Virtual doctor visits

Expanding Virtual Care to Specialty Physicians Increases Revenue for Clinics, Hospitals

October 6, 2021

The use of virtual care has skyrocketed over the past year. A survey by McKinsey and Company found that while virtual care utilization is beginning to level out, it remains 38 times higher than before the COVID-19 pandemic.

As familiarity and comfort levels increase for both patients and providers, many are beginning to view virtual care through a broader lens, encompassing not only primary but specialty care as well. A survey of adults and physicians found that 42% of patients scheduled a telehealth visit with a specialist, and many of them had made virtual appointments with new providers. As demand increases, doubts about virtual care are decreasing. The survey reported that specialists in previously reluctant fields such as radiology, cardiology, and surgery are more willing to use virtual care than before 2020.

Many patients with long-term, chronic illnesses are starting to see the benefits of this new care model as well. 77% of patients with at least one chronic condition reported using virtual care over the last year to help them manage their treatment. These patients often require multiple providers and appointments throughout the year to maintain their health and medications, and virtual care is helping to decrease their stress levels by reducing time-consuming trips to hospitals and clinics.

As the healthcare system finally embraces virtual care, more specialty physicians have begun to see the value. In 2020, the top five users of virtual care were radiology, psychiatry, internal medicine, neurology, and family medicine. The rapidly growing market share shows there is clear room for expansion into other medical fields.

Revenue from Medical Specialists Continues to Increase

Merritt Hawkins, a national physician search and consulting firm, conducts a series of ongoing healthcare surveys. Their 2019 annual net revenue survey found that physicians generated over $2,300,000 per year for their affiliated organizations. Additionally, the average hospital revenue from employed physicians has increased by 52% compared to 2016.

Year after year, these surveys have shown the importance of physicians as revenue generators, and those in specialty care often help clinics the most. The survey found that in 2018 alone, invasive cardiologists, neurosurgeons, orthopedic surgeons, and cardiovascular surgeons produced upwards of $3 million in net revenue for their organization, adding much more “downstream” revenue than the cost of their salaries.

Virtual Care Offers New Revenue Potential

Hospital systems and clinics must now begin asking themselves how much revenue are they leaving on the table by not offering virtual care? What kind of increases could you see if you expand your current virtual care platform to include more specialists? While it may seem daunting for those who do not have a platform in place, technology advances have made it possible to quickly have your clinic or hospital offering virtual care.

Hospitals and clinics that do not choose to integrate virtual care offerings will remain at a disadvantage. As technology advances and more medical specialties incorporate virtual care, those that do not will begin to lose patients. One survey found that 83% of patients now expect to have access to and use virtual care, underscoring a significant shift.

What is stopping health systems from adopting more specialty virtual care? Specialty care consults and treatments are more complex than primary care, often requiring a local caregiver to assist in the patient examination, education and treatment. Specialists need more than conventional telehealth – they need an “I-see what U-see” experience that supports caregiver collaboration, guidance and education. Otherwise, they simply perform “tele-triage” and follow-up with an in-office appointment. Rather that saving patient time, this simply adds another step, wastes time and delays care.

The Hippo Virtual Care platform brings together the latest in clinical mobility, combining wearable computing with mobile, tablets and connected devices to provide true flexibility to clinicians. Our platform offers a “through the eyes of the user” experience, as well as seamless integration with hospital systems and has been configured to fit existing practices and workflows.

Our range of head-mounted displays and smart glasses allows you to expand beyond telehealth, incorporating more medical specialties into virtual care. Equipping first responders in the field with durable headsets allows for faster and more efficient triage, keeping your ER running smoothly. Surgeons can also take advantage of our technology to better assist patients at home with post-operative care. Specialists can now support primary care physicians in rural communities with an “as if you were there” user experience, drastically reducing wait times and potential treatment delays. In addition to new revenue streams and increased patient access, using Hippo’s platform can help streamline existing workflows, increasing physician productivity through more collaborative working, while delivering better outcomes.

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