The Ultimate Guide to Hybrid Healthcare

Telehealth has taken the healthcare industry by storm, improving access to care worldwide. But, while tremendously beneficial, it cannot entirely replace traditional care. With this in mind: the hybrid healthcare model was born.

What is Hybrid Healthcare? 

 

Hybrid healthcare is the integration of remote and in-person healthcare. When telehealth was introduced during the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, it quickly became the preferred method of healthcare for millions of patients. 

Now, as in-person care is possible again, healthcare practices have found a way to integrate remote services with in-person, offering the patients the best of both methods. With a combination of traditional, in-person care and remote, telehealth services to benefit both patients and providers. 

Hybrid healthcare relies heavily on technology for remote services such as:

  • Video conferencing
  • Patient monitoring
  • Follow-up appointments
  • Appointment scheduling
  • Online payment
  • Prescription refilling

With the hybrid model, practices can integrate their preexisting services into a digital model for faster, more efficient, and more effective care. The routine aspects of care can be conducted remotely, while other services can be conducted face-to-face. Individual circumstances will determine if a patient should receive care remotely, in-person, or a combination of both.

Benefits of Hybrid Healthcare

 

Patient Retention

 

Telehealth has become a preferred method of care for the vast majority of patients today - particularly for the next generation of patients. As millennials will soon make up the majority of practices’ clientele, it is crucial to listen to their preferences, so practices must offer a hybrid model in order to retain patients. Even if you think that your patients are happy at your practice, many are willing to leave for a practice that offers telehealth services.

This means that if your practice doesn’t offer telehealth services, your patients will find a provider who does. And, as patients will no longer be limited to their geographic region for care, the options for new providers are endless. But, not to worry. Most patients want to stick with their current provider - as long as they offer a hybrid model. 

 

Flexibility 

 

Hybrid healthcare provides physicians the flexibility to alternate between methods of care depending on what is needed. For routine consultations, providers can meet with their patients virtually. In contrast, meetings requiring a face-to-face interaction can be done just as easily. 

With greater flexibility comes greater patient satisfaction. When patients have the flexibility to make decisions in their care - even as simple as where and how they meet with their physician - they are significantly more satisfied with their care. 

 

Save Time

 

The hybrid healthcare model serves as an incredible time saver for patients and providers. When using telehealth services, patients can eliminate commute and wait times, allowing them to get the care they need faster. For providers, telehealth gives them more time to meet with patients, without compromising quality of care. 

Telehealth services even save time during in-person consultations. Within a telehealth platform, providers have all patient records and data in one consolidated location. Records can be accessed and reviewed quickly, ensuring a seamless meeting. 

 

Address Physician Shortages

 

Hybrid healthcare is instrumental in supporting practices with a limited workforce. As providers can meet with patients more efficiently and alternate between care models, they can sustain their patient load even with the current physician shortage. 

Telehealth also enables collaboration and connection between colleagues. If your practice lacks talent in a specific specialty, telehealth can help connect you to a physician of that expertise who is willing to collaborate. If you have the knowledgeable physicians that patients need, they will be even more inclined to go to your practice for care. In the face of a physician shortage, this is essential. 

 

Extend Healthcare Access

 

In-person healthcare limits patients to physicians only in their geographic region. With the telehealth aspect of hybrid healthcare, providers can cater to from anywhere in the world. Local patients can come in for in-person appointments should they choose to, while those in geographically isolated areas can meet remotely. 

Healthcare practices using telehealth will have access to a global pool of patients. Consequently, patients from around the world can receive care from your practice, drastically increasing your client load. And with more time and resources on your hands, you can offer even better, specialized care to your patients. With a hybrid healthcare strategy, practices can cater to both local and distant patients, significantly broadening the pool of patients to care for. 

Without geographic limitations, providers can significantly extend their care and grow their practice, and patients can benefit from improved access to healthcare. Plus, as providers can care for patients at any time, from any location, they can also extend their available hours. 

 

Improve Outcomes

 

Many patients fail to attend annual physicians or routine follow-up appointments simply because they’re inconvenient. Even for patients who would be willing to attend regular follow-up appointments, they may not have the means to. 

Each appointment could require transportation arrangements, time off of work, and childcare. Consequently, regular doctor’s appointments may not be a feasible expectation for patients. If either of these scenarios are the case, it could negatively impact that patient’s outcome. 

