People are more than ever before “living their lives online”. They want goods and services to be delivered to them without having to leave the safety of their own homes, and this increasingly includes their healthcare. You need to recognise that and adapt to it, where you can.
Adapting your service to offer ‘remote’ consultations by video or telephone will:
- Allow you to keep your practice open – your hospital base may suspend in-person visits totally and immediately. “Going virtual” may be the only way you can keep your practice open.
- Maintain some income for you at a time when you have no new money coming into the practice.
- Enable you to help patients who are looking for the expertise which you have and are desperate for advice, reassurance or medication straight away, even though face-to-face consultations may not be an option for them or for you right now.
- Some patients will prefer a video or telephone consultation with you – for their safety and convenience. They don’t need to travel, it will minimise their exposure to other people, and they can “meet you” from the comfort of their own homes.
- Give you an additional fee-earning service that you can continue to offer to your patients after the COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted. Patients needing an appointment with you to discuss normal test results and who would then probably be discharged don’t need to see you in person. This is the type of consultation which would work brilliantly by video or by telephone.
Don’t be tempted to think of this as a temporary or interim measure – you can if you want, but this really would be a mistake!
The way healthcare is delivered has changed, and the way patients want to access their healthcare has also changed … and I’m not sure this will ever quite go back to the way it was pre-COVID.
Forward thinking practices should integrate virtual consultations into their future practice strategy and run these alongside their normal way of doing things. Getting this up and running in your own practice will get you ahead of the game in a world which is moving ever more online.
Like to know more? I’ve written a free eBook about this. Click here if you’d like a copy.
Sue Wilcox is an AMSPAR qualified medical secretary. She has worked as a medical secretary in the NHS and private sectors for more than 40 years. She is the Director of The Medical Secretariat Limited which provides medical secretarial and administrative services to consultants in private practice. You can contact Sue by phone on 0121-242 3299 or 07954 433201 or via E-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.