shaping our clinical world for centuries to come.