Urgent care and telemedicine for better healthcare
The modern healthcare industry is at a tipping point. The public’s demand for affordable, accessible and equitable care has fueled the emergence of urgent care centers. More and more primary care-focused healthcare practices employ telemedicine for remote patient monitoring.
Both healthcare trends will continue evolving to enhance patient health outcomes. Let’s see what kind of tech solutions may help urgent care providers streamline their daily operations, and whether telemedicine is worth a try for high-quality healthcare delivery.
Urgent care is prevailing over primary care
So, what is so special about urgent care that it caused a striking boom over the last few years? As the name suggests, urgent care provides prompt outpatient care to patients with chronic and non-life-threatening conditions.
If the waiting time to get into a primary care physician ranges from 20 to 40 days just to get a regular checkup and at a high cost, the case is quite different with urgent care. The patient can receive necessary medical assistance at a lower price in the nearest urgent care clinic either on the same day or the day after.
As for emergent cases, the situation is not encouraging either. It is hard for elderly and disabled people or families with kids to get immediate medical help because of distance, mobility, time and transportation problems. Overcrowded emergency rooms are dismaying.
Urgent care rise and challenges along the way
So, the much-appreciated convenience of walk-in urgent care clinics over tough wait times will accelerate the expansion of the urgent care industry in the coming years. The competition between urgent care centers will increase.
This requires sound approaches from urgent care operators to optimize the efficiency of their services in order to create a lasting patient relationship. How digitally well is it possible to address the emerging challenge?
Tech enablers for urgent care
The technology options are diverse, and their application varies from center to center depending on the scope of services that urgent care provides. Today, the market offers many out-of-the-box solutions for medical practices. However, not all systems are created equal. If in one system you may never use every bell and whistle, the other system may lack necessary features to satisfy specific needs.
Conducting a diligent review of a few of the most in-use system types will help to decide which functionality you may need for the urgent care clinic.
Practice Management System (PM) is designed to manage the day-to-day activities of the entire medical practice, physicians and nurses.
- Registration, appointment scheduling and check-in
- Administrative tasks tracking
- Communication and collaboration
- Clinical statements, claims and coding system
- Insurance reimbursement and billing
- Statistics and financial reporting
- Inventory management
Electronic Health Records System (EHR) is centered around patients, medication history, prescriptions, and other additional information the urgent care operators may need for effective management of the patient records.
- Patients and medical history management
- Orders and templates
- Healthcare knowledge base
Patient Portal is a web patient-oriented platform. It provides around-the-clock access to personal health information and connects to a healthcare specialist for any question.
- Patient health data and medical history
- Communication and collaboration
- Appointment requests, schedules and reminders
- Prescription refills
- Insurance, bills and payments
- Health education material
Each of the systems is helpful on its own to streamline clinic operational efficiency, patient engagement and health outcome. Still, it may eventually turn out that a custom unified application is the best solution to cover the urgent care life cycle completely, especially if you decide on telemedicine to expand the service provision. Why telemedicine?