Summer is slowly ending here in the Northern hemisphere, meaning short, crisp days, bright foliage and bonfires. These signs of the season also presage something less pleasant: cold and flu season.
There’s good news though – launching virtual care now can help you more effectively manage increased volume, curtail waiting room infection, and maximize the opportunity to create patients for life.
Virtual Care and Cold & Flu Volume
Brick and mortar locations, including primary care practices, retail clinics, and urgent cares, bear the brunt of increased volume that comes with cold and flu season. Virtual care can help alleviate that burden by routing patients to a convenient online access point, taking the strain off clinicians and support staff and freeing up appointment slots for higher value, more complex conditions.
Minimize Waiting Room Infection
Health systems go to great lengths to prevent waiting room infection. Nonetheless, when cold and flu season strikes, all bets are off. Offering a virtual care solution where patients can receive diagnosis and treatment recommendations for highly infectious diseases like cold and flu helps keep patients out of the waiting room and reduces the likelihood of waiting room infection.
In an article on Health IT Outcomes last fall, Zipnosis’ Chief Clinical officer Kevin Smith noted, “one of the best ways to be a good healthcare citizen and avoid spreading germs to others in overcrowded waiting rooms at clinics, urgent care centers, and emergency rooms is to take advantage of online virtual visits.”
Create Patients for Life
Cold and flu season is more than a challenge for health systems – it’s an opportunity. With the uptick in volume that comes along with cold and flu season comes the potential of adding patients to your health system. With more and more patients seeking convenient options and looking for care online, a virtual care service is a fantastic way to attract those patients to your health system. What’s more, a recent white paper from Carrot Health found that approximately 25% of virtual care users converted to health system patients within one year of their virtual visit.
Imagine the impact if even a fraction of your cold and flu visits could be addressed through a virtual care solution. Your clinicians and support staff would be freed up to better serve patients, the decrease in infectious patients in your clinic would lower the likelihood of your staff and patients becoming sick, and you have the opportunity to create lasting relationships with new patients. Win-win-win.