The emergency medical services had to take charge of managing the global crisis that emerged with the COVID-19 pandemic situation. This resulted in a massive flux of the profession towards the emergency aspect of it. As a consequence of this, the non-essential medical services were neglected.
The clinical and business sides of the medical profession are unified by revenue cycle management that uses the medical billing software installed in hospitals and clinics to record the duration of a patient’s treatment. Due to the quarantine, the medical services unrelated to COVID were hindered, and the physicians’ practice dwindled to a trickle. An AMA survey recorded an average drop of 32% in revenue generated in the US.
Which medical services suffered the most and how?
With the enormous surge of COVID-19 cases, non-essential healthcare professionals bore the brunt of financial losses. Experts recorded a loss of USD 50.7 billion per month in the revenue produced by the American healthcare industry. The regular procedures in these healthcare institutions had to be suspended in favor of social distancing. Revenue collection was also deterred because of the general public anxiety that stopped the patients from visiting for their routine check-ups.
In healthcare services, factors like provider productivity, patient volume, and service fees affect the revenue cycle management. As these institutions lost out on revenue, over a million healthcare professionals were laid off at the beginning of the lockdown. The medicos suffered varying losses according to their specialties.
Healthcare professionals specializing in the nephrology department had to face a loss of 6% in the first half of 2020. In great contrast to this stands a heavy loss of 34% experienced by the physical therapy department. Even the medicos themselves faced the anxiety of being exposed to the virus or infecting those around them with the same in this situation.
How is Telemedicine helping the physicians’ practice?
In the face of such difficulties, remote healthcare services have begun to gain momentum with the help of digital and technological facilities. Telemedicine makes healthcare amenities accessible to patients who do not need to be physically present in the medical facility. Appointments can be scheduled virtually and attended through video calls with the concerned doctor or nurse.
Physicians have revived their practice by switching to Telemedicine to provide consultation services to their patients while avoiding in-person visits. Patients have started to spend considerably more of their Medicare provisions on Telemedicine than it was before lockdown. But even then, it has not met the overall revenue that the Medicare industry used to collect.
The practice of Telemedicine has flourished in the present time. It has helped patients receive proper care and also benefited the financial state of the healthcare professionals. Most of the private insurance companies of the US have also conceded to reimbursing telemedicine appointments at the exact rate as in-person visits according to the change of policy by the federal government. This will help to restore the practice of the physicians to a greater extent.
In this age of everything going digital, it comes as no wonder that non-essential medical services will also make use of these technologies. These non-essential medical services that were suspended due to the COVID-19 outbreak have massively affected physicians, who can now benefit from the rise of Telemedicine and revive their practices.
But even with the switch to Telemedicine, healthcare providers continue to suffer significant financial losses. The government policies promise to improve this situation to alleviate the worries of the physicians.