Updated: 7 days ago
Whether you call it telehealth or telemedicine there is one thing the stats are telling us and that is that there is a growing emphasis on and acceptance for hybrid healthcare in the post-covid-19 world. There are many things driving this change including better technology, bandwidth, a growing technology-savvy patient base, the desire to avoid contagions in medical facilities by healthy patients, and physician-to-patient demographics to name a few.
Concerning physician-to-patient demographics there is an expected shortage of between 54K-139K physicians by 2033 with primary care physicians representing 21K-55K of that number. Demographic changes alone (population growth and aging demographic are the largest contributors) are projected to cause a 17% increase demand for physicians. Primary care physician demand is expected to grow by 19% with a 4% total decline in physician to population ratio according to the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) report.1
Telehealth software and platforms are a great way to help relieve some of the pressure on our health care practitioners (hcps) but we are finding that depending on the software (engagement with electronic health records (EHR) and computerized physician order entry (CPOE)) this could result in up to two hours of paperwork for every hour of clinical care.2
As healthcare facilities, hospital systems, physician clinics and practices adopt telehealth systems it is essential to consider a few things to help avoid physician burnout:
Does the telehealth system have the option to record the patient interaction and if so is it stored in a HIPAA-compliant server location with end-to-end encryption;
Does the telehealth platform automatically transcribe the patient-provider interaction and if so is it stored in a HIPAA-compliant location with end-to-end encryption;
Does the hybrid healthcare platform auto pinpoint the essential elements of the virtual visit for reimbursement, streamlining the CPT billing process;
Does the hybrid healthcare system utilize natural language processing to automate provider task functions for administration and charting processes;
Does the telemedicine platform send automatic reminders to patients and providers for follow-up scheduling and appointments.
Telehealth software is an essential tool in the arsenal to help reduce physician burnout but the choice to connect telehealth to an EHR and use of the CPOE can have the exact opposite effect exacerbating clinician burnout. As you shop for telehealth software it is essential to choose one with smart-charting options like auto transcription, pinpoint reimbursement paperwork information, natural language processing for charting processes, and auto reminders for follow-up scheduling and appointment assistance.
1. Dall, Tim, et al. The Complexities of Physician Supply and Demand: Projections the Complexities of Physician Supply and Demand: Projections from 2018 to 2033. 2020.
2. Patel, Rikinkumar, et al. “Factors Related to Physician Burnout and Its Consequences: A Review.” Behavioral Sciences, vol. 8, no. 11, 25 Oct. 2018, p. 98, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6262585/, https://doi.org/10.3390/bs8110098.