The Kaufmann Clinic, an internal medicine practice operating in Atlanta since 1954, has a very high volume of patients, limited in-office time and space and restricted patient availability.
Staff sought an alternative to meet patients’ medical needs and concluded that telemedicine was the solution.
The idea was to use the technology and services of ExamMed, a telemedicine vendor also in Atlanta, to see lower acuity patients virtually, which would enable staff to be more efficient and effective overall. The proposal was that not only remote visits but also in-clinic visits would be optimized.
“ExamMed understands that for medical practices to remain competitive, grow revenue and maintain established relationships with patients, it is imperative physicians incorporate telemedicine and provide patients with the option for treatment through virtual care,” said Dr. Robert S. Kaufmann of the Kaufmann Clinic.
Clinic physicians use virtual care to meet with their patients about common but non-life-threatening conditions such as cough, sore throat or pink eye that do not warrant a physical exam to diagnose.
Additionally, follow-up appointments to discuss current medications or treatments can be done efficiently through telemedicine. By seeing these patients virtually in addition to in-office visits, staff are optimizing the brick-and-mortar and increasing the number of patients they see in a day while still maintaining a high-quality level of care, Kaufmann stated.
There are many vendors on the market today offering telemedicine technology, including American Well, Avizia, GlobalMed, MDLive, Novotalk, SnapMD, Teladoc, TeleHealth Services and Tellus.
MEETING THE CHALLENGE
ExamMed trained the Kaufmann Clinic staff, from receptionists who are making the appointments to nurse practitioners and physicians who are providing the care to patients. As a result, the team is knowledgeable about opportunities to see patients virtually rather than having them come into the office.
Telemedicine examinations are conducted via HIPAA-compliant video conferencing through an app on a personal computer or laptop.
“Telemedicine optimizes our practice’s capabilities,” Kaufmann explained. “A physician can only examine a limited number of patients in office due to administrative time, severity of cases and number of exam rooms. By using telemedicine, our practitioners can now increase the number of patients they see.”
On average, the clinic treats several patients per day via telemedicine, and the goal is to increase this number as more patients become familiar and comfortable with the technology. As a result, the clinic has the potential to increase revenue by 30 percent or more, Kaufmann said.
“While telemedicine is not the tool for every encounter, it is a great addition to a medical practice and allows for expanded healthcare offerings.”
Dr. Robert S. Kaufmann, The Kaufmann Clinic
“Telemedicine also improves our patients’ outcomes,” he added. “Work, conflicting commitments and personal schedules inhibit many patients from seeking care through traditional in-office visits. With telemedicine, however, we can provide convenient care for patients, especially for common conditions that do not require physical exams – runny nose, sore throat, etc. – as well as follow-up appointments, to review lab results and to discuss how a medication is working.”
From a business perspective, the clinic sees telemedicine as a tremendous value in that it is able to submit for these visits, unlike telephone consultations that are not reimbursable.
ADVICE FOR OTHERS
“While telemedicine is not the tool for every encounter, it is a great addition to a medical practice and allows for expanded healthcare offerings,” Kaufmann advised. “It is essential to partner with a telemedicine company whose technology can be seamlessly incorporated into a practice and whose team provides best practices, training and guidance throughout the partnership.”
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