If pharmacists and doctors had reservations about telehealth, it melted away during the COVID-19 pandemic. Video conferencing calls proved to be an effective way to talk with patients while keeping sick and vulnerable patients away from others. Once telehealth solutions were made available many patients who had previously opted to come into the pharmacy chose to have remote consultations, either because they wanted to protect themselves from the virus or because of its convenience. Almost everybody is now comfortable with video conferencing, having experienced it through work, friends, and family. The increasing prevalence of telehealth is expected to continue even once things return to “normal” due to how easy it is for many patients.
When done correctly, telehealth and video consulting options are also easier on pharmacists and clinicians. The Telehealth Impact Study from the COVID-19 Healthcare Coalition showcased the positive impact of the expansion of telehealth services, with notable findings such as:
75% of Clinicians reporting that telehealth enabled them to provide quality care in areas such as chronic disease management, care coordination, and preventative care.
60% of Participants reporting that telehealth improved the health of their patients.
80% of Responses indicated that telehealth improved the timeliness of patient care
68% of Respondents said that they were motivated to increase telehealth use in their practices.
Despite the positive experiences that clinicians and patients are reporting, any change to new technology is bound to include some drawbacks. Many pharmacists had to quickly adapt to this remote means of consulting as a reactionary response to the pandemic, rushing processes along the way. For telehealth to be a good long-term option for pharmacies, it requires the proper technology and infrastructure. This requires an investment to cover the costs of online tools and training, which will negatively impact a pharmacy’s cash flow until you can recoup that investment.
Download our handbook, “COVID and Cash Flow: How to Protect Your Pharmacy from Financial Fallout,” to learn how to best address these challenges and opportunities in order to maximize your cash flow and secure the long-term success of your pharmacy business.