The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically accelerated the growth of telehealth and prescheduling technologies. Patients no longer have to wait for hours in hospital waiting rooms to see a doctor. And how is this going to impact patients and providers?
According to Dr. David Berg, a co-founder, and chairman of the board of Redirect Health, healthcare facilities should minimize unnecessary inconveniences like wait time for a better healthcare experience. Here is Dr. Berg explanation in an in-depth interview with Healthcare IT News:
How can physicians reduce long patient wait times using prescheduling tools?
The essence of prescheduling is to save time used in filling out forms in the doctor’s office. Using prescheduling tools, doctors can gather patients’ records before they even get in the hospital. According to DR. Berg, when doctors get your medical history information, they are more prepared for treatment when you arrive.
With prescheduling, people can fill out the form at their pace without impacting waiting room time.
Negative impacts of high waiting room times and its effects on patient care
Even when adhering to COVID-19 precautions, people are still afraid of enclosed places that are crowded. As Berg explains, two groups are used to analyze the negative impact of high waiting room times. The first group comprises the younger and healthier people who might not see the doctor because of their busy life. The second group includes people with chronic health issues who don’t want to spend unnecessary time waiting. High waiting room times discourage these groups from seeking care.
Impacts of telehealth on in-person doctor visits and its effects on waiting times
Telehealth reduces waiting times, and patients are put on a schedule that is easier for doctors to manage during virtual appointments. On the other hand, patients will less often take time to have in-person doctor visits. And when they go, they would like to take care of everything, even things that are not yet problems. With telehealth, people can spend lesser time in appointments.
The future of the waiting room
Dr. Berg believes that the waiting rooms will get smaller as the parking lots get busier if people don’t fill out forms at home. As much as the benefits of telehealth are evident, it’s not an easy transition to the highly regulated healthcare industry. Also, physicians are required to hold a license in the state of their operation.
However, telemedicine’s future is bright if a bipartisan federal telehealth law eliminates licensing in individual states.