Outside of big cities, doctor’s practices deal with the challenge of long distances and disperse populations every day. The OnCall team know the situation well. They had built a successful brick & mortar practice in Chandler, Arizona.
Patients were willing to drive long distances to see their preferred doctors – sometimes up to 3 hours, every month. So as video technology improved, the team seized the opportunity to redefine the way those patients could communicate with their doctors.
However, as the team looked for a telemedicine solution to implement, they couldn’t find one that really recreated their great patient experience. OnCall had spent years building up a highly loyal patient base – and they weren’t willing to risk that on a less-than-perfect online experience. So they decided to build their own solution, bespoke to their needs and those of their patients.
Turns out that the very thing their own clinic was looking for was what many other healthcare providers were searching for – so the OnCall e-clinic solution has become a whole new business.
The OnCall e-clinic
The solution that the OnCall team designed combines the best of telemedicine technology with the knowledge gained from the brick and mortar practice.
When a patient wants to talk to a healthcare provider, they can request a video appointment directly through the webpage. The system then connects first to a front-desk member of staff – the equivalent of a receptionist. This means they can be put through to the most appropriate provider – either a specialist who’ll be able to help them straight away, or their regular doctor who can provide continuity of care.
Both healthcare groups or individual practitioners can use the solution in their practice. For healthcare groups or practices, the virtual front desk staff can be the same as in a face to face setting. But for individual practitioners who don’t have access to extra staff, OnCall is also able to provide experienced, trained virtual front desk staff as part of the service.
Better experience, growing business
Telemedicine done well can provide a convenient and efficient way to reach patients and provide them with quality care. It also makes good business sense. Providers who have implemented the OnCall e-clinic are already reaping the benefits.
Take one provider who started using the OnCall e-clinic solution, together with the front desk service offered by OnCallHC. This provider:
- Spent 76.2% of her time on direct patient care (compared to an industry average of 27%)
- Spent 23.8% of her time on miscellaneous administrative tasks (compared to an average of 73%)
- Could spend an average of 20 quality minutes per visit (compared to the industry average which is 8-12 minutes)
- Had a gross margin of 84.6%
- Has grown her practice by over 1350% since January
It’s not easy to create a solution with such positive impact on a provider’s bottom line. So just how has OnCall designed their e-clinic to have such an impact on medical providers’ businesses?
How OnCall translated the real life experience to their online e-clinic
Challenge 1: Streamlining administrative tasks
Healthcare is a complex business and there are often several administrative tasks which need to be completed before an appointment. Front office staff at the brick and mortar practice were highly experienced at preparing charts and paperwork, and answering insurance-related questions. Other pre-built telemedicine solutions sidelined these key non-medical staff. This meant that a patient would dive straight into a conversation with a doctor, often creating a disjointed or frustrating experience in which the doctor would start the call without the necessary context and information at hand.
The OnCall e-clinic embraces the role of non-medical staff in the patient experience. A patient will check in first with the virtual front desk, receiving a warm welcome and most importantly, ensuring all relevant documentation is available for the doctor to provide great care.
Challenge 2: Maintaining a high-touch, personal service
In a physical practice, patients know and have a relationship with front office staff. It’s a valuable relationship for patients, and all part of great customer service. At the same time, many providers have used telemedicine solutions before, but are frustrated at missing out on the vital help of their front desk colleagues.
Instead of skipping the front desk check-in, OnCallHC positions this interaction as an important and positive first step in the patient journey. Patients can maintain the relationship with the front desk staff, even if it’s over video. If virtual front desk staff are different than at the in-person clinic, information is easily accessible in the system and patients get a consistent service where all staff have the context needed. At the same time, providers get to focus on doing what they do best – whether it’s primary care, nutrition or therapy.
Challenge 3: Minimising disruption from audio-visual issues
Video and audio quality is incredibly important during a video consultation. If any issues occur while talking with the doctor there is a risk of delivering less than optimal care for the patient. Fixing any issues while speaking with the doctor takes away from the provider’s time to treat the patient.
The front desk staff have training to troubleshoot any audio or video issues during check-in. This means that once they transfer the call to a doctor, the appointment can start straight away.
Challenge 4: Making the best use of time with a clinical professional
Studies have shown that about 27% of a U.S. Physicians in-office time is spent seeing patients. They allocate the remaining to regulatory paperwork and administrative tasks. If doctors or healthcare professionals have to deal with these details in a video call, it eats into the time in the appointment which can be focused on real care, or means that a provider can’t schedule as many calls in a day.
By providing a virtual front desk, a designated professional takes care of all the administrative and regulatory paperwork. The patient receives the doctor’s undivided attention for the whole call. The provider doesn’t need to “rob” time from the appointment by doing admin, or miss out on fitting in more appointments in one day.
The OnCall e-clinic is changing the way medical providers do business and providing the tools and services necessary to build successful practices. By using the OpenTok platform from TokBox, OnCall is able to focus on doing what it does best – building great experiences for both providers and patients.