Introduction: Why Now is the Best Time to Start a Telehealth Practice
Have you ever thought to yourself “I’d like to start a telehealth practice” ? Well right now is the best time to start and here’s why-
The healthcare industry is one of the most lucrative industries in the world. The US healthcare system alone has an annual revenue of over $3 trillion. The COVID-19 pandemic and the technological shift that followed has put telemedicine on the front lines of care. For the providers who adopt and master this technology, there is a tremendous opportunity to build a viable six-figure business that won’t be affected by down-turns in the economy.
What is Telehealth & How It Works
Telehealth is the use of electronic communications or information technologies to support health care and health learning. Telehealth has been embraced by the medical community as a way for physicians to consult with patients at a distance, and for medical professionals to teach skills to other professionals or communities.
The field is being revolutionized by the proliferation of wireless devices, more efficient bandwidth, and new wearable technologies. Telehealth also offers cost savings in terms of reducing travel time and costs associated with personnel who are unable to travel.
Telehealth Benefits for Patients & Providers
Telehealth is an evolving technology that offers many benefits to patients and providers.
There are many reasons to start and build a private practice with telemedicine such as: lower cost for patients, more convenience for both providers and patients, more market opportunity for providers and more time for providers to work on their skills. The downside is that this type of practice doesn’t provide the same level of care that in-person practices can offer.
One of the most significant benefits of telehealth is that it creates global access to providers for people in remote locations. This can be especially important in rural areas or places where there aren’t any specialists available. Telehealth also offers patients the ability to stay home during treatment, which can help with recovery time, and decrease their risk of infection. It also provides unlimited access for long-distance consultations between specialists from different parts of the world.
Telehealth has many benefits for both providers and patients, but it is important that the technology continues to evolve as it becomes more widely used in order to keep up with emerging risks and complications.
Steps to Start a Telehealth Practice
Telehealth is growing at a rapid rate. It is not only changing the way that healthcare is delivered but also the way people live their lives. This, in turn, means that telehealth care providers are in high demand.
1. Areas of Care
The first step to starting a successful telehealth practice is to identify your niche and develop a plan for what services you want to provide. Many telehealth care providers find success by specializing in one or two areas rather than trying to be an expert in everything. Ask yourself “where do I have the most experience?” and give it some thought. If you’ve been working in Urgent or Primary care then start with that but if you’ve specialized in geriatric care for women over the last 10 years, then you’re probably better off going in that direction instead.
2. Solo-preneur VS Team Effort
Next, decide if this will be a solo venture or will you work with a partner? Maybe you will use the help of employees to see patients. If so, you need to build your team of nurses and other clinicians who will help with consultations via video chat or phone. Don’t bite off more than you can chew though, especially when you’re starting out. Unless you’ve had your own practice before, we don’t recommend jumping into your telehealth venture with too many moving parts. It’s always better to start by yourself and grow organically as the business demands it.
3. Practice Fee Model
You must also decide how clients will pay for these services and whether you will offer an insurance billing service. Some clinicians only want to offer a cash-only service or a Direct Primary Care model while others may want to accept both cash and insurance. Credentialing and billing is an expertise in and of itself so it’s best that you bring in a professional medical billing company to help you rather than trying to do this part on your own.
4. Choose Your Software
Finding good telehealth software that isn’t too costly and offers the benefits of increased patient engagement, better treatment outcomes, increased physician efficiency and reduced overhead costs can be difficult. Most of the common EHR software products have incorporated video functionality but they are typically very expensive, hard to learn, complicated to use and don’t offer customizations. This is what led us to develop our Practice-In-A-Box™ solution, combining the best of EHR software features with Hi-Definition video chat that is super simple to use and easily accessible by patients of any age group. We’ve also included instant eligibility checks along with medical billing automation to ensure you get reimbursed quickly and efficiently.
5. Business Setup
Finally, before opening your practice, it’s important that you get all of the necessary permits and registrations in place. If you don’t already have a business you need to do a state filing first in order to register your practice, followed by an IRS filing to obtain your Employer Identification Number (EIN or sometimes referred to as TIN for Tax-payer Identification Number). If you’re a nurse practitioner or physician assistant, many states require you to obtain a collaborative or supervising physician and file an agreement with the health or education department of the state you’ll be practicing in.
How to Grow your Private Practice With Telemedicine
To grow a private practice, you need to have a niche. A niche is an area of expertise that you are passionate about.
A good way to start developing your own niche is by first exploring and identifying the needs of your community. Do you live in a college-town where there is an abundance of students facing the behavioral health challenges that come along with pursuing higher education? Or perhaps you live in an area that is filled with retirees who are facing those issues that affect the geriatric community. Wherever you are, you must ask yourself the following questions:
- What are the problems people in my area are facing?
- What resources do they lack?
- How can I help them?
It’s also important to identify which skillset you have that others don’t, so that you can become a go-to expert in your area and get business referrals from other professionals.
An article published by Forbes Magazine explains how to use telemedicine in a private practice and the best way to keep it accessible for underserved communities. It recommends ensuring that the technology you choose is user-friendly, adopting a flexible mindset and knowing the limitations of yourself and your patients.
Conclusion: Why You Should Start a Telehealth Practice
The future of healthcare belongs to the innovators in the industry and those providers who allow for more people to access medical care without having to head to a clinic or doctor’s office. This is especially true for people who are elderly, disabled, or live in rural areas with limited access to healthcare professionals. Your own telehealth practice allows you to facilitate preventative care so that you can help those in your community to create healthy lifestyles and prevent chronic diseases from developing. Best of all, this can be done on your time from the comfort of your own home where you can build a significant revenue generating business for yourself.