Expansions in telehealth, already underway though accelerated by COVID-19, are opening new doors for healthcare professionals.
Wednesday’s 2020 National Primary Care Week virtual lecture at A.T. Still University of Health Sciences (ATSU) featured ATSU-Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine (ATSU-KCOM) alumnus Saroj Misra, DO, ’98, residency program director and chief, Department of Family Medicine, Ascension Macomb-Oakland Hospital, Michigan. Dr. Misra was joined by his former ATSU-KCOM classmate, Shannon Reed, DO, ’98.
Dr. Reed began her own practice and added some telehealth features in 2013. Since 2017 she’s been employed by Teledoc and Amwell and her practice is exclusively telehealth. Her decision boosted her bottom line. Initially, she had licenses to treat patients in two states and her revenues were in line with her traditional practice. After adding four more state licenses, her revenues increased 60%.
Both Drs. Misra and Reed discussed advantages of telehealth practice, both for the provider and patient. Telehealth patients enjoy the personal connection maintained between them and their physician, as well as the time saved by avoiding travel and waiting rooms.
“For the patient, the convenience of this may be too much to ignore,” Dr. Misra said.
Studies indicate a 33% growth in patient adoption of telehealth services in 2020, largely due to expanding services and necessities from the coronavirus pandemic. Surveys show more than 4 in 5 of those patients plan to continue telehealth use after the pandemic ends.
Dr. Misra noted successful telehealth physicians have some similarities, including working well independently, confidence in their own intuition and knowledge, strong communication and listening skills, multitasking capabilities, and a comfort and competence with evolving technologies.
The National Committee on Quality Assurance (NCQA) is the credentialing body for telehealth physicians, and among its requirements is a minimum of four years traditional clinical experience.
To learn more about NCQA credentialing, visit ncqa.org.