The pandemic took a significant toll on physicians worldwide, causing thousands of healthcare professionals to burn out and leave their position. Consequently, the world is now facing a physician shortage - the impact of which will continue for years to come.
But, as the world cannot go on without physicians, healthcare practices need to find creative solutions for addressing the physician shortage. Fortunately, another thing that the pandemic brought on was the growth of telehealth, which could very well be the solution to the talent shortage it exacerbated.
While telehealth may have been introduced as a temporary solution during the pandemic, its vast benefits have caused it to stick around. Today, patients and providers alike welcome the advantages that telehealth has to offer.
In terms of addressing the physician shortage, in particular, telehealth serves as a tool that supports physicians, making it easier for them to care for patients with a limited workforce. Many even find that telehealth helps them provide a higher level of care, more efficiently than ever before.
Increased Access to Physicians
One of the most instrumental ways telehealth addresses the physician shortage is by connecting healthcare practices to a greater pool of physicians. As telehealth operates remotely, physicians do not need to be set in a particular location in order to work with a clinic or hospital.
Instead, physicians can access a telehealth portal from anywhere in the world, helping clinics rebuild their workforce. Our telehealth platform uses a physician portal to connect physicians around the world. Healthcare practices seeking a specific specialist or more general physicians can use this network to acquire the talent they need.
This is also largely beneficial for patients, as it connects them with physicians worldwide. If a patient is seeking a specific specialist or simply doesn't have the time or resources to commute to their nearest provider, they can find a provider to meet remotely. Consequently, both patients and physicians can connect from any location, vastly expanding a practice's workforce and reach.
Collaboration Among Physicians
A shortage of physicians means that our remaining physicians need to work together to meet patient needs. The same physician portal mentioned above can also be used for collaborative purposes. Using the telehealth portal, physicians can share patient files to acquire a second opinion.
Doing so is beneficial for several reasons. The most prominent reason being that second opinions dramatically improve patient outcomes, ensuring that they receive an accurate diagnosis or treatment.
In terms of physician workloads, collaboration helps physicians get the support they need from knowledgeable colleagues. This is especially instrumental during a physician shortage as every clinic may not have all of the specialists that they need.
But, because physicians can work together from anywhere in the world, clinics can have a complete portfolio of specialists without them needing to be in the physical office. Consequently, healthcare practices can significantly increase their workforce without necessarily onboarding a new set of physicians.
Flexibility for Physicians
Telehealth platforms are also instrumental in providing physicians with a more flexible work life. With a physician shortage, many physicians work longer hours than normal, adding to the burnout caused by a limited workforce - and perpetuating the shortage.
Plus, many physicians work out of several facilities within their networks, often requiring them to travel between patients. This can further add to physician burnout, taking more time away from their personal lives.
Fortunately, telehealth can help physicians avoid burnout by providing flexibility in their schedules and locations, ensuring that they can meet patients' needs at no detriment to themselves.
With telehealth, physicians can serve more patients from one location, reducing the strain of commuting and thus the likelihood of burnout. Additionally, as remote care goes both ways, both patients and providers will benefit from the time and money saved by flexible healthcare.
Maximized Time Utilization of Physicians
With a physician shortage, physicians' time is very valuable - and limited. As such, it is crucial that they use their resources, and specifically their time, efficiently. That being said, physicians cannot sacrifice the quality of their care in order to serve patients faster, so how can they manage this balance?
Telehealth services are instrumental in helping physicians to maximize their time without compromising patient care. With telehealth, physicians can utilize their time and resources more effectively. One of the most significant ways that telehealth does this is by offering remote visits, that of which are typically faster than in-person visits.
Nevertheless, some patients will still need to meet with their physicians in person, but physicians can use telehealth to fill the gaps between patients and fit in remote visits between in-person ones. This is referred to as hybrid healthcare, providing patients and providers with the best of both in-person and remote care. Consequently, physicians can see more patients in less time, allowing them to broaden the reach of their care.
Even beyond accelerating care itself, telehealth serves as an excellent tool for other administrative purposes in healthcare. Storing and accessing patient records is faster and more organized, as well as scheduling appointments and communicating with patients.
While these tasks may seem minor, they are all crucial and can be time-consuming. But, by optimizing these tasks through telehealth, physicians can work more efficiently, giving them back the time needed to care for patients - and themselves.
Combat the Shortage with Medicai
Healthcare practices worldwide are struggling to stay on their feet in the face of the physician shortage. Practices not only need to acquire new talent but also retain their current workforce and help them to provide care more efficiently. Luckily, telehealth can help practices achieve all of these things.
Medicai offers practices the tools and support they need to not only keep up with their patients during the physician shortage but improve patient care altogether. With greater access to physicians, better collaboration, maximized resource utilization, and flexibility, physicians can work more effectively than ever before.
Leveraging these tools and embracing telehealth is the key to addressing the physician shortage without sacrificing patient care. If you're interested in learning more about Medicai and how it can help your practice, contact us.