Telehealth cited as top initiative for helping medical practices through COVID-19

The Medical Group Management Association’s most recent MGMA Stat poll asked healthcare leaders: “What practice initiative has helped your organization the most amid COVID-19?”

Not surprisingly, a majority (60%) of respondents cited the addition and expansion of telehealth services as a major initiative that helped throughout months of stay-at-home orders that saw a significant decline in patient volumes and revenue.

Other major initiatives cited by respondents during the early months of COVID-19 include:

  • Changes to patient flow and screening protocols (10%)
  • Applying for government programs and grants (9%).

Other responses included leadership, staff communication and training, improvements in patient communication, and changes in pay, staffing and hours of operation.

A follow-up question asked respondents, “What additional resource(s) does your practice need to help with recovery?” The top three responses were:

  • Personal protective equipment (PPE) — 24%
  • Extended telehealth — 17%
  • Government/financial assistance — 17%.

The poll was conducted June 16, 2020, and had 308 applicable responses.

Adapting to the “new normal” of care delivery during the COVID-19 pandemic has meant the need to merge old and new workflows in an attempt to get back to normal levels of productivity despite a slow, gradual increase in patient volumes.

In many cases, practices supplemented or replaced in-person care with telehealth while also adopting new safety and cleaning protocols, all of which throw a major wrench in previous workflows.

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