These reasons significantly contribute to patients’ growing preference for remote care. As remote care is more convenient, it makes patients more likely to meet with their provider on a regular basis. 

With the convenience offered by the hybrid model, patients will be more likely to stick to prescriptions, attend check-ups and follow-up appointments, and come to their provider with a concern. Consequently, patients receive more reliable and consistent care, drastically improving patient outcomes as a result. 

 

Cost-Effective Healthcare

 

Hybrid healthcare optimizes the delivery of care, allowing providers to cut-costs. With all services in one centralized location, telehealth is a highly cost-effective solution for healthcare practices. Telehealth enables the delivery of more efficient care, while providing physicians the means to extend their patient pool and cut back on unnecessary resources. 

Money saved can also translate into money earned, resulting in better financial stability for healthcare practices. With all of the benefits of the hybrid model, your practice will be more successful than ever. 

Given the stress that healthcare practices are under today - both financially and emotionally, support from a telehealth platform can go a long way. With the hybrid strategy, practices can drastically improve how they operate, leading to better and more efficient care, which can then help improve their financial status and the longevity of their practice. 

Adopting the Hybrid Model

 

Most practices have the in-person care method established, but for those looking to adopt the hybrid healthcare model, adopting telehealth is the first step. 

Medicai is a telehealth platform that caters to clinics, hospitals, doctors, and patients. Within our platform, users can make an account and easily manage all consultations in one location. Once a doctor account has been created, users can begin to manage patients, review case files, collaborate with colleagues and other clinics, and more. 

With Medicai, embracing the hybrid healthcare model is effortless. Doctors can seamlessly integrate the platform within their practice and invite patients to join. Once connected, providers can begin delivering care - whether remotely, in-person, or through a combination of the two. 

 

Balancing Models

 

However, the hybrid healthcare model requires a balance of digital and in-person care, hence the hybrid aspect of the approach. If patients only choose one care method, it can overwhelm some resources while others go underutilized. Another challenge is that patients may choose the care method that they prefer, even though it may not be the most optimal for their care needs. 

While many patients have a preference in how they receive their care, providers must develop a system to determine when telehealth services will be used over traditional, in-person care, and vice versa. 

Developing a hybrid strategy will help physicians efficiently allocate resources between traditional and telehealth services, ensuring that they maximize the value of the hybrid healthcare model. Plus, dividing certain services between care methods will help save time and energy for both patients and providers. 

 

Helping Patients Adapt to Hybrid Healthcare

 

While many patients were quick to adopt telehealth, millions of others still struggle with the technology and are hesitant to jump on board. As healthcare practices too have seen the benefits of telehealth services in hybrid healthcare, it’s important to get these patients on board. 

As mentioned, all providers and patients are comfortable with traditional approaches to healthcare. Where the hesitancy lies with the hybrid model is telehealth. Consequently, introducing patients to telehealth is the first step in aborting the hybrid model. 

Introducing patients to telehealth is simple, all it takes is:

  • Making patients aware of its offering
  • Explain what telehealth is
  • Demonstrate how to use the platform
  • Provide resources and instruction for account creation

Opening the conversation about telehealth and hybrid healthcare is the first step in getting patients to embrace it. Once they are aware that telehealth is an option, it can be helpful to guide patients through the platform. 

For less tech-savvy patients, even the most user-friendly platform can be overwhelming. For this reason, it is helpful to guide patients through the platform as they discover its services. A great way to do this is by sending a test URL a few days in advance of their first virtual appointment. This test-run allows the patient to access the portal and get comfortable with the process. During this time, patients can sort through any technical issues in advance. 

When patients know what to expect from telehealth, it becomes considerably less daunting. By guiding your patients through hybrid healthcare, and particularly telehealth, you’ll soon find that they are eager to embrace the model and reap its benefits

 


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Hybrid Healthcare Through Medicai

 

Medicai is a telehealth platform that bridges the gap between patients and doctors. Patients and providers can collaborate in real-time using our platform, whether through video conferencing, sharing files, or countless other services. 

Healthcare practices can easily integrate Medicai into their preexisting services, offering patients the best of remote and in-person care. With Medicai, practices can open themselves to a brand new pool of patients and drastically improve care, helping them thrive during trying times and beyond. 

By making an account with Medicai, your practice can take the first step to implement a hybrid healthcare strategy and begin reaping the benefits.

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