Now that hybrid care models are the norm, expected by clients and providers, systems set up in haste (during the pandemic) are being evaluated across three areas: efficiency, customer satisfaction, and revenue impact. As virtual care options continue to expand with major players like Amazon, CVS, and venture-backed start-ups joining the market, established organizations need to re-evaluate their client engagement models.
Recently, at the 2023 Executive Leadership Retreat, Nicholas Chepesiuk, Vice President of Virtual Care at Qualifacts and leader of their OnCall solution, shared how organizations can optimize their virtual care technology through evaluation of virtual programs through the lenses of efficiency, satisfaction, and revenue.
Virtual care is a significant growth opportunity for all organizations. Telehealth volumes are growing. People want to access care from the privacy and comfort of home and mobile devices. As the new year approaches, now is a great time to evaluate your virtual care strategy and processes against the potential demand in the communities you serve. Gaining a greater understanding of your capacity will allow you to define your opportunities for growth within current communities and a broader online virtual presence beyond your brick-and-mortar footprint to reach communities and engage clients your programs are uniquely able to serve.
How Did We Get Here?
When the pandemic started, many behavioral health organizations had to determine their virtual care strategy overnight, with percentage of services delivered via telehealth growing from zero to 100% of all services. However, in many organizations, the systems put together quickly to respond to the public health emergency have yet to be optimized for long-term growth and efficiency. Chepesiuk notes inconsistent client experiences and manual processes for providers and staff are the norm for many organizations.
Organizations using disconnected, clunky tools that don’t provide a consistent, quality patient experience will have difficulty being competitive. These organizations are at risk of losing market share to the more agile, newer provider organizations that were built for telehealth. Chepesiuk reiterated the importance of having a strategic plan that focuses on efficiency as a driver to improve client engagement and satisfaction. He cautions that simply having a video and telehealth solution is no longer enough. Simply having the technology tools to provide services via hybrid models will not be adequate to move the organization to a more system-wide focus on client engagement.
The good news is that virtual care platforms have rapidly innovated to address client, provider, and organizational needs for ease of use, satisfaction, interoperability, and reporting. Natural language processing (NLP) and other artificial intelligence tools can improve the experience for care deliverers and the individuals they serve. These innovations support organizations looking to expand their virtual footprint for organizational growth.
What Should Organizations Focus on Next? – Quality of Client Engagement and Provider Experience
Chepesiuk noted that the primary focus of any virtual technology tool is to empower clients to be active participants in their care journey. Giving people visibility into their progress and a collaborative role in their care can enhance the therapeutic value of the intervention. In addition, virtual care can expand access through the elimination of travel barriers between providers and their clients.
As competition expands, client and provider expectations for ease of use and access are increasing, putting additional pressure on systems that are not fully optimized. If the technology doesn’t work well or has intermittent technical difficulties during a session, that could harm client and provider engagement. Citing a study conducted on approximately 100 behavioral health agencies across the US, Chepesiuk reported that some organizations use as many as six or seven different tools to manage their patient engagement strategy. He clarifies that it is not uncommon for agencies to use disparate technology tools for patient engagement, such as patient portals and customer relations managers. Today, providers can easily re-evaluate their virtual workflows considering efficiency, satisfaction, security, interoperability, and scalability.
Where is the Best Place for Organizations to Start?
Organizations should begin by defining the role of virtual care in their organizational growth strategy. First, determine what programs, populations, and revenue models are best served through virtual and hybrid models of care. Then, evaluate the current workflows of the priority programs through the lenses of efficiency, satisfaction, security, interoperability, and scalability. Evaluate each aspect of those programs, from intake through care delivery and the complete revenue cycle. Identify and document areas where current processes require double entry, have clunky user experiences, and create difficulties for reporting and claims processing. Once you have identified these areas of opportunity on your priority programs, have your team identify the areas where improvement will significantly impact efficiency, customer and team satisfaction, and revenue.
Engaging Your Technology Partners as Part of the Solution
Your technology partners are vested in helping you succeed using their platforms. Once you have identified your priorities, engage your technology providers and request that you work collaboratively to develop and implement a comprehensive path to improvement. By working together, you will gain the advantage of how other organizations using the same technology have addressed similar challenges.
Deploy Your Refinements
Once you have established your action plan with your partners, you can deploy the refinements to your virtual and hybrid care delivery model and measure the impact across efficiency, customer team satisfaction, and revenue. More than ever, organizations are positioned to drive improvements in their virtual care models.
Virtual Care Solutions and How Qualifacts Can Help
Meet your clients’ digital needs and stay competitive by integrating Virtual Care into your Qualifacts EHR platform. Our comprehensive Virtual Care offering goes beyond telehealth, with:
- Customized, fully-branded client engagement portal for all devices (web, iOS, Android)
- Instant messaging and video appointments for up to 50 individuals
- Automated appointment reminders
- Digital client payments and e-Signatures
- Automated patient self-scheduling, form completion, and insurance verification
If you’re interested in learning more about how Qualifacts can help your organization with virtual care solutions, click here to learn more.